The Secret Life of Pets (2016): Ever Wonder…

Posted: July 9, 2016 in Animated, Comedy, Family
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Max and his owner have the best relationship. She fell in love with him from the moment she found him on the street. When she leaves the apartment, he waits all day for her to return. While they seem to be the perfect pair, she chooses one day to bring home another dog from the pound. Max and Duke have quite the rough start, as they both try to assert their dominance and fight for their master’s attention and love. While at the park, Duke sees a perfect opportunity to take out the competition, but his efforts leave them both lost in the big city and at the mercy of a gang go strays. Only Gidget and Max’s other friends can come to his rescue and return him home.

What Our Pets Really Do: The start of the film was more about the life of a pet when their owner is away. While Max was focused on his owner’s return, many of the pets indulged in human activities. Chloe preferred to skip her cat food for whatever she could find in the fridge. Leonard would immediately switch his classical music to heavy metal. Gidget remained focused on her unrequited love and would watch soap operas to feed her romantic nature. Buddy would give himself a massage using the mixer in the kitchen. All of these activities would go unnoticed by their owners, including the large gatherings in Leonard’s apartment.

The Underbelly and the Strays: Two significant groups of strays were highlighted in this film. The first were the alley cats living off of the scraps and trash of the humans. They lived above the surface, unlike their counterparts, but remained feral and hostile toward domestics. The strays of the sewers were a hodgepodge group of animals neglected by owners or saved from captivity. They had a grudge against the humans and were plotting to enact their revenge through the leadership of deranged bunny named Snowball.

Appreciation: One of the most significant themes of the story was the sense of appreciation. Max loved his relationship with Katie, but he never knew how good he had it until he met Duke. While the two continued to argue throughout much of the film, their conflict allowed Max to recognize that there was a greater world out there and other animals that deserved attention. Gidget was ready to give everything she had for Max, but he hardly ever even noticed her. As max goes on his adventure, he began to realize that there was much to appreciate about his life and the opportunity to share that happiness with others.

Final Verdict: This was one of Dreamwork’s better films. The pacing was a little off at times and much of the bookends of the movie were used as promotion material in the previews, but the comedy was definitely there and the characters were quite memorable. This was a great film and would be appropriate for kids of all ages.

Dan’s Rating: 3.5/5

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