Tuesday, July 12, 2016

As Your Friend, I've Got To Be Honest With You: I Don't Care About You Or Your Problems

I had not been planning to see "The Secret Life of Pets" but I did.

Minor Spoilers Ahead...

I will be completely honest. When I saw the trailers, I rolled my eyes quite a bit. Some bits seemed cute, and the voice cast was intriguing, but it didn't feel up to par with a lot of other animated films I have seen lately.

But my father of all people really wanted to see it. And since he was nice enough to give Warcraft a chance with me, I figured I'd return the favor. Besides, as I always say, can't judge something until you see it.

And it vastly exceeded my expectations.

Now, it's still not anywhere near the best movie I've ever seen. The scatological humor, while thankfully far briefer than I had feared and thus easier to ignore, was still unnecessary. Likewise, the random in-universe cover of "We Go Together" from Grease stuck in the middle there. I don't mind musical numbers in movies, but unless it's specifically a Jukebox Musical can you at least use an original song? This seems to be an annoying pattern with Illumination Studios (and Blue Sky as well, if Oliver!'s "Food Glorious Food" bafflingly showing up in Ice Age 2 is any indication).

But man, if you own or have ever owned a pet, this movie just GETS it. Animal Lovers will understand and adore at least most of the jokes surrounding how our animals act - we'll all see our own pets in these characters. And the Story, while nothing really new, is still surprisingly heartfelt and effective.

The cast was also great. Louis C.K. and Eric Stonestreet gave a good blend of comedy and pathos, and Kevin Heart was actually much funnier than the trailers made it out to be (I found Snowball in the trailers kind of annoying). The supporting cast is also great, but to me the standouts are Dana Carvey reprising his "grumpy old man" voice from his SNL days as Pops the Basset Hound, and Albert Brooks of all people actually managing to play a menacing hawk named Tiberius (well, he's still neurotic as well, but its surprisingly downplayed for Brooks).

I'm not entirely sure I would have payed my own money to see it, but I am still glad I saw it and would highly recommend it to anyone who finds kinship with animals.

For Ricky!

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