Should you care about the secret life of pets?

Should you care about the secret life of pets?

REVIEW: The Secret Life of Pets

(G) Voices of Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart

Max (Louis C.K.) is a Jack Russell terrier who loves his owner, Katie (Ellie Kemper). His life centres on the world that exists in their Manhattan apartment complex. All manner of species lives in the building. Each pet has become a reflection of their owner. As Max celebrates the life that he cherishes with his owner, it quickly goes from bliss to trepidation as he is introduced to his new canine roommate, Duke (Eric Stonestreet). The dogs quickly compete for the love and admiration of Katie, before they’re forced from their comfortable lifestyle. As this odd couple attempts to get back to their apartment, they must learn to trust one another and rely on the assistance of a cute and fluffy bunny named Snowball (Kevin Hart). Any pleasant feelings about bunnies are quickly changed for the dogs, as they are learn of the rabbit’s devious plans for the destruction of the humans who left behind him and many other pets. Max and Duke must escape this cottontail-controlled world to find their way back home, while a search party of furry and feathered friends attempt to find them.

It can be said that there are no original stories coming out of Hollywood, especially when it comes to animated family entertainment. Last year’s Inside Out and 2016’s Zootopia challenge this statement, but it is only upheld by the storyline in The Secret Life of Pets. If you combine a bit of Bolt, the sewer of Flushed Away, the core concepts of Toy Story, the villain from Hoodwinked, and mix them with a little bit of pet food, the result would be this latest production from Illuminations Entertainment (Despicable Me, Minions). 

Even though this animated out is so lacking in originality, director Chris Renaud (Despicable Me) manages to provide enough creative spins. Delving into the world of pets while their owners are out during the day, is a notion that is ripe with possibilities. The creatures at the centre of the story are endearing, but lack the magic of similar films that have proceeded them. Also, the storyline wears thin too quickly. What shows promise in the beginning only leads to a mad-capped bundle of confusion. Understandably, animated films are not known for their logic, but this outing stretches the limits of anyone’s imagination.

All that being said, the creators of the Despicable Me franchise provide a film that families can enjoy together. Parents will enjoy the nuances of the animal’s habits and young children will enjoy the Minion-like slapstick humour. This combination makes new animal adventure Secret Life of Pets the equivalent of a good scratch behind the ear, for families seeking a safe choice of entertainment for the weekend.


What are the bigger questions to consider from this film?

  1. Does God care about animals?(Genesis 1:26-28, Matthew 6:26, Luke 12:6)
  2. What is our responsibility with our pets? (2 Samuel 12:1-6, Proverbs 12:10)


Russell Matthews works for City Bible Forum Sydney and is a film blogger


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