The Secret Life of Pets - More of a mutt than a pure breed - Kid's Korner rating: 3 stars + Best Kid's Korner films of 2016

"The revolution has begun! Liberated forever, domesticated never!"

Popcorn, M&Ms and a large drink. Roll the film... It has taken the cinematic world by storm. Does this pet-centred adventure offer anything new to the world of animation?  

Kid's Korner rating: 3 stars
           Max (Louis C.K.) is a Jack Russell terrier who loves his owner, Katie (Ellie Kemper). His life centres on the world that exists in their Manhattan apartment complex. All manner of species lives in the building. Each pet has become a reflection of their owner and how each  has learned to manage their existence in the confines of this New York City block of flats. As Max celebrates the life that he cherishes with his owner, it quickly goes from bliss to trepidation as he is introduced to his new canine roommate named Duke (Eric Stonestreet). The dogs quickly attempt to gain the love and admiration of Katie and then a twist of fate causes them to get separated from their comfortable lifestyle. As this odd couple attempts to get back to their apartment, they must learn to trust one another and rely on the assistance of a cute and fluffy bunny named Snowball (Kevin Hart ). Any pleasant feelings about bunnies is quickly changed for the dogs as they are made aware of the rabbit's devious plans for the destruction of the humans who left him and many other pets of the city behind. Max and Duke must escape this cottontail-controlled world to find their way back home, while a search party of furry and feathered friends attempt to find the lost pair of hounds. 
        It can be said that there are no original stories coming out of Hollywood, especially when it comes to animated family entertainment. Last year's Inside Out and 2016's Zootopia do challenge this statement, but it is supported by the storyline in The Secret Life of Pets. If you were to take a bit of Bolt, add in the sewer of Flushed Away, take the core concepts of Toy Story, include the villain from Hoodwinked, and mix them all together with a little bit of pet food, the result would be Illuminations Studios latest production. 
       Even with its lack of originality, director Chris Renaud (Despicable Me) does manage to provide enough creative spins to these familiar concepts to make it worth seeing this year.  Delving into the world of pets while their owners leave for the day is a notion that is ripe with possibilities. The creatures at the centre of the story are endearing, but do lack the magic of similar films that have proceeded them. Also, after the initial notion of the pet's lives are explored, the storyline does wear thin. What shows promise in the beginning, leads to a mad capped bundle of confusion. Understandably, animated films are not known for their logic, but this outing does stretch the limits of anyone's imagination. 
        All that being said, the creators of the Despicable Me franchise do provide a film that families can enjoy together. Parents will enjoy the nuances of the animals habits and young children will enjoy the Minion-like slapstick humour. This combination makes this new animal adventure the equivalent of a good scratch behind the ear for families seeking a safe choice of entertainment for the weekend. 
What should parents know about The Secret Life of Pets?

Kids Korner review: Junior reviewer Caroline - The pets were really funny and made me think about my own pet's lives. The story reminded me of some of my other favourite films, but I did laugh and had fun. 

Reel Dialogue: What are the bigger questions to consider from this film? 
1. Does God care about animals? (Genesis 1:26-28, Matthew 6:26, Luke 12:6)
2. What is our responsibility with our pets? (2 Samuel 12:1-6, Proverbs 12:10)

Best Kid's Korner Films of 2016 
Ranked with the assistance of our junior reviewer

The qualifications do say that they are kid friendly, but check the ratings. Some films on the list may not be suitable for young children. 
  1. Zootopia
  2. Hunt for the Wilderpeople
  3. The Jungle Book
  4. Finding Dory
  5. Pete's Dragon
  6. Kubo and the Two Strings
  7. Snoopy and Charlie Brown in the Peanuts Movie                            (Australia release - 1 January)
  8. The BFG
  9. The Secret Life of Pets
  10. The Legend of Tarzan
  11. Eddie the Eagle
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Kid's Korner are reviews written by Russell Matthews' with his kid's perspective and based on a five star rating system @ Russelling Reviews #russellingrevs #thesecretlifeofpets