Film review of The Secret Life Of Pets (2016)

Director: Chris Renaud, Yarrow Cheney.

Running time : 90 minutes 

Cast: Jenny Slate, Ellie Kemper, Lake Bell, Kevin Hart, Albert Brooks, Dana Carvey, Louis CK, Steve Coogan. 
You would think that animated buddy animal movies had run their course by now after endless successes and failures. It’s a tried and tested formula which keeps getting churned out numerous times each and every year. This movie still manages to seem ambitious though which I was pleasantly surprised by. MINIONS director Chris Renaud plus now co director Yarrow Cheney (Minions art director) have done a great job of having a large group of characters who mostly run as a pack, voiced by some great voice artists of recent years, continue to deliver fresh jokes across a 90 minute running time while taking in an array of locations without becoming over complicated. 

The script is sparky and yet well trodden, but I found myself having a new found appreciation for the level of texture animation on show. Water, particles, wet fur, shadows and all other manner of once tricky effects now seem to be just as manageable as the easy plastic looks of the humanoid characters of the 90’s movies such as Toy Story. Now although my top film of this kind remains BOLT and my favourite animal led comedy animation is still THE PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR, I have you’ve credit to PETS for juggling so many factors with a great confidence. The trailer has a bunch of gags which are easily thrown away because it’s only a small portion of the jokes provided. 

The voice cast are delightful together and everyone has their moment. The action whips along at a satisfying pace and I cared about the animals and felt their individual personalities. 

I classify this experience in the pleasant surprise category. 
C whitehouse 2016. 

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