Pros: Familiar, cute characters; some really good jokes; important messages aimed at parents Cons: Most of the jokes ended up in trailers; typical cartoon Illumination The Secret Life of Pets 2 / “Secrets of Pets 2”
Directed by Chris Renaud
The roles were voiced by Patton Oswalt (Max), Eric Stonestreet (Duke), Lake Bell (Chloe), Dana Carvey (Pops), Hannibal Buress (Buddy), Kevin Hart (Snowball), etc.
Universal Pictures Studios, Illumination
Year of release 2019
It is still surprising how the Illumination studio, which was born only 12 years ago, manages to compete on an equal footing with the great and mighty Disney, which will soon celebrate its centenary. With half the budget, Illumination’s cartoons earn on par with Disney’s; moreover, with such modest investments, the studio’s films managed to jump into third (Minions), fifth (Despicable Me 3) and eighth (Despicable Me 2) places in the list of highest-grossing animated films. Maybe the secret is in simple and uncomplicated humor, understandable even to the smallest children, maybe in a specific and also somewhat simplified picture (let’s say thanks to the French studio Mac Guff, which drew most of the Illumination cartoons)… it’s hard to say. At the same time, it is quite obvious that The Secret Life of Pets 2 will also appeal to the public, although, let’s be honest, there is nothing in this cartoon that we have not already seen in other animated films.
The heroes of the first part of The Secret Life of Pets, Max, Duke and Katie, lived happily ever after until Katie got married and had a child. Max, who was at first wary of the arrival of a new person in the family, is now crazy about the tomboy. And in attempts to protect the child from real and imaginary dangers, the dog goes a little too far, earning a nervous breakdown as a result.
Yes, the main topic that the authors of The Secret Life of Pets 2 raise is parental overprotection, a real scourge of modern society and, perhaps, the No. 1 problem in the modern education system. The fact is that the level of care that parents demonstrate towards their children grows from generation to generation, and it does not even grow linearly, but in geometric progression. The street, which in the 50-80s of the last century was considered generally safe for children, has now become a source of increased and often imaginary danger. Playgrounds, parks, private apartments, cutlery, toys, furniture, everything in the world have become “dangerous.” Without noticing it themselves, parents protect the child from the whole world, which in the future will have an extremely negative impact on his adult life. The lion’s share of the problems that child and adult psychologists deal with today are related specifically to overprotection.
The Secret Life of Pets 2 doesn’t encourage you to leave your child in the middle of a busy highway or throw him into a lake in an attempt to teach him to swim, but he does suggest giving your kids a little more freedom and allowing them to make mistakes. Scratching your knees, getting bruises, falling out of trees. Stop worrying about the little person, give him at least a little freedom to explore the world on his own.
The second message of The Secret Life of Pets 2 is aimed at both adults and children. The fact is that the main villain in the film is the circus director Sergei, who abuses animals. And while Max in the village is dealing with his own problems and fears, his friends in the city are trying to save the sweetest white tiger from his evil owner, over and over again emphasizing the idea that animals in the circus are evil. This is very consonant with the campaigns currently taking place in many countries around the world to ban circuses with animals. I hope that in our country, including thanks to such cartoons, such evil will be eradicated.
It’s funny that in both the English and Ukrainian versions of the cartoon, the circus director Sergei is a typical Russian with a characteristic accent and antics, but in the Russian version he turned into a caricatured Frenchman Serge.
But that’s not all, there is a third message in the cartoon, connected with Max, Snowball the rabbit and Daisy the Shih Tzu. Everything is simple here – cutely teasing Disney’s “Avengers”, the authors of The Secret Life of Pets 2 show viewers that it doesn’t matter at all whether you’re wearing a superhero cloak or not, even the most insignificant character can be a hero, even the one who seems to have come for with the help of others, and then did all the most difficult work himself.
In fact, in The Secret Life of Pets 2 there is another important episode related to Gidget’s transformation from a dog to a cat, which is very funny and cute, but contains a rather unexpected subtext that will probably not appeal to the guardians of patriarchal morality. We will leave it to you to decipher this message from the authors yourself.
Otherwise, The Secret Life of Pets 2 is a completely typical Illumination cartoon. With fairly simple and not always successful jokes, with a traditional style for the Mac Guff studio and a quality of drawing that not everyone will like. The cartoon turned out to be not drawn out at all, there are no special sagging plots, but, on the other hand, there are no bright memorable episodes. The Ukrainian voice acting, especially the basset hound Buddy and his charges, is traditionally good.
Overall, we can recommend The Secret Life of Pets 2 for viewing. And while your children laugh at the antics of Gidget and Snowball, think about what the authors want to tell you, parents.
A cartoon that is worth going to see with your children