Have you seen the teaser trailer for ‘Secret Life of Pets’? If you haven’t go ahead and click on the link.
This trailer is a small art-work in its own right. The film that follows it is less subtly quirky – but it is also thoroughly enjoyable.
Max is a small dog and a pampered pet. He loves his life with his owner and when she’s gone, his friends- a relaxed dachshund, a pug with a squirrel problem, a parrot, a guinea pig, an overweight cat and a charming fluffy lady dog from next door. Then one day, his owner brings along a huge fluffy dog named Duke from the pound… Max is devastated, and in an attempt to get rid of Duke gets both himself and the new dog lost in the city of New York.
The main danger for stray pets in the city of New York is an animal group called ‘The Revolution’ which is led by a psychotic white rabbit (surely borrowed from Monty Python’s Holy Grail) and is determined to get rid of the owners. Max and Duke unite their forces against the evil bunny, while Max’s friends go out to search for him- they are determined to bring him home.
‘Secret Life of Pets’ is at its best when it focuses on a realistic portrayal of animal qualities. Dogs’ love of chasing, sausages and balls, and cats’ love of laser points and their tendency to get their claws stuck in their favourite toys. Despite the antropomorphisation the dogs remain doggy and the cats remain catty.
The one exception I’d make to my preference for realism is for the film’s portrayal of a handicapped basset in his wheelchair. He is a cheeky elderly dog who shamelessly hits on the ladies of all species. When one of them defends herself saying ‘but I’m a cat’, his reply is a nod to ‘Some like it hot’ : ‘nobody is perfect’.
Overrall, ‘The Secret Life of Pets’ is good quality family entertainment. I’m sure the kids will love it. Though unlike ‘Zootopia’ or ‘Inside Out’, ‘Secret Life of Pets’ doesn’t explore the darker sides of humanity- the depths of animals mistreatment, for example – but it is funny and entertaining all the same. ‘The Secret Life of Pets’ makes humans seem more loving and worthy of love than we are. But then I suppose this is why humans get pets.