‘The Secret Life of Pets 2’ | Film Review: More of the Same

Cast: Patton Oswalt, Kevin Hart, Eric Stonestreet, Jenny Slate, Tiffany Haddish, Lake Bell, Nick Kroll, Harrison Ford, Ellie Kemper, Dana Carvey, Hannibal Buress, Bobby Moynihan

Director: Chris Renaud

Writer: Brian Lynch

Runtime: 86 Minutes

Studio: Universal Pictures

We got ourselves another movie from Illumination, and the routine of little children having fun and the adults having to deal with its short running time to get out of there asap. Even though it was expected that The Secret Life of Pets 2 would come out eventually, you would already assume this to be a harmless and fun time to watch another adventure with these house pets.

What’s the Story: Max (voiced by Patton Oswalt) faces some major changes after his owner Katie (voiced by Ellie Kemper) gets married and now has a child. On a family trip to the countryside, Max meets a farm dog named Rooster (voiced by Harrison Ford), and both attempt to overcome his fears. Meanwhile, Gidget (voiced by Jenny Slate) tries to rescue Max’s favorite toy from a cat-packed apartment, and Snowball (voiced by Kevin Hart) sets on a mission to free a white tiger named Hu from a circus.

Kevin Hart, Patton Oswalt, Eric Stonestreet, and Tiffany Haddish in The Secret Life of Pets 2 (2019)

With the unnecessary characters trailers that were released in anticipation, I don’t think no one was looking forward to this animated sequel. If I have to be honest about The Secret Life of Pets, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the movie. But who am I to say since it was the highest-grossing original movie of 2016, which isn’t saying much when there was barely any originality to it at all. I didn’t care one bit about this and was just hoping to be better than the original. Here, it’s a bit of an improvement, but just barely.

First off, the animation is gorgeous, and it’s probably the best looking movie Illumination has put it their filmography. Simply take a look at the design of all the animals and just pay attention to the details of the fur and the surrounding of each setting. The best animation that’s going to be talked about near the end of the year? No, but it’s worth complimenting about.

Almost all of the original vocal performances return in here. The one noticeable one missing was Louis C.K., for obvious reasons, as Max, but I’m glad he got replaced by someone funnier in Patton Oswalt voicing Max. Then you got your favorites like Kevin Hart as Snowball, Eric Stonestreet as Duke, Jenny Slate as Gidget, Lake Bell as Chloe, and the rest to be a part of the fun. And then adding Tiffany Haddish as Daisy the Shih Tzu and Harrison Ford as Rooster the Welsh Sheepdog to the series.

Lake Bell, Bobby Moynihan, Jenny Slate, and Hannibal Buress in The Secret Life of Pets 2 (2019)

My favorite character that stood out from the rest was Harrison Ford as Rooster. He’s the character that teaches Max how to be brave while visiting the farm. Maybe the fact that Ford is voicing a dog is kind of enjoyable for most people, including myself in that group.

Is there a plot? There is. Each character gets their own stories, but the three separate storylines are something that would be a part of a television show based on the franchise. This is my main problem with the movie where I felt like it an actual storyline was needed instead of three. Some of the things that were from before are brought in here without making it feel new and more of the same. Unlike the unpopular direct-to-DVD sequels from Disney that has different stories that feel like it means nothing by the end, The Secret Life of Pets 2 has everything come full circle. A more linear story could’ve been a little better used for its short runtime of 87 minutes.

Out of the three, the most interesting story was the one that involves Max and Duke on the farm where it tried to be fun and the less annoying.┬áKind of the more straightforward that’s easy to follow through.

Harrison Ford and Patton Oswalt in The Secret Life of Pets 2 (2019)

The moments where the jokes come in are what to be expected. There were a few times I found myself chuckling more than I did from before. Besides that, there wasn’t a time here where the heart was found, and I didn’t find myself caring about the pets and their respective situations.

By the end of The Secret Life of Pets 2, I just had the same feelings I had while watching this as I did with the original. Was there a reason to make this outside of generating money? I didn’t think so. An animated sequel like this is one that I will likely forget later on in the week. If you’re babysitting kids for the night and put this in front of them, then you’ll be safe. Not bad, just pretty meh.

Grade: C+

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