9 July 2016 | rgkarim
Pets on the Run, Make for Silly, Family Fun
Kids movies continue to swarm into the theaters, and Hollywood's trailer editors have been hard at work baiting us in. With Disney owning the box office this summer, Illumination Entertainment (the creators of Despicable Me) are taking a shot at the box office run. This weekend we got The Secret Life Of Pets, a movie that has been highly anticipated since it's trailer debut from so long ago. It was indeed a very entertaining trailer, but we all know how trailers can be deceptive now don't we? So I have headed into the trenches again to report on the latest film to hit the silver screen.
The GOOD Cute/Kid Friendly Funny Good animation
When you watch, or for many rewatch, the trailers you most likely saw the characters as cute, cuddly animals doing hilarious things. Good news! The trailer is accurate this time and provides the cute factor you expected (including the very scenes you saw in the trailer). All of the characters are adorable, the main ones being bouncy, fluffy, high-spirited animals that will make you want to say Awwwwww. Our design team found a way to maximize all the cute features of an animal and sell it to the families that will lead to merchandising. Even animals you wouldn't think cute (like snakes, gators, and lizards) get the cuddly personifications. Hopefully you have gathered from this, that the design is kid friendly and will have your little ones enamored.
But cute is only the hook, what keeps the interest going in this film? The answer is the comedy of course. The stunts the animals pull are entertaining and the dialogue itself had me chuckling at many of the media references. Voice acting only helps sell the comedy more, especially Kevin Hart and all his high pitched screaming. Your kids though will be the ones to enjoy the comedy the most though, as it is slapstick, simplistic antics with digital pets. Running into walls, making funny faces, or going to the bathroom on the floor are just some of the things you will see that had toddlers chuckling in their seats.
And a small bonus, that really shouldn't be a surprise, is that the animation is good. Illumination Entertainment certainly has their anatomy and physiology down being able to superimpose human qualities while still maintaining there animal qualities. Glad to know that our animation studios are still able to produce great works. If only they could have put that effort into the next few qualities.
THE BAD The Story Lack of Uniqueness Trailers showed you a lot of the movie
With the comedy and animation being the obvious focus, you have to wonder how the story fared in this movie. Unfortunately
it didn't fare that well. Oh it's not that bad at all, but the problem is that it lacks anything memorable or emotionally driving for me. The writers crammed a lot of plots into a short 90 minutes run time, and the resulting production was a very rushed, shallow tale with little development. A split focus resulted in little emotional build-up, and there was no intriguing qualities to keep my attention on any of the cast. And the goal they were trying to achieve was very limited and didn't really set any time limit or urgency to the tale.
To add more fuel to that fire, The Secret Life of Pets wasn't really that unique of a movie. We've had talking pet movies before, where anthropomorphic animals traverse a city or town that often involves a very extreme villain (think Oliver and Company or Homeward Bound). Those tales stick home because they had edge, depth, and moments that stick out in your mind. Not the case with this movie, as again there was no drive to make our pets grow, develop, or even go through much struggle at all. It doesn't have any twists to mix things up either, and therefore leaves little to spoilt. In addition, much of the movie, including a lot of the funny parts, is revealed in the three trailers out and therefore you can save yourself some major bucks by just rewatching all of the trailers. Yeah, I know that is definitely a disappointing factor.
The Secret Life Of Pets is exactly what the trailer promises, fun, entertaining, and wildly adorable. Younger audience members, as well as those very young at heart, are the target group for this movie hands down. It has the laugh factor certainly, and the cast of characters are a motley crew that I certainly enjoyed. However, the story is very simplistic, the lack of emotional suspense, and that much of the movie is told in the trailers make this movie not the most memorable of the summer. I can't say it is worth a trip to the theater in comparison to some of the other kid movies, but it makes for a good family outing.
My scores are:
Animation/Comedy/Family: 7.5-8.0 Movie Overall: 7.0