Reviewed by: Bob Subjenski
importance of friendship and loyalty
love / helping a friend in need
What do animals really think?
issues involving pets
responsibilities of pet ownership
importance of choosing a pet wisely
animals in the Bible
|Featuring:|| Kevin Hart … Snowball (voice), a white rabbit
Albert Brooks … Tiberius (voice), a hawk
Lake Bell … Chloe (voice), an obese tabby cat
Steve Coogan … Ozone (voice), a Sphynx cat
Louis C.K. … Max (voice), a Jack Russell Terrier
Ellie Kemper … Katie (voice), Max and Duke’s owner
Jenny Slate … Gidget (voice), a white Pomeranian who has romantic feelings for Max
Eric Stonestreet … Duke (voice), a mongrel dog
Tara Strong … Additional Voices (voice)
Jim Cummings … Additional Voices (voice)
Dana Carvey … Pops (voice), an elderly basset hound, who is paralyzed in his back legs
Hannibal Buress … Buddy (voice), a dachshund
Bobby Moynihan … Mel (voice), a pug
“Ever wonder what your pets do when you’re not home?”
Oh, how I eagerly waited many months for “The Secret Life of Pets” to be released, anticipating an epic animated movie along the lines of “101 Dalmatians” or perhaps even “Toy Story.” Instead I left the tiny movie theater feeling like I just viewed a glorified Warner Brothers cartoon, complete with a deranged rabbit that makes Bugs Bunny seem like Bambi. Was I disappointed, not really. Was I happy, not really. Makes sense?
The movie opens innocently and funny enough, showing us several scenes of different pets acting in ways that would horrify their owners if they were home to see them. We quickly find out that Max (Louis C. K.) is an extremely lovable terrier who is the central character of the movie. All the other pets in the building Max lives in hang out in his apartment during the day while their owners are at work. All is perfect for Max in his paradise of a home until his owner brings home a new dog, Duke which she rescued from the dog pound. Duke and Max quickly become rivals, with both of them taking turns having the upper hand.
An attempt by Duke to get rid of Max once and for all horribly backfires, causing the two of them to ultimately wind up being caught by two inept dog catchers who also have a vicious dog inside their truck. Fortunately(?) for them, the aforementioned rabbit enacts a rescue of the dog and agrees to free Max and Duke. At this point, we learn that the rabbit is actually the leader of a vast underground society of abandoned pets, reminiscent of a demented land of misfit toys. During a gang initiation ceremony, things go chaotically wrong, leading to Max and Duke fleeing for their lives. The remainder of the movie is one chase scene after another. Will the evil abandoned pets catch the boys before Max’s friends who are attempting a rescue can save them?
This is a cartoon. I’m happy to report there is no nudity of sexual situations. There are also no curse words, although there are several times characters use insults such as stupid, idiot and dumb. Unfortunately, there are a lot of scenes of mayhem and destruction of property along with quite a lot of physical violence. One character also experiences a very violent death!
There is a very strange scene in the middle of the movie involving two characters and a sausage factory that I’m still not sure what I saw. It seemed almost like I was viewing a drug or alcohol induced trip which would be very out of place.
There is absolutely zero mention of God or anything religious in this movie.
Throughout the movie the theme of friendship and the importance of it are emphasized. This can be used to explain verses showing how God views us, such as John 15:15,
“I no longer call you servants, I call you my friends!”
The concept of accepting others just as they are is another powerful message in the movie. This can be used to illustrate Hebrews 13:2,
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers…”
And, of course, the concept of forgiveness is a major theme in this movie. This gives a great opportunity to explain Matthew 6:14,
“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you!”
While I have no problem recommending this movie, I would strongly suggest that the level of violence is too intense for younger children. I would not recommend it for children under 10 years old.
Violence: Heavy / Language: Mild—“holy schnitzel,” “heck,” “oh my gosh,” “shut up,” “Ah, pellet!” / Sex/Nudity: Minor
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.