Max faces some major changes after his owner Katie gets married and now has a child . On a family trip to the countryside, Max meets a farm dog named Rooster, and both attempt to overcome his fears. Meanwhile, Gidget tries to rescue Max's favorite toy from a cat-packed apartment, and Snowball sets on a mission to free a white tiger named Hu from a circus.Written by
Animated films offer the opportunity for imagination to really come to life. As they bring CGI and other animation tactics to the table, the stories that follow have a big job of trying to make a film that is entertaining to all ages without dipping down one end over the other. While there are many animated studios out there ready to give it a shot, not every studio finds a way to achieve those goals, becoming a cash grab instead of a quality adventure. This week, an early showing of the The Secret Life Of Pets 2 came to screen and I had my suspicions that this sequel might have been just that. Robbie K back with another review, checking out Illumination Studios' latest work. Let's get started:
Movie: The Secret Life Of Pets 2 (2019)
Chris Renaud, Jonathan del Val (co-director)
Patton Oswalt, Kevin Hart, Harrison Ford
Short Run Time
Not Quite Original
More Impasses/Character Development
Under Utilized Characters
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Animated films often require good voice acting to bring the characters to life, and this series' cast succeeds in bringing the plot to full life. Hart and Haddish bring their chemistry back to life in the form of Snowball and Daisy, their wild, sarcastic sass coming out beautifully in animated form. Oswalt's addition managed to bring Max to the same level as last time, fun and familiar friendliness. As for the others again they get the job done when utilized to make the same craziness that the first movie used long ago. Animation wise, it is the same caricature like style that Illumination loves to use, with grandiose character flaws and elongated, angular faces that make up their characters. As for the pets, they still have that anthropomorphized component that is so sweet to look at, each having some quality to represent the voice actors that play them. While those components are nice, the thing I enjoyed more about this installment was the pacing of the movie. Utilizing the adventurous story and splitting it into three separate segments helped keep things dynamic, moving, and fun, and avoiding those slow parts the first movie had. It's this theme that kept me entertained and seeing each subplot having its own time to play out, all the while giving the characters their focused time. Eventually all of these moments tie together, bringing the surprisingly emotional side of the film the conclusion that fit well in the theme of fun and love of pets. It definitely should strike chords with a few audience members, especially those with ties to pets.
Yet, the movie still suffers from some things that do bring some limitations for this reviewer. For one thing, the movie is still predictable and pulled no surprises in terms of story presentation. Illumination's focus on kid friendly films seems to divert from the options that will shock and amaze, due to the potential of being too sad. As such, the tale's originality and magic don't quite live up to the potential that Disney has made famous in their plethora of tales. It's cute don't get me wrong, and does have some heart pulling moments, but these are only scratching the surface that bigger studios do better. Also taking away from the tale is the short run time. Around 80 minutes long, the movie has a lot to cram in the short time, leading to very quick dives into the fun portions of the movie. However, this is also the undoing as the movie's quick pace leaves little time for impasses, obstacles, and challenges to help give significant character development. In addition, the movie could have focused a little more on some of the gimmicks they were promoting if given more time. While the characters are fun, they don't have that full dynamic and emotional range that other animated characters hold. Given that animals somehow are more emotional than humans, it would have been nice to see more of this come out, but again, this might have not fit in with the fun slapstick and writing that was built for the audience. Fan favorites from last installment may also find it disappointing to find their characters left in the kennel, particularly those who liked Pops, Mel, the Dachshund, and the Falcon as they have little outside of comedy stunts. Perhaps more time and planning could have done a bit better in adjusting these characters to have the full punch in each story.
It's no Secret this movie will do well when it opens because of the intended audience. It's cute, funny for many ages, and has that colorful animation to keep attention on them. I myself enjoyed this one better than the original due to the pacing and adventurous side of things, but I still was hoping for a little more balance and originality than what they put in. It is not the best animated in terms of pushing the limits of imagination, but it does its job and I'd say to come hit this up in theaters when you can. Otherwise, check it out later when it comes to home entertainment.
My scores are:
Movie Overall: 7.0
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