The Secret Life of Pets

Summary

The Secret Life of Pets is a 2016 American 3D computer-animated buddy adventure comedy film produced by Illumination Entertainment. It is directed by Chris Renaud and co-directed by Yarrow Cheney and written by Brian Lynch, Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio. The film stars Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Steve Coogan, Ellie Kemper, Bobby Moynihan, Lake Bell, Dana Carvey, Hannibal Buress, Jenny Slate, and Albert Brooks.

The Secret Life of Pets premiered at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival on June 16, 2016 and was released to theatres in the United States on July 8, 2016 by Universal Pictures. Upon release, it received positive critical reviews and grossed $875 million worldwide.

Plot

A Jack Russell Terrier named Max lives with his owner Katie in a Manhattan apartment. While she is at work during the day, he hangs out with other pets in the building: tabby cat Chloe, pug Mel, dachshund Buddy, and budgerigar Sweetpea. One day, Katie adopts Duke, a large and shaggy mongrel from the pound, leaving Max jealous because of her divided focus on Duke. Enraged by Max’s attitude towards him, Duke tries to abandon Max in an alley, but they are both attacked by a gang of alley cats led by Sphynx cat Ozone. The cats remove both dogs’ collars and leave them to be caught by Animal Control. Duke fears that he will be put down if he goes back to the pound.

They are rescued by a rabbit named Snowball, the leader of “The Flushed Pets” – a gang of sewer-dwelling animals who hate humans because their owners abandoned and mistreated them. After Max and Duke pretend to despise humans as much as they do, the Flushed Pets invite them to join. Before they can prove their loyalty by allowing a one-fanged viper to bite them, Snowball learns from the cats that Max and Duke are domesticated. The two dogs escape the sewers and board a ferry to Brooklyn, inadvertently killing the viper in the process; Snowball vows to kill them and leads the Flushed Pets after them.

Gidget, a white Pomeranian who has a crush on Max, discovers that he is missing and recruits a vicious red-tailed hawk named Tiberius to locate him. After looking over the city for Max, Tiberius returns carrying Ozone, whom Gidget coerces into telling what he knows about the dogs. Gidget and Tiberius then enlist Mel, Buddy, Chloe, guinea pig Norman, Sweetpea, and a paralyzed old basset hound named Pops to begin searching Manhattan. The group encounters Snowball, who vows to kill them as well, and Norman is captured as the rest of Gidget’s team flees.

In Brooklyn, Max and Duke begin to get along with each other and raid a sausage factory for food. Duke tells Max about his previous owner, Fred, an elderly man who adopted him as a puppy and loved to spend time with him. One day, Duke got lost while chasing a butterfly and was caught by Animal Control, but Fred never came to claim him. Max convinces him to visit Fred’s house in a nearby neighborhood, confident that Fred will still love him and take him back. When they arrive, though, they learn from a resident cat named Reginald that Fred passed away. Resentful and angry, Duke accuses Max of attempting to get rid of him and barks at the new homeowners, who just return to their “own” house and call Animal Control. The handlers catch Max, but Duke interferes long enough for Max to escape and ends up being captured instead.

While trying to rescue Duke as he follows the Animal Control van, Max is attacked by the vengeful Snowball who tries to kill him. However, Snowball’s gang are captured, and Snowball realises that he and Max must work together to rescue them. They drive and crash a city bus into the van on the Brooklyn Bridge, stopping traffic. The Flushed Pets arrive and corner Max, unaware of his partnership with Snowball, but Gidget and her team save him. The van rolls away; the captured Flushed Pets escape, but the van falls into the East River with Max and Duke inside. Max is unable to get the keys to Duke’s cage, so Snowball jumps into the river to retrieve them, allowing Max and Duke to escape the sinking van. Once out of the river, Snowball realises how good being heroic feels.

The entire group return to the apartment block by pig-driven taxi. Max expresses his appreciation and infatuation toward Gidget, who returns with affection. Snowball and the Flushed Pets then come up with a new plan to annihilate all humans, but Snowball is suddenly adopted by a little girl named Molly. At first, Snowball resists, but gives in to her sweetness and lets himself become loved and loving. The remaining Flushed Pets return to the sewers, the domesticated pets return to their homes and embrace their owners, and Max and Duke finally reunite with Katie, sparking a true friendship.

Cast

  • Louis C.K. as Max, a Jack Russell Terrier. He is very easy-going but is overprotective of his owner Katie when Duke comes along.
  • Eric Stonestreet as Duke, a large, brown, shaggy mongrel. He is at first volatile and uncouth, but is later shown to have a sympathetic backstory.
  • Kevin Hart as Snowball, a white rabbit. Abandoned by his magician owner, he turned bitter, and so he leads the Flushed Pets planning to take retribution on humankind.
  • Jenny Slate as Gidget, a white Pomeranian and Max’s love interest. She leads the pets to rescue Max and Duke.
  • Ellie Kemper as Katie, Max and Duke’s friendly owner.
  • Albert Brooks as Tiberius, a curmudgeonly red-tailed hawk who helps Gidget and the pets find Max and Duke.
  • Lake Bell as Chloe, an obese and apathetic grey tabby cat who is one of Max’s friends.
  • Dana Carvey as Pops, an elderly basset hound, who is paralyzed in his back legs and is the one who helps Gidget and the pets find Max and Duke.
  • Hannibal Buress as Buddy, a laid-back dachshund and one of Max’s friends.
  • Bobby Moynihan as Mel, a hyperactive pug and one of Max’s friends.
  • Chris Renaud as Norman, a guinea pig who keeps getting lost trying to find his apartment.
  • Steve Coogan as Ozone, a British-accented Sphynx cat.
    • Steve Coogan also voices Reginald, a shady Himalayan cat who informs Duke about what happened to his original owner.
  • Michael Beattie as Tattoo, a slow-witted tattooed pig who is one of the Flushed Pets.
  • Sandra Echeverría as Maria, a Spanish character in La Pasión de la Pasión, a telenovela Gidget watches.
  • Jaime Camil as Fernando, a character in La Pasión de la Pasión, a telenovela Gidget watches.
  • Kiely Renaud as Molly.

Box Office

As of December 11, 2016, The Secret Life of Pets has grossed $368.1 million in the USA & Canada, and $506.9 million in other countries, for a worldwide total of $875.1 million. Its stellar run internationally helped push Universal Pictures [International] past the $1 billion mark for the tenth consecutive year, and aided Illumination Entertainment to pass the $4 billion mark for the first time since 2010. It is currently the fourth highest-grossing original film of all time, behind Finding Nemo, Zootopia and Avatar.

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