A film ‘brand’ used to relentlessly endorse Murdoch’s murky world of Sky TV propaganda is hardly the sort of thing that’s going to get the old juices flowing here at Wayward Wolf Towers. Add to that the fact that The Secret Life of Pets (TSLOP) is a Pixar animation – two words designed to activate either a ‘deep coma’ or ‘run for the hills’ mode within me – and let’s face it, the signs aren’t good.
I had the opportunity to swerve it and I didn’t. This viewing was my choice, due to an undeniable fact that TSLOP is the one and only modern, mainstream animation whose trailer actually made me laugh – and on this occasion, more than once.
Don’t get carried away now; it’s a film that ploughs through great swathes of beige averageness in order to get to the humour and the genuinely funny stuff could probably quite comfortably fit into a ten minute Youtube compilation video, but much in the same way that adult animated comedies like The Simpsons or Family Guy do, TSLOP unleashes its content in quick-fire fashion. After all, throw enough content out there and some of it’s bound to stick, and an audience will probably sit through most things so long as they don’t needlessly drag or show signs of terminal self-indulgence – or suck eggs, of course.
TSLOP is mercifully pretty much a drag-free zone and jollies along nicely for 90 minutes of your time, with a whole plethora of cute, animated pets from all walks of the animal kingdom, combining together in a sequence of scenarios that range from mildly amusing to laugh-out-loud funny on occasion, and as someone that almost never gets a taste of the Pixar treatment, the animation itself, it must be said, is massively impressive.
Of course, on one level TSLOP is not so much a film, more a cynical piece of mass-marketing aimed to sell, sell, sell. Kids naturally will love it and there will of course be an inferior sequel. That’s how these things are meant to work, and I see no reason why that won’t be the case here too.
Against all odds, and as much as I hate to admit it, TSLOP gets a sort of tepid thumbs up from this here animation cynic.