The Secret Life of Pets showcases animal antics – Blu-ray review and giveaway

By Tribute on December 6, 2016 | 18 Comments

The Secret Life of Pets Blu-ray reviewThe affairs and activities of pets when their owners aren’t around is a query commonly contemplated. Do they entertain themselves with games they’ve devised on their own? Do they escape into the streets and embark on wild journeys?

To offer their take on the matter, directors Chris Renaud and Yarrow Cheney — both of Despicable Me fame — present The Secret Life of Pets. Written by Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio — also known for Despicable Me — as well as Brian Lynch (Minions), the animated film has garnered over $365 million at the box office and primarily unfolds over the course of a single day with coddled terrier Max (Louis C.K.) at the helm.

When we’re introduced to Max, we gain insight into his charmed New York lifestyle. His owner Kate (Ellie Kemper) pampers him and showers him with all the love she has nowhere else to direct. They’re inseparable, save for when Kate abandons Max to hold down her job. Rather than sulk and wallow in his own despair, though, Max and the other fuzzy friends in his building — including posh lap dog Gidget (Jenny Slate), sarcastic and food-focused cat Chloe (Lake Bell) and dopey pug Mel (Bobby Moynihan) — occupy their time in creative and satisfying ways. Despite their displeasure at being left behind by their respective owners, they bark out the window at squirrels, rummage through the fridge with reckless abandon, and even use a kitchen mixer for a back scratch (genius!).

However, Kate brings home a rescue dog one evening that she’s saved from the pound and the harmony established in her life with Max is interrupted. Their dynamic is altered by massive mutt Duke (Eric Stonestreet), and a fierce rivalry for Kate’s attention and affection ensues. Although there’s animosity in the air, the two dogs are forced to depend on one another when they find themselves in a precarious predicament that takes them to the underbelly of the pet world and into the city’s sewer system.

Below street level lurks a group of animals called the Flushed Pets. They’re an embittered bunch of misfits who’ve been permanently abandoned by their owners and are determined to exact revenge on humans and all domesticated pets in the city. The formidable leader of the revolution is the enigmatic rabbit Snowball (Kevin Hart), and the “liberated forever, domesticated never” crew apprehends Max and Duke.

To escape, they work together and rely on a little help from their furry friends, most notably Gidget, who orchestrates a plot to save them. It’s highly refreshing that a female character is the one who summons the courage to confront the dangers of New York and lead the rescueThe Secret Life of Pets Blu-ray review effort.

The Secret Life of Pets is a funny and charming adventure tale, even if the story falls on the lean side. For a 90 minute film, there’s not much meat on its bone. But the engaging and compelling characters, paired with the alluring aspects of New York, offer much-needed texture.

Thanks to the enthusiasm and incomprehensible energy of Kevin Hart, Snowball emerges as the most memorable animal. Sharp-witted, quick-tongued and vivacious, he leaps off the screen. He and his grudge-holding gang are the best in show.

On the side of “leash lovers,” it’s Lake Bell’s Chloe who meows to the top. She is endearingly crusty with a spiky demeanor. Her fine work warrants mention, too.

New York is animated to perfection in the film, replete with its streets, sewers, skyscrapers, parks, fire escapes and innumerable apartment complexes. For fans of the Big Apple, The Secret Life of Pets can be viewed as a sort of testament to the city that never sleeps.

Reminiscent of the relationship conveyed between toys and children in Toy Story, The Secret Life of Pets convincingly portrays the bond between animals and their owners. Children and adults are equally able to connect to the film, which was successful enough to warrant a sequel scheduled for release in 2018. The story could use higher stakes, more intense action sequences and a quicker pace, but the appealing characters and delightful backdrop of New York City give it legs larger than those of a terrier to stand on.

Special features:

The Humans That Brought you Pets is made up of interviews with creators of the film, including directors Chris Renaud and Yarrow Cheney

Animals Can Talk: Meet the Actors showcases Lake Bell, Eric Stonestreet and Kevin Hart, among others, as they do voice work in a studio and chat about what drew them to their respective characters

All About the Pets pairs Eric and Kevin with an animal trainer who brings out various creatures — including a kitty, a chick, a hedgehog, a lizard and a python — for the actors to hold

Hairstylist to the Dogs puts Eric and a pet groomer in a salon where they give two dogs “trendy L.A. looks”

How to Make an Animated Film includes interviews with producer Janet Healy on the challenges inherent in making an animated movie, CEO of Illumination Entertainment Chris Meledandri on the cooperation required by all crew members to create a successful final product, and Brian Lynch on the collaborative effort between animation artists and directors to produce a film

Anatomy of a Scene investigates the process of crafting an animated scene, from coloring, texturizing and shading to subtly manipulating a detail like an animal’s fur

The Best of Snowball

“Lovely Day” Lyric Video

Hot Dog Sing-Along

Three Mini-Movies, including Mower Minions

If you’ve seen The Secret Life of Pets and would like to share your thoughts on the film, click here to rate/review it. We are also giving away a Blu-ray copy of the film. To win, leave a comment below and tell us the funniest thing your pet has done.

~Matthew Pariselli

The Secret Life of Pets Blu-ray review

Comments & Discussion

  1. Mat O. • December 7, 2016 @ 2:29 PM

    When my dog was a puppy, he used to run out during a thunder storm and bark at the sky. Now, he’s just scared of the thunder.

  2. Jenn Liu • December 7, 2016 @ 2:50 PM

    My chihuahua once peed on my lap while I was driving. At first I was mad, but then I just laughed.

  3. Martha Shire • December 9, 2016 @ 9:36 AM

    Watching my dog play in fresh fallen snow.

  4. Linda Bouchard • December 9, 2016 @ 2:39 PM

    We never will forget the time our dog, Molly, just before Christmas as we were running a few last errands had gone under the tree and knew which gifts to open and she left the other ones there.
    To our surprise when we came home, she greeted us at the door with her new ball in her mouth.
    She’s a smart doggy!

  5. LYNN CLAYTON • December 10, 2016 @ 8:40 PM


  6. sandra p • December 11, 2016 @ 10:05 AM

    She recently decided that she does not like Scout, our Elf on the Shelf. She decided to chew part of his face off and drink the pop we left out for him.

  7. Georgina • December 11, 2016 @ 11:05 AM

    My nephew’s dog Maverick loves me. He is a big dog. Will sit up on couch and position himself to have his front legs stick out to hug me….has done the same thing on the landing of the stairs only standing on hind legs and puts his front out to hug me.
    As a puppy when we just met my sister-in-law had him in her arms and she was next to me and he leaned over laid his head on my heart.

    Endearing but not funny moments…hope that counts.

  8. Constantine • December 11, 2016 @ 1:23 PM

    My cat likes to eat freezies.

  9. Georgia Bell • December 11, 2016 @ 5:34 PM

    My cat, Sally, got stuck, not once, but twice in a wall in the basement- she climbed up and got under the ceiling tiles and fell down between the two walls separating rooms- we had to take part of one wall down to get her out. We fixed it and she did it again- so we ended up having to board up in the room where she could get into a closet and then under the ceiling tiles. She lived for 12 years which was amazing after some of the antics she got into, but she was really a fun cat to have and to watch!

  10. Lisa • December 12, 2016 @ 10:25 AM

    goodness my dogs do so many funny things
    our oldest dog got stuck on ice on the walkway that has a slight incline, his feet just kept going but he wasn’t moving
    our little dog does this crazy run around the living room ever single day … all of a sudden he tucks his body in and starts running, bouncing off the couches and chairs!

  11. Scott Simpson • December 12, 2016 @ 6:26 PM

    I’ve got two wonderful kitties …..but my one cat, “Blossom”…..who’s getting up there in age now as well (almost 14 now) seems to go completely limp when she sleeps now. It’s adorable when she’s safely on my lap, etc…..because her head just flops over my leg when she falls asleep.
    BUT…if she tries to snooze on her own….and on the chair armrest?? Hee hee……well, the poor thing falls right off the chair completely 😉
    What’s so funny is when she pops back up she pretends like nothings’ happened … me that confused ” What??” look……like there’s something wrong with me 🙂 ha ha Ohhhh, I love them so much <3

  12. Sandra • December 13, 2016 @ 9:28 PM

    My cat used to lie on me when I slept and would slap my face with his claws. Funny now but not so funny at the time. It hurt.

  13. Sophia • December 14, 2016 @ 3:39 AM

    Prob the time our Cat Oreo decided to eat an entire mouse while making eye contact with me the entire time

  14. Julia • December 14, 2016 @ 10:01 AM

    The other night, my 2 smaller dogs “lady and the tramp”-ed a strand of spaghetti I dropped on the floor. Unfortunately, I did not manage to capture a picture of it fast enough.

  15. Samantha B • December 14, 2016 @ 12:50 PM

    I was home sick one day and resting in bed. My one year pup brought me a piece of her poop to bed to cheer me up!

  16. Debbie F • December 16, 2016 @ 8:46 AM

    Looking out the window watching the snow fall.

  17. Carmen • December 16, 2016 @ 1:49 PM

    We had a German Shepard Husky Dog. We where (2).people under the sink fixing it when we had a thunderstorm when we suddenly had 3 under the sink. Our big dog was afraid of storms! It was a tight fit. Lol

  18. Melanie • December 16, 2016 @ 6:30 PM

    My pet is Felix the squirrel that lives in my yard. When I am in the kitchen he sits in the apple tree outside the window with his front paws and watches me doing dishes or cooking. Then when I go into the living room on the other side of the house he moves to the oak tree and sits in it once again with his paws cross and head on his paws and watches TV with me!

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