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article imageReview: ‘The Secret Life of Pets’ is the realization of our pet dreams Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Jul 8, 2016 in Entertainment
‘The Secret Life of Pets’ is an amusing tale that brings to life the most outrageous guesses about what animals do while their owners are away.
As much as animal lovers like to imagine what the inarticulate creatures are thinking, owners enjoy imagining what their pets do in their absence. Even though most know the truth is as exciting as a really long nap, it’s more fun to envision them living a clandestine second life that will forever remain a secret from the human race. In this latest animated feature, creators take these ideas even further by fashioning a world in which animals communicate between species and have regular gatherings to pass the time. The Secret Life of Pets is a glimpse into this surreptitious realm.
Max (Louis C.K.) is an only dog who believes meeting Katie (Ellie Kemper) in the pet shop was fate. He’s got great friends in the cynical cat Chloe (Lake Bell), the cute and fluffy Gidget (Jenny Slate) and some other neighbourhood pets with which he shares walks and stories. However when Katie brings home Duke (Eric Stonestreet), a burly new brother for Max, he makes it his mission to ensure Duke’s stay isn’t permanent. The two immediately butt heads and when Katie goes to work, their sibling rivalry goes into overdrive. But when the pair become lost in the city, it’s up to their friends and neighbours to rescue them from dog catchers and street savvy former pets.
This is a movie in which everyone will walk away with a favourite (or two, or three), which is a marketing team’s dream. Thus merchandise related to the film has been on shelves for weeks and more than a few people were witnessed purchasing plush versions of their preferred character immediately after the screening. That said, the only reason this correlation occurs is the picture is wholly enjoyable. Illumination isn’t necessarily producing Oscar contenders, but audiences can generally rely on their movies to be entertaining.
The plot is one seen frequently involving kids in their early teens and below as they thwart a babysitter and try to make everything right before their parents return home. The jealousy created by the arrival of a new “child” is especially similar to these human features. However, substituting them with adorable pets provides more possibilities for inventive adventures and cuter subjects with unique traits to go on the journey. The literal alley cats are an amusing group, while the gang of underground “flushed” pets are all about the PG bloodlust. Led by the sweet-on-the-outside-vicious-on-the-inside white bunny, Snowball (Kevin Hart), the collection of reptiles, mammals and fish get along better than most, bonded by their abandonment and desire to be part of a family. Their stories are also a subtle reminder to be a responsible pet owner.
A scene from animated short   Mower Minions
A scene from animated short, 'Mower Minions'
Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures
Before all the animal hijinks begin, the feature is preceded by a short starring everyone’s favourite yellow, pill-shaped gofers. Mower Minions begins with an infomercial boasting how much easier it is to eat blended fruit. Tired of their laborious bananas, they determine to raise the funds required for a new blender the old-fashioned way: mowing lawns. Of course this can only lead to laugh-inducing disaster that reminds fans unimpressed with Minions why these characters are so great.
Unsurprisingly, there have also been a bunch of fun activities to take part in related to the movie.
Directors: Yarrow Cheney and Chris Renaud
Starring: Louis C.K., Jenny Slate and Kevin Hart
More about The Secret Life of Pets, Mower Minions, louis ck, Kevin Hart, Lake Bell
 
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