The Secret Life of Pets - Toy Story with Animals, No Ambition

The Secret Life of Pets - Toy Story with Animals, No Ambition

The Secret Life of Pets is a terrible ripoff of Toy Story, but with animals in the place of toys.

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Let's not forget Cats and Dogs where the animals also change to human behaviour when the owners aren't around. That's two much better films this is reminding us of already.
On a less related note, Louis C.K. always sounds like an expensive perfume to me.

I'm starting to feel talking animals are overdone at the moment in animation. Yeah, I know it's been a trope of children's literature since forever and there are plenty of good ones out there, but all the same, just watching a bunch of film trailers at the cinema recently felt insanely repetitive. Maybe animals are easier to depict attractively in 3D than humans. Though it's not just the animals, also the general 'cartoony feel'. Whatever happened to the darker children's entertainment, like Watership Down?

I saw great potentinal in the first trailer, then the second trailer came along and the Toy Story parallels couldn't be any more blatant. I have faith in Illumination entertainment, the first Despicable ME showed that even without an original soundtrack or a ground-breaking story that didn't mean something enjoyable couldn't be done.

Their next movie is Sing, a movie about an animal society with different animals going through a singing competition, again, a little clich?, but the trailers showed promise.

Atleast I learned that Despicable Me isn't from Pixar OR DreamWorks. So theres that...

Also my computer "corrected" DreamWorks to have W capitalized. So I learned an additional thing.

Okay, haven't seen the film, so maybe everything Mater says is on the money. That said, I have to ask...

-Does Toy Story really have a monopoly over this concept? Pets acting differently when their owners aren't around and possessing a pseudo-society of their own? Gee, that goes at least as far back as Cats vs. Dogs. Brothers get separated (said brothers having animosity) forcing the supporting cast to find them? The first Rugrats movie. Pets flushed down the sewer, recruiting other animals to join them? Billy the Cat did an episode based on that premise (just replace "humans" with "dogs" - long story). True, you can draw parallels to Toy Story as well, but I don't think it has a monopoly over any of these concepts. Maybe the execution is the key determinant here, but from what I've seen, saying that this ripped off Toy Story feels like saying Inside Out ripped off The Numbskulls.

-Looking at their record, Illumination has an average record for original works, depending on how you define "original." Despicable Me (an original) spawned two sequels (soon to be three). Hop is an original, and The Lorax is an adaptation, plus we have Secret Life and Sing. I can project further into the future, but either way, that's four originals, three sequels, and one "other" (Lorax, depending on how you define it). That's pretty much par for the course. Blue Sky has Ice Age, Sony has Open Season, DreamWorks has multiple franchises interspaced throughout originals, and then you have studios that base their output entirely on franchises (e.g. Crest Animation). Point is, based on the line "I guess I understand why Illumination is riding the Minions train this hard; coming up with new ideas is hard. It's easier to stick with something you know, which in the studio's case is either yellow gibberish-talking annoyances or ripping off Pixar," makes me raise an eyebrow. The original-ratio record seems to be pretty decent for Illumination. Begs the question, does the franchising of a series equate to lack of originality within a studio? Considering that Pixar arguably has two franchises (Toy Story and Cars, based on amount of output), yet still does lots of original IPs, I'm not sure if that's necessarily the case. The idea of a "bread and butter" franchise allowing you to take risks is something I can understand.

Yeah, probably just rambling, but hey, go figure. I guess if I had to admit it it's because that when it comes to discussing animation studios, Disney, DreamWorks, Pixar, and Studio Ghibli are the only ones I see mentioned with any regularity, and DreamWorks seems to be known more for good franchises (Panda, Dragon, Shrek, etc.) then their work as an actual studio. Variety is the spice of life and all that.

Igor-Rowan:
Their next movie is Sing, a movie about an animal society with different animals going through a singing competition, again, a little clich?, but the trailers showed promise.

I'm very wary about Sing. I'm left to ask what animals actually add to its plot that humans wouldn't, since it's based on a singing competition, and features the usual tropes one could expect (closet singer with the gorilla, the cocky guy with the mouse, the introvert with the elephant, the trod-down housewife with the pig, etc.). Granted, cliches aren't inherent negatives, and I will say that there is a bit of earnestness with what I've seen in the trailers, but when does that cross the line into emotional manipulation?

On the flipside, kind of looking forward to Storks, even if it seems to be "50% fun, 50% stupid" judging by trailers.

Hawki:
Snip

Igor-Rowan:
Their next movie is Sing, a movie about an animal society with different animals going through a singing competition, again, a little clich?, but the trailers showed promise.

Snip

If we're gonna be real honest, Planes, Trains and Automobiles did it first the "a duo of opposites must work together to reach their destination". The thing about the Toy Story paralels is kind of the same thing with Hydlide and The Legend of Zelda, one did it first, other did it right and anybody who tried to do anything in those lines would be instantly compared to Zelda. However it's not so much who did it first, it's what it could have done new, showing a lot of missed oportunities for the movie, heck, I've seen one reviewer who thought this was gonna be his movie because he has multiple pets who had to learn to live with each other, making the movie an even bigger disappointment.

I loved Sing's premise because it remembered me from an underrated animated movie Cats Don't Dance, where a lot of misfits animals had a dream to perform, but had one common obstacle: somebody who actively didn't want them to succeed. Sing appears to have no bad guy, just people whose lives would greatly improve by winning the competition. But the fact they're animals made people already think of Zootopia just because they're animals, but I am hopeful for this one.

My mom told me she wants to see this movie when its convenient to her specifically... I told her it reminded me of Toy Story... I guess we were coincidentally on to something here...

Other than that, now that I think about it, is there a movie where both animals and appliances communicate with one another when no one's looking/noticing? :p

Xsjadoblayde:
Let's not forget Cats and Dogs where the animals also change to human behaviour when the owners aren't around.

How can I forget that movie when it was part of my Bible Study curriculum?

FPLOON:

Xsjadoblayde:
Let's not forget Cats and Dogs where the animals also change to human behaviour when the owners aren't around.

How can I forget that movie when it was part of my Bible Study curriculum?

...I suppose the lord really does work in mysterious ways. 0_0

Oh good, it's cliche. I was gonna skip it anyway, doubly so now that I know there's a goddamn Minion short before it - I really loved Despicable Me but... because of Gru. And the other characters. I hate those fucking Minions.

[[ Also the Lorax is my favourite Dr. Seuss story and they completely butchered that so yeah, get bent, Illumination. ]]

I saw it, didn't think it was nearly as bad as you did.

I found the humor with the domestic animals to be pretty good, but I think the alley cats and the dog catchers would have made for better villains than the Sewer Animals, who ultimately contributed little in terms of humor and originality.

But I am a big fan of slapstick, especially when it happens to animated animals, I got a bit, but I would have preferred more.

It also doesn't help that the theater I went to suffered a power cut from nearby construction and we had to sit there for half an hour in the dark while it rewound 15 minutes of the movie, then towards the end on the final dramatic scene, the audio cuts out and plays fucking commercials, was pretty peeved by the incompetence.

TizzytheTormentor:
I saw it, didn't think it was nearly as bad as you did.

I found the humor with the domestic animals to be pretty good, but I think the alley cats and the dog catchers would have made for better villains than the Sewer Animals, who ultimately contributed little in terms of humor and originality.

But I am a big fan of slapstick, especially when it happens to animated animals, I got a bit, but I would have preferred more.

It also doesn't help that the theater I went to suffered a power cut from nearby construction and we had to sit there for half an hour in the dark while it rewound 15 minutes of the movie, then towards the end on the final dramatic scene, the audio cuts out and plays fucking commercials, was pretty peeved by the incompetence.

This scene made me laugh and headbang:

Ugh I just watched that trailer and it looked awful you can just hear how much Lewis CK is just phoning it in

Movie has Ringworm and System of a Down and ends with an Andrew WK song.

Good soundtrack for a fairly enjoyable film.

I honestly don't think the Minions really deserve all the vitriol they get. If anything, I'd pass most of it on to the Rabbids.

JoJo:
Though it's not just the animals, also the general 'cartoony feel'. Whatever happened to the darker children's entertainment, like Watership Down?

Watership Down... children's entertainment.

Samtemdo8:

TizzytheTormentor:
I saw it, didn't think it was nearly as bad as you did.

I found the humor with the domestic animals to be pretty good, but I think the alley cats and the dog catchers would have made for better villains than the Sewer Animals, who ultimately contributed little in terms of humor and originality.

But I am a big fan of slapstick, especially when it happens to animated animals, I got a bit, but I would have preferred more.

It also doesn't help that the theater I went to suffered a power cut from nearby construction and we had to sit there for half an hour in the dark while it rewound 15 minutes of the movie, then towards the end on the final dramatic scene, the audio cuts out and plays fucking commercials, was pretty peeved by the incompetence.

This scene made me laugh and headbang:

Its even funnier knowing the meaning of the song... in a kids movie. LOL.

Hawki:
-Does Toy Story really have a monopoly over this concept?

According to critics, yes, as all animation belongs to Pixar and any studio that isn't Pixar is crap.

leet_x1337:
I honestly don't think the Minions really deserve all the vitriol they get. If anything, I'd pass most of it on to the Rabbids.

JoJo:
Though it's not just the animals, also the general 'cartoony feel'. Whatever happened to the darker children's entertainment, like Watership Down?

Watership Down... children's entertainment.

Watership Down is very much children's entertainment. It's repeated mid-morning a lot in the UK a very English children's film.

JoJo:
I'm starting to feel talking animals are overdone at the moment in animation. Yeah, I know it's been a trope of children's literature since forever and there are plenty of good ones out there, but all the same, just watching a bunch of film trailers at the cinema recently felt insanely repetitive. Maybe animals are easier to depict attractively in 3D than humans. Though it's not just the animals, also the general 'cartoony feel'. Whatever happened to the darker children's entertainment, like Watership Down?

Probably the pg-13 rating. We used to only have R and PG, Jaws was rated PG. The PG rating was intended to mean that parents were supposed to come with their kids to provide context or decide if a movie was appropriate for them, but instead parents just tended to view it as "its PG its fine for kids."

leet_x1337:
I honestly don't think the Minions really deserve all the vitriol they get. If anything, I'd pass most of it on to the Rabbids.

JoJo:
Though it's not just the animals, also the general 'cartoony feel'. Whatever happened to the darker children's entertainment, like Watership Down?

Watership Down... children's entertainment.

Heh, yeah I'm serious. Kids are generally fine with darker stuff, as long as it has a happy ending.

This one turned out to be bland and uninspired? Colour me surprised.

Seriously, even the name screamed "mediocre". I'm not happy that's it's poor, but I'm also not going to shed a tear.

So, I came back from seeing the film today, as it only just came out in Australia. I'd intended to see Sully, but I got off work early, so it was either waiting an extra hour, or seeing Secret Life. Figured I might as well. And having seen it, I can say that it's...fine. It's fine. Average. Acceptable. C+. 3/5. It was a piece of entertainment that consumed 90 minutes of my life, gave me a few chuckles, and let me leave the theatre knowing that I probably won't ever want to see it again, but not making me regret seeing it in the first place.

Few things of note:

-I'll give credit for how they captured how animals operate - chasing butterflies, the jumping up and down, etc. It's a nice touch how the body language of animals is conveyed so well.

-The film's been likened to Toy Story, even to the extent that some claim that it's a rip-off. Having seen it, I will say that there's certainly similarities, but not enough to enter rip-off territory. Max and Duke are roughly equivalents of Woody and Buzz, but make no mistake, Toy Story was an emotionally resonant film, this one is far more based around slapstick and comedy. Also, if anything, it's an amalgamation of TS1 & 2, not just TS1, given that all the pets go looking for the pair.

-The film has some really weird jumps in logic, even by the standards of a film with talking animals. Snowball is able to use a 'carrot key' on any lock...somehow. The animal control guys somehow get a second vehicle, and don't lose their jobs for the first vehicle going up in flames (not their fault, but who's going to believe that pets attacked them?). Snowball somehow gets a bus through means we never see. All the pets on the bridge just stop fighting even after Gidget beats them all, and they have no reason not to attack. And the little girl's mother allows her to keep Snowball, despite any reasonable parent telling them that they can't just pick a bunny off the street (e.g. risk of disease). Maybe I'm nitpicking, but there ya go.

-The 'sausage dream.' Um...is it a coincidence that this was released the same year as Sausage Party? 0_0

-There's an underlying theme of how it's important to care for your pets, and how most people are decent folks who truly do care about their animal companions, and how even Snowball can find love, but it's not really explored. It's there, and kids will take it to heart, but that's about it.

So, yeah, it's fine. I could see this becoming a classic for people who see the film as kids, but as an adult? Well, it's fine. Second weakest animated movie I've seen this year, but not a bad film. Just a fun little diversion.

 

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