Written by Jennifer Amato
The Secret Life of Pets Plot Summary:
A terrier named Max’s (voice of Louis C.K.) quiet life is upended when his owner takes in Duke (voice of Eric Stonestreet), a stray whom Max instantly dislikes.
It’s very rare that I go to the movies in the first place. It’s even more rare that I go on opening night. And the rarest occurrence is that I buy my tickets in advance – and online.
Needless to say, my expectations for The Secret Life of Pets were very high.
The commercials gave the impression that this movie would follow what goes on when owners leave their homes and pets are left to their own devices. To some extent, that was true. However, the storyline followed an unexpected plot which I liked at times, and which I was disappointed in at times. Max gets a new “brother” Duke, and the two wind up getting into a lot of trouble, especially when meeting a group of abandoned and disgruntled pets on the wrong side of the sewer. Forced to join forces with animals of all kinds who are out to take revenge on their owners, the two embark on adventures around New York City.
Right off the bat the movie is aesthetically pleasing, as the animated scenes of the streets of Manhattan come across beautifully on the big screen. The dogs, cats, birds, fish, turtles, snakes, bunnies, etc. are all very cute and resemble what actual animals would look like; sometimes the animation can be distorting. The voices, I must say, did not really match the cast of characters, but they were cute nonetheless.
There were lessons to be learned throughout the movie, such as determination, perseverance, the importance of friendship and the need to follow your heart. Although, these lessons came across in a somewhat violent manner, so I don’t think this movie is great for young children, despite the appeal of puppies and kitties to almost everyone. At one point, the gangster anti-pets talk about killing their owners in somewhat graphic detail – perhaps a child wouldn’t understand, perhaps they would have questions after. The theme of death is discussed a few times as well. At certain points the movie also reminded me of the CBS TV show Zoo, where animals try to overtake the planet.
Overall, I think anyone who sees The Secret Life of Pets will be wagging his or her tail by the end of the movie. There are definitely memorable scenes, such as the poodle who rocks out to angry heavy metal music and the party in the sausage factory. Having just come back from a trip to Disneyland, I am not ashamed to say that I tap into my childlike side quite often, and I went to see the movie with five other adults.Though we all had mixed reviews, I am pleased with the heartwarming conclusion. If nothing else, the movie made me want to go out and rescue a puppy to shower with love and affection.