Hey, did you hear the news? It's 2017! Woop Woop! But in all seriousness, today we'll review a movie that is made by Illumination, the same folks behind the instant, over-night classic Despicable Me.
So what exactly is The Secret Life of Pets? It's exactly what the title tells you! The entire concept of the movie is what everyday housepets do when their owners aren't watching/home. And that concept is actually pretty funny to me because I myself am an animal lover (Cats are obviously the best pet in the universe, anyone who says otherwise has never owned a cat and therefore doesn't know the true power of living with a cat!).
But aside from that concept, what else is there to the story? Well the main lead is a Jack Russel dog named Max (funnily enough, my grandparents own a Jack Russel in real life!) whose owner adopts a new dog named Duke (absolutely no idea what breed of dog Duke is) and after getting lost thanks to some rivalry shenanigans between the two they must work together to find their way home, while a third dog (A Pomeranian named Gidget that has a very obvious crush on Max) goes on a mission to rescue them. Also, I just got to say, the events of 90% of the movie are Max's owner's fault. It's painfully obvious that she was underprepared for taking care of multiple dogs, since she only owns one dog bed, meaning one of the two has to sleep on the floor, and more importantly, Max is male. Duke is also male. If you know anything about animal behaviour, ESPECIALLY mammals, you know that animals of the same gender are prone to attacking each other unless the two animals in question have grown accustomed to the other animals presence. But how do you get them to get along? I don't know, I ain't a dog person! Long live the Cat Empire!
The villain of The Secret Life of Pets is a sociopathic bunny rabbit named Snowball (I actually owned a finch named Snowball, funnily enough. She died of hypothermia though... So sad.) leading a weird, rag-tag bunch of abandoned pets in a quest to take over the world. And I got to say, Snowball is flipping AMAZING. Seriously, he steals the show in just about every scene he's in. Being voiced by Kevin Hart probably helps give Snowball that extra push to being hilariously insane. He is tied with Gidget for my favorite character in this movie.
But what about Gidget? Well for starters she's impossibly cute. And two, some of the funniest moments of the movie are either her scenes or Snowball's. Also, mild spoilers here, but the scene where she utterly DESTROYS Snowball's gang single-handedly (single-pawedly?) was GLORIOUS. Also Gidget is obviously a big nerd. Her entire motivation to save Max? It took a SPANISH SOAP OPERA to motivate her enough to go out and save Max herself . That's right. A SOAP OPERA. It would take something similar to motivate me to save my one true love if I was a talking Pomeranian, just replace the soap opera with anime/Marvel movie/Star Wars movie and it's the exact same scenario lol.
As for Max and Duke, the two main characters, they were alright. Max had a fair share of funny moments. Speaking of funny moments, when I watched this movie for the first time, I actually thought that Max was voiced by Chris Pratt because of how eerily similar his voice is to Chris Pratt's, but then I learned that Max is voiced by another actor entirely and that Chris Pratt had nothing to do with this movie. So either the actual voice actor for Max (Louis C. K.) sounds a lot like Chris Pratt or I am insane. Probably the latter.
But Personally, Duke is my favorite out of the two. Why? Because Duke has some of the craziest lines ever, like "Oh, you better get ready because HERE THEY COME!!! The THUNDER!!!! And the LIGHTNING!!! Rainin' down ON YO FACE!!!".
As for the movie itself, it was really, genuinely funny, which is a good thing because there's no such thing as an Illumination movie that ISN'T funny. However, as funny as it was, the only real downside was it was very formulaic with it's story. But the thing about Illumination movies is they put comedy first, literally everything else second. So this film gets slightly predictable at times, but that's not a bad thing because Illumination stick to what they're good at. Now, if it was made by Telltale (a video game developer that's famous for it's episodic, cinematic video games like Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead video game series) then I wouldn't be as forgiving because that company specializes in storytelling, but I know from past experiences what Illumination's talent really is: Making really funny movies with simple stories but lots and lots of humor.
As for visuals and music, the visuals were good. A nice touch on the character design is how each animal has a different kind of fur texture on them. Max is short-haired and his fur looks a little bit like felt now that I'm looking at it, Duke is really shaggy, and Gidget- in the wise words of Agnes from Despicable Me- IS SO FLUFFY!!!! The locations are also really nice to look at since it looks just like real life New York. Which is good, because that's where this movie takes place. The music was average, really. Well except for the song they play at the beginning of the movie, that was some good music.
Overall, I give The Secret Life of Pets a 9/10. A good, fun, but slightly predictable comedy with talking animals. I highly recommend watching this movie to anyone that likes animals or are a fan of Illumination's previous works.