I can’t say I was looking forward to this Film. Plain and meh marketing campaign with a trailer that I liked less with each re-watch. I’m not even really a fan of the studios previous output, the Despicable Me series which after many, many viewings with a small child, I found that I couldn’t bare another second.
Yet along came Pets, got good reviews and I went into it with renewed interest.
It’s great. Darn great. It’s not Pixar or modern Disney but it’s great in its own right. It has more charm in its little paw than any of the Despicable Me/Minion movie and I frankly had a blast watching it.
To be negative for a second, it has pretty much the same story as Toy Story and a few scenes that bare a strong resemblance to its sequels but outside of this, it’s engaging and warm-hearted.
The characters are rich and interesting, an excellent voice cast suiting their personalities and there’s not an unmemorable animal amongst them.
The idea, despite bearing a resemblance to Toy Story, is done with accuracy and humour. Anyone who’s ever owned a pet will recognise the things they do and the Film provides neat and funny explanations as to why they do them. Yet the antics of the animals is bolstered by a layer of pathos, giving emotion to the bonds between the humans and their pets.
A scene at the end when all the people come home to their smiling pets is actually quite moving and it’s a gesture that lovingly puts the Film above some of its weaker competition.
Apart from being quite sweet, The Secret Life of Pets is funny, pretty much a lot of the time. There’s a steady stream of jokes, mostly about being a pet, which keep the Film ticking and as usual with all good comedies, the jokes come from the characters rather than set up and punch line.
I also want to point out the soundtrack from Alexandra Desplat, which I’m listening to whilst I write this review, that I found to have invention and style, giving the city of New York a jazzy vibe.
Overall, I liked it a lot. It was charming, funny, sweet and endearing. The characters were the big stars and made you forget about the overfamiliar story. There was plenty for adults and kids alike, some scary scenes (A giant, dangerous looking snake) and an emotional resolution that will make you want to hug your pets.
Go see it.