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UNIVERSAL

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Chris Renaud, Jonathan del Val
Cast:
Patton Oswalt, Kevin Hart, Harrison Ford
Writing Credits:
Brian Lynch

Synopsis:
Continuing the story of Max and his pet friends, following their secret lives after their owners leave them for work or school each day.

Box Office:
Budget
$80 million.
Opening Weekend
$46,652,680 on 4561 Screens.
Domestic Gross
$157,091,985.

MPAA:
Rated PG.

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio:
English Dolby Atmos
English DVS
French Dolby 7.1
Spanish Dolby 7.1
Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish

Runtime: 86 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 8/27/2019

Bonus:
• 2 Mini-Movies
• “Making of the Mini-Movies” Featurette
• Deleted Scenes
• “A Tapestry of a Tail” Featurette
• “How to Draw” Featurettes
• “How to Make a Flip Book” Featurette
• “Character Pods” Featurettes
• “My Buddy and Me” Featurette
• “The Further Adventures of Captain Snowball” Short
• “Pets With Jobs” Featurette
• “A Party Fit for a Pet” Featurette
• “The Secret Life of Pet Massage” Featurette
• “Pops’ Puppy Training School” Featurette
• “Production Pets” Featurette
• “Pets Yule Log”
• Lyric Videos
• Previews


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

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-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


RELATED REVIEWS


The Secret Life of Pets 2 [Blu-Ray] (2019)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 29, 2019)

A sequel to 2016’s Secret Life of Pets, 2019’s Secret Life of Pets 2 offers a continued look at the lives of various New York-based animals. Foes in the first movie, dogs Max (voiced by Patton Oswalt) and Duke (Eric Stonestreet) now happily co-habitate with their human owner Katie (Ellie Kemper).

Until the living situation changes when Katie marries Chuck (Pete Holmes) and then brings a baby into the apartment, that is. Though Max initially resents this imposition, he eventually bonds with infant Liam, and Max becomes so protective of the child that he develops an anxiety disorder.

Max’s panic goes into overdrive when the family leaves the safety of home to visit a farm and all its foreign “dangers”. There Max meets tough sheepdog Rooster (Harrison Ford), a new influence on his life.

Back in the city, Pomeranian Gidget (Jenny Slate) cares for Max’s beloved toy “Busy Bee”, but she loses it to an apartment dominated by cats. This requires her to go undercover to recover Max’s possession.

Lastly, Snowball the rabbit (Kevin Hart) adopts a superhero persona. He gets the task to help rescue a white tiger named Hu from an abusive circus environment.

Man, that’s a lot of plot material for a single 86-minute movie! Way too much plot material, in fact, and a sign that Pets 2 lacks the inspiration it needs.

When I saw the first Pets, I felt it offered a pleasant surprise. Whereas others seemed intrigued by the "what goes on in pets' minds?" premise its promos appeared to promise, I thought it looked like warmed-over Toy Story and wasn't excited to see the end result.

However, the original Pets became a pretty entertaining little flick. No, it didn't break any new ground, but it offered a satisfying comedic adventure.

The sequel? Not so much.

Sequels often have a problem in that they don't "need" to exist. Franchises like Star Wars can make sequels part of a longer overall narrative, but most come to fruition as money grabs: there's no substantial story that needs to be told, so the studios create them mainly for profit reasons.

That's the category into which Pets 2 falls. This doesn't doom the film - or any others in the "doesn't need to exist" category - to failure, as plenty of those movies can still be highly entertaining, but Pets 2 feels more like product and less like a tale with any creative inspiration behind it.

Honestly, Pets 2 comes across as three episodes of a TV series roughly cobbled into one semi-coherent narrative. Scratch that: Pets 2 isn't coherent at all, as it crams its three competing storylines into one clumsy whole.

Does it connect the three by the end? Yes, but only in an awkward, unsatisfying manner. The three stories have little to do with each other and don't mesh in a natural way.

The main plot - with Max on the farm - essentially rehashes City Slickers. We get Max as the Billy Crystal character and Rooster subs for Jack Palance.

This area offers the most entertainment, solely due to Harrison Ford's presence as Rooster. While he doesn't get a lot to do, Ford's gruff and tumble performance adds charm and carries these cliché scenes.

A better-made movie would've focused most of its energy on that side of things, but I guess the filmmakers didn't have much confidence that Canine City Slickers could carry an 86-minute movie, so we get the other plots, both of which qualify as bizarre. Snowball rescues a tiger? Gidget becomes a cat? Seriously?

Both scenarios come with some comedic potential, and Kevin Hart continues to make the most of his performance as Snowball - sort of. He gave Snowball such crazed energy that he was the highlight of the first film, whereas the domesticated Snowball of Pets 2 seems less unhinged and fun. Still, Hart brings enough to make the part engaging.

Snowball’s story seems idiotic, though, even for a movie about anthropomorphized animals. Gidget's narrative makes a little more sense but the film invests the least in her part so we don't get a lot from it.

Honestly, Pets 2 is a mess. It's three largely unrelated stories packed into one, and they can't create a satisfying whole. We get the occasional laugh but the end result feels half-baked and incomplete.


The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus C+

The Secret Life of Pets 2 appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. While attractive, this wasn’t one of the best-looking animated Blu-rays I’ve seen.

Sharpness could be a minor distraction. Though most of the movie displayed solid clarity, a few shots seemed a smidgen soft. These were mild instances, but parts of the image lacked the tightness I expect from Blu-ray.

At least no issues with jaggies or shimmering occurred, and edge haloes were absent. Of course, the image lacked any print flaws; it remained clean at all times.

Colors became a strong element. The movie went with a somewhat pastel palette, and it displayed consistently vivid hues within its chosen range.

Blacks were dense and tight, and shadows were usually fine, though a few low-light shots seemed a bit dark. Overall, this was a good enough presentation for a “B+”, but that meant the presentation disappointed compared to the usual “A”-level computer animated effort.

As for the movie’s Dolby Atmos soundtrack, it opened up the film in a satisfying manner. Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the mix didn’t give us wall-to-wall theatrics, but it managed to use the spectrum well.

As expected, the film’s occasional action sequences boasted nice breadth and activity, and the street or farm elements created a fine sense of involvement. While the soundscape didn’t stun us on a frequent basis, it provided more than enough to succeed.

Audio quality seemed consistently solid. Speech appeared natural and distinctive, and no edginess or other issues marred the dialogue.

Music sounded warm and full, while effects showed good clarity and accuracy. When necessary, bass response came across as deep and tight. All of this lifted the track to “B+” status.

Expect a slew of brief extras, and like all Illuminations releases, we get Mini-Movies. This set includes “Super Gidget” (3:49) and “Minion Scouts” (4:04).

“Gidget” focuses on the Secret Life Pomeranian, whereas “Scouts” gets into the Despicable Me universe. Both offer decent entertainment.

We also find a Making of the Mini-Movies featurette. It runs four minutes, 59 seconds and offers comments from Illumination founder/CEO Chris Meledandri and directors Glenn McCoy, Boris Jacq, Guy Bar’ely and Frank Baradat.

As expected, we get basics about the creation of the disc’s two shorts. While this means a few decent insights, “Making” tends toward fluff.

Four Deleted Scenes fill a total of two minutes, 19 seconds. We find “Wake Up” (0:43), “Duke Explores the Farm” (0:12), “Snowball in Training” (1:07) and “Secret Confessions” (0:17).

Both “Farm” and “Confessions” feature finished animation, whereas the other two deliver rough visuals. Coincidentally, “Farm” and “Confessions” also both involve dogs who sniff butts, and they’re pretty forgettable.

“Up” and “Training” aren’t really any better. Actually, they’re less appealing because they fill more time and don’t add to the film – at least “Farm” and “Confessions” wrap up quickly.

Plenty of featurettes follow, and A Tapestry of a Tail goes for seven minutes. It includes notes from Meledandri, director Chris Renaud, writer Brian Lynch, editor Tiffany Hillkurtz, and co-director Jonathan Del Val.

“Tail” examines story, characters, cast and performances, editing, and construction. Some fluff appears here, but “Tail” offers a generally taut take on the topic.

Tutorials appear in the three How to Draw segments. Head of Story Eric Favela leads us through lessons on how to create art for “Max” (2:56), “Snowball” (2:25) and “Chloe” (2:25). I enjoy these kinds of pieces, and this collection becomes fun.

Another tutorial shows up via How to Make a Flip Book. Favela comes back for this four-minute, 25-second reel. It’s another likable reel.

Under Character Pods, we locate 10 segments with a total time of 16 minutes, 40 seconds. Across these, we hear from actors Patton Oswalt, Kevin Hart, Eric Stonestreet, Jenny Slate, Tiffany Haddish, Lake Bell, Nick Kroll, Dana Carvey, Bobby Moynihan and Harrison Ford.

In the clips, the actors discuss their roles. Don’t expect substance here, as we get a few minor thoughts about performances but not much.

With My Buddy and Me, we locate a three-minute, 28-second piece that features Carvey, Moynihan, Meledandri, Bell, Hart, Lynch, Oswalt, and Renaud. They talk about their pets in this fluffy clip.

An interactive animated short, The Further Adventures of Captain Snowball features Hart as his character. By “interactive”, the viewer occasionally makes choices that determine where the story goes. It’s moderately fun.

Called “a documentary”, Pets with Jobs lasts seven minutes, 10 seconds and provides comments from Doggie Do Good founder Sandy Sandberg, Redondo Beach PD Chief of Police Keith Kauffman, Redondo Beach police officer Kyle Ostrom, Redondo Beach K9 officer David Arnold, Hello Critter founder Michelle Tritten, and Mini-Therapy Horses Executive Director Victoria Nodiff-Netanel.

As expected, “Jobs” looks at the various tasks animals can perform. It’s a cute little overview.

Split into six segments, A Party Fit For a Pet fills a total of seven minutes, 19 seconds and offers lessons how to create items for a Pets-themed bash. It feels a bit self-promotional but maybe some party planners may enjoy it.

Relax the Cat lasts four minutes, 21 seconds and features Bell, Carvey, Moynihan and animal massage therapist Amber Lockspeiser. Here Lockspeiser teaches the actors how to massage their pets. Don’t expect much real information, but some laughs result.

Next we find Pops’ Puppy Training School, a two-minute, 28-second clip that features Hart. It’s comedic in nature and mildly amusing.

With Production Pets, we get a five-minute, 56-second photo montage that shows the animals owned by all the members of the crew. That’s it!

Under Pet Yule Log, we see a two-minute, 13-second reel that acts as a Pets-themed screen saver kind of deal. I don’t know why they call this a “Yule Log” when it has zero to do with Christmas, but it seems moderately likable.

Finally, Lyric Videos encompasses two tracks: “Panda” (0:45) and “It’s Gonna Be a Lovely Day” (3:55). The former acts as an ad and just shows a movie clip accompanied by onscreen lyrics.

“Day” isn’t much more ambitious. It mixes film shots and some other animation with lyrics as well. Neither segment seems memorable.

The disc opens with ads for The Grinch, Curious George: Royal Monkey, A Dog’s Journey, Perfect Harmony and UglyDolls. No trailer for Pets 2 appears here.

Although the first film offered solid entertainment, Secret Life of Pets 2 sputters. Fractured and disjointed, it lacks the charm and wit of the original. The Blu-ray brings good picture and audio along with a long but fairly superficial collection of supplements. Given the high quality of the prior movie, Pets 2 becomes a disappointment.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main