Review: The Secret Life of Pets


Title: The Secret Life of Pets
Production: Illumination
Distribution: Universal Pictures
Release Date: July 2016
Length: 90 minutes
Format: Standard
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Set in a Manhattan apartment building, pets gather to start their day as the two-legged residents head for work and school. The head hound is a quick-witted terrier rescue, whose position at the epicenter of his master’s universe is suddenly threatened when she comes home with Duke, a sloppy mongrel with no polish. The two soon find themselves on the mean streets of New York, where they meet the adorable white bunny Snowball. It turns out that Snowball is the leader of an army of pets that were abandoned and are determined to get back at humanity and every owner-loving pet. The dogs must thwart this plot and make it back in time for dinner.

The Review

I cannot remember where my five year old saw a preview for this movie – somewhere along the lines something for Minions, or in a YouTube video. He’s been slightly obsessed with seeing this movie since seeing the preview, so when TV started advertising the release date . . . I made a little calendar for him and picked a date that we would go see it (I never go on opening weekend).

When the day came, even I was a little excited over the movie. When we got to the theater, I was surprised at how packed it was. We ended up having to sit in the very front row because we couldn’t find two seats together anywhere else. And let me just tell you – that was one hell of a neck sore! Not only the first row, but not even the middle. The movie itself completely made up for it, though.

I’ll never understand the skinny legs on an otherwise proportioned person, but that’s neither here nor there. The animation for The Secret Life of Pets was superb. The storyline was very easy to follow, even from a child’s standpoint. There were some moments throughout the movie where it was kind of inappropriate but I think those types of things really go over a child’s head. Once my son got over the “pets don’t talk!” aspect, he was glued to it . . . which hasn’t happened since the Despicable Me movies and Minions.

The main reason that I loved this movie boils down to determination and love. Duke came into Max’s life and due to them not getting along, Max’s perfect life gets disturbed. It’s Duke’s fault, and they’re both determined to stick it out together. I don’t like the idea of bullying – Duke bullied Max at first, and then the “sewer gang” were a little crude and bullying – but in the end, there was love to be had for everyone.

The ultimate main reason that I love The Secret Life of Pets? Gidget. Her character is an epitome of love. I don’t really buy into those “romantic moments” or “true love” stuff, but Gidget is in love with Max and Max obviously doesn’t know that Gidget exists (or at least acts like she doesn’t, 😉). When Duke and Max go missing, Gidget makes it her personal goal to rescue Max.

It’s Gidget who saves the day. It’s Gidget who, when they’re all on the bridge, manages to fight off everyone that has circled around Max. To me this is a form of female empowerment. I’m so tired of these movies that make it so the male(s) are always the hero – rescuing other male(s) or coming to the need of a damsel in distress. Why can’t a female save the day? We’re just as strong, independent, and capable! We can save our own days (and the day of those we love)!

Have you seen The Secret Life of Pets? Do you plan on seeing it? If you’ve seen it, what are your opinions? Let me know what you think in the comments! 🙂


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