Salisbury Press

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Review: ‘Pets 2’

Friday, June 21, 2019 by Paul Willistein in Focus

The concept for “The Secret Life of Pets” was brilliant: What do pets do when their owners are away? It being an animated feature movie, we learned and heard what pets thought and said.

“The Secret Life of Pets 2” gets the pets out of the house to some good and not so good effect.

Director Chris Renaud (“The Secret Life of Pets,” 2016; “The Lorax,” 2012; “Despicable Me,” 2010; “Despicable Me 2,” 2013), Parkland High School, Class of 1985, graduate, along with co-director Jonathan del Val (an animation director in his big-screen co-directorial debut) and screenwriter Brian Lynch (“The Secret Life of Pets”; “Minions,” 2015; “Puss in Boots,” 2011) borrow pages from screenplays of live-action and animated movies.

There’s an automobile chase. There’s a chase scene atop a moving train. There’s a martial arts scene. There’s a Cat Lady.

The film is padded out at the start of the end credits with cute live-action social media clips of infants and pets, plus an animation scene during the credits.

There’s a “paw-city” (paucity) of original plot ideas in “The Secret Life of Pets 2.”

Basically, Max loses his toy, Busy Bee, and Gidget attempts to find it. Max makes friends with a sheepdog named Rooster when the family goes for a drive. Snowball rescues a white tiger at the zoo. There’s a circus owner named Sergei and a pack of wolves.

None of this in the episodic plot makes much sense.

“Pets 2” has a frenetic pace, as if the action will whiz you past the plot.

The film was seen in 2D. I don’t think it’s necessary to see the film in 3D.

“The Secret Life of Pets 2” should be fun for children. Teens and adults may be not as entertained. There is humorous dialogue at times.

The animation of “Pets 2,” in the style of previous Illumination Entertainment animation films, is refreshing in character style originality, brightness of scenes and colorful pastel palette.

The voice talent in “Pets 2” is especially good.

Patton Oswalt voices Max, the top dog, who narrates the film. He replaced Louis C.K.

Other voice talents include Eric Stonestreet (Duke), Kevin Hart (Snowball), Harrison Ford (Rooster), Tiffany Haddish (Daisy), Lake Bell (Chloe), Jenny Slate (Gidget), Bobby Moynihan (Mel) and Hannibal Buress (Buddy).

“Pets 2” has the usual array of pop, rock and hip-hop hits to move the story along.

It’s no secret that “The Secret Life of Pets 2” is not nearly as good as the original “The Secret Life of Pets.”

“The Secret Life of Pets 2,” MPAA Rated PG (Parental Guidance Suggested Some material may not be suitable for children. Parents urged to give “parental guidance.” May contain some material parents might not like for their young children.) for some action and rude humor; Genre: Animation, Comedy; Run time: 1 hr., 21 mins.; Distributed by Universal Pictures.

Credit Readers Anonymous: At the very end of “Secret Life of Pets 2,” the growly voice of Harrison Ford intones, “OK. Movie’s over.”

Box Office, June 14-16: “Men in Black: International” opened at No. 1 with a disappointing $28.5 million, edging out “The Secret Life Of Pets 2,” dropping one place, $23.8 million, $92 million, two weeks.

3. “Aladdin” stayed in place, $16.7 million, $263.4 million, four weeks. 4. “Dark Phoenix” dropped two places, $9 million, $51.7 million. 5. “Rocketman” stayed in place, $8.8 million, $66.1 million, three weeks. 6. “Shaft,” $8.3 million, opening. 7. “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” dropped three places, $8.1 million, $93.6 million, three weeks. 8. “John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum” dropped one place, $8.1 million, $148.6 million, five weeks. 9. “Late Night,” $5.1 million; $5.4 million, two weeks. 10.“Ma” dropped four places, $3.6 million, $40.3 million, three weeks.

Unreel, June 21:

“Toy Story 4,” G: Josh Cooley directs the voice talents of Tom Hanks (Sheriff Woody) and Tim Allen (Buzz Lightyear), newcomers Tony Hale (Forky), Keegan-Michael Key (Ducky), Jordan Peele (Bunny), Keanu Reeves (Duke Caboom) and Christina Hendricks (Gabby Gabby) and the usual gang, including Annie Potts (Bo Peep), Joan Cusack (Jessie), Wallace Shawn (Rex) and the late Don Rickles (Mr. Potato Head), to whom the Animation Comedy is dedicated. In the fourth installment, the toys go on a road trip.

“Child’s Play,” R: Lars Klevberg directs Aubrey Plaza, Mark Hamill, Brian Tyree Henry and Gabriel Bateman in the Horror film remake of the 1988 original film. This toy doll has the same old story.

Two Popcorn Boxes out of Five Popcorn Boxes