Wednesday, 12 June 2019

The Secret Life of Pets 2: Film Review

The Secret Life of Pets 2: Film Review

Vocal cast: Patton Oswalt, Tiffany Hadish, Kevin Hart, Eric Stonestreet, Harrison Ford, Jenny Slate
Director: Bryan Lynch

Pleasantly enjoyable whilst it's on, but forgettable the moment it's ended, The Secret Life of Pets 2 is an animation which does its zany job well and will entertain - as is to be expected of the Illumination stable.
The Secret Life of Pets 2: Film Review

The sequel to the peek-behind-the-curtain-to-see-what-our-pets-do-all-day takes its cue from a treatise more about parenting.

Faithful terrier Max (Oswalt, in laconic form) finds his life changed when his owner Katie meets and falls for someone before having a child. When the youngster shows, Max is initially reticent and hostile, but soon bonds with him before worrying about the day-to-day life he's now part of.

Meanwhile, Snowball the rabbit (Hart, in usual frenetic form) is now convinced he's a superhero, and is recruited by Haddish's pooch Daisy to help rescue a tiger, imprisoned in a circus.
The Secret Life of Pets 2 feels like a series of moments and mini-sequences strung together throughout, rather than a fully cohesive whole. It gels at the last minute, but it's a long journey to get to some semblance of a narrative.

That said, the journey to get there is pleasantly amusing, with sight gags and silliness the order of the day.
The Secret Life of Pets 2: Film Review

There's an emotional core for Max, and some learnings for youngsters in the audience about trusting yourself (Ford's gruff farm dog Rooster is nicely positioned, a mix of tough exterior and necessary emotional coldness) and for parents to trust their judgements as well.

Disparate threads resolve in a way that feels light, rather than subtle and nuanced, but frankly, kids in the audience won't care as there's enough to amuse, and adults won't mind as the film zips along at a pace that's both episodic and frantic.

Animation purists will find nothing new here, both in terms of visuals or also in terms of deeper meanings, but there's a passing joy to be had with The Secret Life of Pets 2 that renders this trip to the cinema something worthwhile while it passes, but fleeting the moment it's over.

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