Louis CK plays the voice for a happy puppy?! Well, I guess this is something we should check out, isn’t it? I’m talking about The Secret Life of Pets, the latest animated film from Illumination Studios, the guys who are famous for Minions. Let’s take a look…
The Movie Itself (4/5)
Have you ever wondered what your pets do when you’re not at home? The Secret Life of Pets explores this question, by giving us a look into the wild and crazy adventure that takes place for a group of dogs who live in the same apartment building in New York City.
To be more specific, Max, the adorable little mutt voiced by Louis CK (again, you almost wouldn’t know it was him, it’s almost eerie hearing Louis CK sounding chearful), is having a bit of a crisis when his human brings home a humongous beast of a dog named Duke. Duke proceeds to ruin everything for Max, including taking his food, his bed, and his precious time with Max’s person.
Max, not willing to put up with Duke’s guff anymore, begins to show his dominance and tries to get rid of Duke. This ends up backfiring massively when they end up lost in the city after running away from the dog walker.
The two dogs end up on one heck of an adventure that will bring them into the seedy underbelly of the city where the bad pets (led by a particularly evil bunny voiced by Kevin Hart), into the captivity of the dog catcher, and even driving off of a bridge into the water below. Seriously, these pets get into a lot of tricky situations. Luckily for them, the other pets in their building are out looking for them.
Eventually, they all must learn to work together and, dare I say it, they even end up becoming friends (in true children’s movie fashion).
So having missed this one in theaters, I was glad to have the opportunity to check it out on Blu-ray. Illumination is quickly establishing itself as a key player in the animated film world, which says a lot when your competitors include Pixar, Disney, and Dreamworks.
The voice acting was pretty well done, but can be a bit annoying at times (Hart’s bunny was particularly distracting to me), but overall this film was well written. Plenty of jokes and situations brought out a chuckle, and only a few had me rolling my eyes. Illumination does a good job of including jokes that are appropriate enough for kids, but are smart enough for the adults to enjoy too.
Anyone with kids should without a doubt check this one out. Everyone else should give this one a try if they enjoyed Toy Story, since the formula is fairly similar.
Visuals/Picture Quality (5/5)
I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. Computer animated films are almost always the most exciting to watch in high definition. The Secret Life of Pets looks absolutely amazing on both Blu-ray and 4K UHD.
The art style lends itself to looking great on screen. Bright colors and a unique style just look awesome. This is, of course, best on an HDR 4K TV. However, when I compared that to a second viewing on Blu-ray, I was surprised at how similar the picture looked. I can’t quite tell if this is a marvel at how great it looks on Blu-ray, an “unimpressive” jump in quality between BD and 4K UHD, or simply the art style that looks so great, but no matter what version you choose, you simply will not be disappointed in how great it looks.
Score/Audio Quality (5/5)
The Dolby Atmos track makes excellent use of all tracks and is exciting to listen to. Lots of sound effects and 3D sound spaces are used throughout the film which will keep your speakers happy during the play through. Dialog never gets lost in the fray, and the sound levels are mixed really well.
Special Features (4/5)
In the first big bummer of the set, the special features are only on the Blu-ray disc, so no 4K extras. However, they make up for this mostly by including a good helping of extra content:
- The Humans That Brought You Pets – Interviews with the Producers, Directors, and Writer.
- Animals Can Talk: Meet the Actors – A quick look at the voice over work.
- All About the Pets – A couple of the voice actors and an animal trainer sit down with some pets.
- Hairstylist to the Dogs – Grooming tips for pets (I know, sounds weird, but was pretty fun).
- How to Make an Animated Film – A short look at what goes into making a CG film.
- Anatomy of a Scene – Another quick look at making animated films.
- The Best of Snowball – More on Hart’s evil bunny antics.
- Music Video – “Lovely Day”
- Hot Dog Sing-Along – A karaoke style music video….featuring hot dogs.
- Fandango Brian the Minion on pets – An MST3K style riffing, except with Minions.
- GoPro The Secret Life of Pets – A TV ad for GoPros that uses clips from the movie.
- Trailer for Sing
- Mini-Movies – Three shorts – NormanTV, Weenie, and Mower Minions.
- The Making of the Mini-Movies
Both the 4K UHD and the regular Blu-ray copies of The Secret Life of Pets come with a nice enough looking slipcover to go with their black and blue (respectively) standard cases. Inside the 4K release you will find the UHD disc with matching art and a very generic looking Blu-ray copy with just plain white text. The Blu-ray version has the same generic looking Blu-day disc and a matching DVD. Both versions come with a slip of paper inside that has a UV code for your digital copy. Overall, this is a fairly standard release, but slipcover fans will be glad to know that this does have one.
- Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
- Dolby Atmos
- Dolby TrueHD 7.1
- Spanish Dolby Digital Plus 7.1
- French Dolby Digital 5.1
4K set has 2 discs (1UHD and 1BD)
Regular set has 2 discs (1BD and 1 DVD)
Runtime 90 Mins
If you like animated films, then you are quite likely chomping at the bit to watch The Secret Life of Pets, and you will most likely be happy once you do. For people who generally shy away from animated films, this one may not convince you that you’re wrong, but it might be worth a shot anyway.
Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.