THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS (2016)
Chris Renaud and Yarrow Cheney directed this animated film from a screenplay by Brian Lynch, Cinco Paul & Ken Daurio which seems to be more a collection of very clever sequences as opposed to melding its storyline into a cohesive whole. I enjoyed the way it started with its panoramic view of New York City and a snappy song by Taylor Swift but once the owners leave their pets alone for the day in order to go to work, I felt the story seemed to lose itself. The picture has a nice theme of acceptance, true friendship and loyalty, but if a picture like this wants to succeed with adults (a market that is crucial to animated films) it needs to be a bit more sophisticated in its approach to telling its story. This picture is simply not in the same league with this year’s ZOOTOPIA or FINDING DORY, in that both films appealed very heavily to adults as well as children and were very well written. This film details the story of Max, a terrier and Duke, a large mutt adopted by his owner, who through a series of circumstances get lost and find themselves in the sewers of Manhattan with a bunch of tough “throwaway pets” who hate human beings. Max and Duke gets rescued by their fellow pets from their neighborhood all the while dodging the dog catchers hot on their heels. This picture is beautifully animated and shows off New York City to glorious effect (except when they’re in the sewers of Manhattan) however I felt the story could have been more compelling than it was.