The Secret Life of Pets (2016)
The Secret Life of Pets comes from Illumination Entertainment (whose reverence that comes with the success of Despicable Me franchise has been largely overshadowed and adulterated by the abominable Minions spinoff), and has been one of the biggest hits in the summer, surprising pocketing the #3 spot and triumphing fellow "animation about anthropomorphic animals" Zootopia in domestic gross. But is it really the wildly fun and sweet tale Zootopia is? Well it kinda wants to be. But quality control outside Disney is pretty hard to do nowadays. There are some problems in Secret Life of Pets, but which can be condoned if you just want a decent, average entertaining picture to spend your Friday night on.
I'll talk about the pros first. This film has a plot, and it sure can crack some decent jokes and engender some interesting characters. The protagonist is nothing special, but still he is kinda a likable person and works as a protagonist. The villain is pretty interesting and I think he is one of the aspects of the film that I still remember. The voice acting is spot on and I love it very much. The world building is very nicely done too, as the film is not reluctant to show its audience places from San Francisco to New York featuring a variety of pets under different customs and under different social statuses. Despite of that, I won't call it as genius because the concept of showing such, or the concept of the film itself, often feels overshadowed by other animated pictures I have seen in the past decade or so, especially...Toy Story?
On this note I will move on to the cons. I have published a post before about the masterful world building in Toy Story 3 that perfectly serves as the coda of one of the best trilogies ever. So, isn't it a logical for other animated films in the future to try avoid treading the same path that is taken by the first CGI animated picture ever? Secret Life of Pets doesn't seem to acknowledge that, and it appears to have taken page from the Toy Story franchise in a lot of plot elements. Yes it might be 6 years after Toy Story 3, but its no denying that this film has rendered itself a tad less original and cannot stand out among other animations of this decade. Another point to make is that the film's structure overall is not very well handled. I personally think the third act should be made much longer and more emphasis should be allocated onto the climax given the premise that is in the former acts.
It is overall an average fun film. Definitely not big enough to fight for the Oscar trophy, but nice job for killing it in the box office.