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The Secret Life of Pets

Manufacturer: Universal Studios
Disclaimer: The manufacturer provided NewTechReview with a NFR unit of this product for review.
Reviewed by Scott R. Garrigus
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“Comedy superstars Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, and Kevin Hart make their animated feature-film debut that finally answers the question: what do you pets do when you’re not home? When their owners leave for the day, pets from the building gossip with their friends, satisfy their sweet tooths, and throw outrageous parties. But when a pampered terrier (C.K.) and his unruly new ‘roommate’ from the pound (Stonestreet) get lost in the urban jungle of New York City, they must put aside their differences to survive the epic journey back home.” That’s the official description for The Secret Life of Pets, which is directed by Chris Renaud and Yarrow Cheney, and is available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD.

Before sitting down to watch The Secret Life of Pets, you should understand that this film is geared specifically toward children. Unlike some of the other animated films on the market (such as the Toy Story series), the plot and character development are fairly simple. Instead, we’re treated to a roller-coaster ride of action and laughs, which is perfect for keeping the young ones entertained. Of course, if you can turn off your analytical mind for about an hour and thirty minutes, you’ll probably enjoy the antics of these crazy characters, as did I.

I have to admit that some of the funniest scenes were already shown in the trailer and show up during the first five minutes of the film, but Illumination manages to intersperse plenty of other funny moments throughout the film to keep it entertaining. Some favorites include Max and Duke in the sausage factory, Snowball’s opening scene, and pretty much every scene where Chloe the cat was featured. I had heard that the “kill the humans” chanting by Snowball and his gang didn’t go over well with some parents, but I think most kids will understand that this is fictional entertainment.

In addition to the movie itself, The Secret Life of Pets provides a nice collection of bonus content that includes the following:
* How to Make an Animated Film (4K and Blu-ray) – a featurette touring the various departments of the Illumination studios and what they did behind-the-scenes to create the movie.
* Anatomy of a Scene (4K and Blu-ray) – another behind-the-scenes look, but this time showcasing the filmmaking process that is used in making a single scene.
* All About The Pets – Animal trainer Molly Mignon O’Neill imparts some knowledge on actors Kevin Hart and Eric Stonestreet about real-life household pets.
* Animals Can Talk: Meet The Actors – provides quick snippets with the cast from both inside and outside the vocal booth.
* Hairstylist To The Dogs – Professional dog groomer Jess Rona imparts some pet primping knowledge on actor Eric Stonestreet in this fun featurette.
* The Best Of Snowball – a very quick, one minute animation featuring some of the best lines from Snowball the crazy bunny.
* Hot Dog Sing-Along – a one minute sing-along video featuring Max and Duke as they sing for their supper in the sausage factory.
* “Lovely Day” Lyric Video – a music video featuring this song from the movie.
* The Humans That Brought You Pets – a nice featurette containing quick interviews with producers Chris Meledandri and Janet Healy, directors Chris Renaud and Yarrow Cheney, and writer Brian Lynch talking about what went into creating the story for the movie.
* Mini-Movies and The Making of the Mini-Movies – provides three animated mini-movies from Illumination entitled Norman Television, Weenie, and Mower Minions. Also included is a seven minute featurette talking about how the mini-movies were made.
* Sing Trailer – a movie trailer for the animated film, Sing.
* GoPro: The Secret Life of Pets – this is just an ad for GoPro, which includes some scenes from the film.

While The Secret Life of Pets story line and character development aren’t as fulfilling as some other animated films (such as Toy Story), it’s still a fun ride with plenty of laughs, especially for kids. The quality of both the animation and voice acting is excellent, and the wonderfully colorful and vibrant scenes look superb on both the 4K and Blu-ray editions. I’d say it’s worth a look.

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* Universal:
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