Pets. We all have them, we all love them, they are the warm little hearts in our cold depressing worlds. Sorry was that too strong to start for a children’s animated movie about animals that like to explore? I’ll try again. Pets. What’s not to love? They are warm and fuzzy and filled to the brim with love. We love our pets and we all have them, so of course a film was going to exploit that eventually. The only thing that really matters is, is it any good?
The longer “The Secret Life Of Pets” goes on, the more it becomes apparent that the entire movie is just a vehicle for all of Dreamworks other projects. It doesn’t feel cute enough to be Minions or determined enough to be Sing, however both are plugged heavily during the films short duration, to find the space and time to crowbar in other franchises (some of which aren’t even out yet), but not allow for your main characters to develop properly is the problem of “The Secret Life Of Pets” in a nutshell.
That’s the real tragedy of the movie is that much like Despicable Me before it, The Secret Life Of Pets throws a little bit of everything at us to see what will work best, as if the makers didn’t want to out rule any one avenue of income so they try to accommodate everyone. This would never have happened in a film like Shrek. In Shrek you were given your characters and you could like it or leave. Somehow we respected that decision more. We respect a film that is bold and daring, The Secret Life Of Pets is a far flung film from the days of Shark Tale.
It’s probably my own fault. I was the one that watched the trailer for “The Secret Life Of Pets” and thought it was pure gold. That someone had finally tapped into all those pet videos on YouTube with the right idea. Where I was hoping for a preview of things to come from the trailer, what I actually got was the highlight reel from the film. There is nothing funnier in the 90 minuets run time than watching a sausage dog massage itself with an electric whisk.
I do respect the film for dealing with a real life problems, those being loss, loneliness and death. However, it can only ever scratch at the high water mark of even Pixar’s worst outings. It seems The Secret Life Of Pets is trying to recreate the magic of Toy Story, but just as the film begins to get a heart, the next set piece crashes and burns like Kevin Hart’s acting skills. If you are always moving forward you’ll never learn to hold back and wait.
That’s my big problem with Dreamworks currently, it’s that they have such potential in their settings, but instead of making moving and thought provoking cinema they would rather pump out cash drawer machines, which all started with Minions. They are to blame for this.
The Secret Life Of Pets is a vibrant, upbeat animated children’s film, for that it’s a success. But with such strong potential for more, I can only feel disappointment.