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Green Light in the City

Film Review: The Secret Life of Pets

9 July 16 words: Hannah Parker

We review the new animation from the makers of Despicable Me

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These days, the majority of households have at least one animal addition to their family. Whether you’re a dog-lover, a cat person or your best friend is Bubbles, your goldfish, there’s something for every pet owner to relate to in The Secret life of Pets. The many trailers show that the movie isn’t just about the interaction they have with their humans, but also the friendships between the animals.

Generally animation films are dubbed as “kids films”, but there are some exceptions such as the Toy Story franchise or the Madagascar films. However, it seems that Illumination Entertainment have missed a trick with this one, by actually creating a film only for children. Although there is a relatable aspect that would attract adults – especially with them generally being the ones taking care of the pets – the humorous side of the film is only fully apparent at the beginning and the end. The storyline that runs through the middle of the film is targeted so intently to children that unfortunately most adults will zone out half an hour in. Therefore if you are taking your kids to see this, it would be advisable to expect to be a little bored at times.

However, it’s not all bad. Once you realise it’s a kids film, you can look at the film in a different light, and from a kids’ perspective, it must be said that they’ve got it spot on. Each character not only holds the characteristics you’d attribute with that animal, but they all have their own personalities which are so full and individual, you could easily close your eyes and assume you’re listening to humans. There’s even a little love story that runs throughout the film which just adds to the infectious and very cute relationships between the animals.

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It seems that animation films are becoming bigger by the year, and we’re starting to see more famous names being added to voice casts, but this is certainly one of the more impressive. With the likes of Louis C.K., Steve Coogan, Kevin Hart, Lake Bell and many more great actors, it’s easy to see how each character worked so well on their own and together.

The humour in the film is sometimes brilliant, however it did seem to be the case that the funniest parts were in the trailer. The funnier scenes seemed to be when the animals interacted with the humans, however the majority of the film was the pets adventure by themselves. It would have been nice to see more of the human/pet relationships as these were not only more laugh out loud, but you also found yourself saying “my cat does that!” or “my dog loves a belly rub too”.

The look of the film was so fun and colourful that it brought New York City to life in a way no film has ever done before. They’ve managed to make the buildings look exciting rather than intimidating and scary, and the cute animals have been made to look adorable, and the scary animals have been made to look terrifying.

The film is certainly worth watching if you have kids, and definitely if you have pets, but you may be disappointed if you walk in expecting it to have you enthralled all the way through. If they decide to create a second film, which is fairly likely, it would be nice if the humans were brought into the storyline a little more, as it may help keep adults interested as well as kids.

The Secret Life of Pets is on general release now.

The Secret Life of Pets

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