Max pretty much had it made until his beloved owner brought home a new dog. While attempting to get rid of Duke, the two find themselves on the most epic adventure through the streets of the big city.
Most pet owners wonder what their fur-babies do while their away at work or where ever. We figure they’re just sleeping or walking around the house, but what if they did more than this? What if they hung out with the neighbors’ dogs or the cat from across the street? What would they talk about if they could communicate freely? We assume they live mundane lives, and only strive to give us humans the love and affection they desire in return. But what if they did so much more than that? They could be a lot more social than we give them credit. This is exactly what the Secret Life of Pets is all about.
In the beginning, we see Max (Louis C. K.) whose only desire in life is to wait for his beloved owner, Katie (Ellie Kemper), to come home and spend time with him. She is his entire world, and he’s so lucky to have such a great friend. Not only that, Max has other animal friends nearby like: Gidget (Jenny Slate), Chloe (Lake Bell), Norman (Chris Renaud), and many others. When the humans are away, the pets come out to play. Some of them are bored with their daily lives, while others find ways to fill the time. They come in all shapes, sizes and breeds, but they all have someone who love them. Overall, life seems pretty good for these furry boys and gals. That’s until a new dog comes to Max’s house to stay.
Duke (Eric Stonestreet) is a big-old dog from the pound. There must be something about him though, since Katie decided he’d be a good roommate for Max. On the flipside, Max is incredibly disappointed. Why would she need another dog? Who is he, and where did he come from? And why is he eating all my food and taking over my bed? From Max’s perspective, this is the worst situation ever! The only thing he can think to do is find a way to make Duke look like a really bad dog. That way, when Katie comes home she’ll feel the same and get rid of him. It’s a pretty good plan till Max crosses the line with Duke. He’s not about to get pushed out the door of his new digs with Katie and Max. He loves this new gig, and knows that he’ll have to get rid of Max before he does the same. The two start to have it out after Duke’s had enough. He’s got a plan to get rid of Max, but didn’t think it through all the way. Turns out, now they’re both lost, and have no idea how to get back home during a daily walk. To make matters worse, they’ve recruited by a crazy fluffy bunny named Snowball (Kevin Hart) who started an army of stray and abandoned animals. He forces Max and Duke down to their secret hideout in the sewers. This is no place for a couple of domesticated house dogs.
Think Max and Duke can push aside their differences, escape the clutches of Snowball and find a way back home before Katie returns? You’ll have to tune in to find out!
Enough about that…let’s check out what’s included with this 4K Blu-ray release.
The menu design consists of several looping clips from the film. The menu options are listed in the top-left corner, and include: Play, Chapters, Audio, and Subtitles. The ‘Chapters’ option displays four chapters at a time. Each one is numbered and includes a snapshot from the scene. The ‘Audio’ option includes: English Dolby Atmos, Spanish 7.1 Dolby Audio, and French 5.1 Dolby Audio tracks. The ‘Subtitles’ option consists of the same languages as the audio tracks.
Now let’s check out the bonus features. Its worth nothing all of the bonus features are included on the standard 1080p Blu-ray Disc.
– The Humans that Brought You Pets (8:43 HD): This is a great feature that takes a look at the folks who came up with the idea of this film. All of the animals reflected previous pets they had in their lives. They all shared the same wonder about what their pets did when the humans were away, so they got together and exchanged ideas. This pretty much made up the entire film! Make sure to check out this feature. It’s obvious they were highly invested in making this a fun film for anyone who’s had a pet in their life.
– Animals Can Talk: Meet the Actors (3:47 HD): The voice actors of the main cast share their experiences working on the film. They all said their characters fit their personalities, and felt free recording their voices. It’s a brief clip, but fans of the film will enjoy seeing the actors behind the scenes.
– All About the Pets (6:26 HD): This is really funny that includes a hands on animal experience with Kevin Hart who voiced Snowball, and Eric Stonestreet who was the voice behind Duke. The two are accompanied by an animal trainer who brings two animals at a time for the guys to hold. Eric always gets something cute and furry, and Kevin is always presented with a massive snake, tarantula or something unique that most folks wouldn’t want to hold. Kevin’s reaction to these creatures/animals is pretty funny.
– Hairstylist to the Dogs (3:41 HD): Much like the previous feature, this is another funny one. Eric Stonestreet and a professional pet groomer have small dogs they are grooming. Needless to say, Eric’s pup doesn’t get the professional treatment.
– How to Make an Animated Film (4:13 HD): This is a great behind-the-scenes clip about what it took to make this film a reality. In short, it takes putting together a stellar cast and crew. Their passion and professionalism is what makes the film as enjoyable as it is. The details and high quality of the animated image reflects this perfectly.
– Anatomy of a Scene (4:46 HD): This is a comprehensive explanation of how the crew made the magic happen. A lot of work went into the individual pets seen in the film. The results show just how much work went into the intricate details seen in the finished product.
– The Best of Snowball (1:15 HD): This Kevin Hart’s mix tape of Snowball’s greatest hits from the film. It’s a good collection of Snowball’s one-liners seen in the film.
– “Lovely Day” Lyric Video (2:23 HD): This is an animated music video of the song “Lovely Day,” that includes the lyrics. It’s a mix of 2D and 3D animation. All of the major characters from the film make an appearance. It’s a fun feature that kids and fans will enjoy.
– Hot Dog Sing-Along (1:12 HD): This is another music video with the lyrics. It’s the scene when Duke and Max eat a massive amount of hot dogs at the meat factory. It’s short, but kids will get a kick out of this one.
– Fandango: Brian the Minion on Pets (2:46 HD): This is a three-part feature with one of the Minions known as Brian. Brian and some other Minions are shown watching clips of the film in a cinema. It has a Mystery Science Theater vibe to it. Every time Brian is taken out of the theater for making too much noise.
– GoPro: The Secret Life of Pets (2:04 HD): This feature consists of various extreme sports involving GoPro cameras. The animators were able to take the action footage and use it to make the animation appear more lifelike in the film. The wingsuit flyer through the city was pretty awesome.
– SING Trailer (4:02 HD): This is a trailer for the next film by Illumination, called SING. If you’ve enjoyed the other films by this animation company, you’ll definitely want to check this one out. It looks really funny, and it’s filled with all types of animals and incredible voices.
– Mini Movies (19:56 HD): There are three mini-movies included with this feature. The mini-movies include: Norman TV (4:01 HD), Weenie (4:05 HD), and Mower Minions (4:27 HD). There’s also a “Making of the Mini-Movies” (7:23 HD) feature. The ‘Norman TV’ movie is a bit morbid and advanced for young children, but it’s worth checking out for sure. The ‘Weenie’ feature includes the singing hot dogs seen in the film. It’s a trippy mini-movie that features hundreds of singing hotdogs from Weenieville. I couldn’t help but think of Sausageparty while watching this feature. For future reference, Sausageparty is NOT a kid’s film… The third feature, ‘Mower Minions,’ is all about those little yellow guys. They watch an infomercial about a blender that blends bananas, and they go nuts. The blender is only $19.95, so they start going to the neighbors to see if they can mow their lawns. Hilarity ensues. The ‘Making of’ feature breaks down how they made the mini-movie magic. It’s the same formula as the making of the main feature. They had to put together a solid professional animator team who could bring the mini-movie ideas to life.
Now let’s take a look at the technical side of this 4K release.
The 2160p 4K UltraHD image with High Dynamic Range (HDR) comes with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. This means the incredibly bright and clear image will fill your entire 4K UltraHD display. Both the 1080p and the 4K versions of this film look incredible. It’s worth noting the 4K transfer is really an upscale from the 2K master. What viewers will see though is just how brilliant this animated feature looks. Most animated features look incredible in High Definition, and this transfer is one of the best I’ve seen. The inclusion of High Dynamic Range (HDR) on the 4K Blu-ray gives it a little more punch to the already supreme-looking 1080p one; bumping up the brightness of the greens, reds, blues and yellows. The fluffy and vividly white character known as Gidget appears astonishingly bright in the 4K version. When she fills the entire screen, viewers will be amazed at how bright your display can get.
The Dolby Atmos audio track does a great job encompassing the viewer from beginning to end. Since animated features are completely artificial, they tend to have a lot of ambient effects to complete the illusion. This film is no different, and the creators did a great job adding in effects and music to the Dolby Atmos audio track. The dialog is always crisp and clear, and is never overwhelmed by the soundtrack or effects. This is a great-sounding transfer that everyone in the room will enjoy.
Overall, The Secret Life of Pets is a fun film for the whole family. It has lovely and colorful characters, and even some wild and crazy strays. It’s funny, presents some serious issues, and does a fantastic job bringing the story all the way around to a happy ending. Viewers will certainly make connections with the various pets seen in the film to their own. I couldn’t but see my mother-in-law’s cat, Polo, every time Chloe would pop up on the screen. This is a well-casted and superbly-produced film that resembles all of the fun we’ve seen in previous children’s animated features. It’s also a different perspective on the lives of our beloved pets. Adults may enjoy this one just as much as the kiddos.
If you are looking for a new animated feature the whole family will love, make sure to add this film to your personal collection! It’s also a great way to show off that new 4K UltraHD setup. Pick it up on 4K UltraHD Blu-ray today!