The Secret Life of Pets (2016)

secretDirector: Chris Renaud, Yarrow Cheney

Writer: Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio, Brian Lynch, Simon Rich (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Louis C.K. Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Jenny Slate, Ellie Kemper, Albert Brooks, Lake Bell, Dana Carvey


Plot: The quiet life of a terrier named Max is upended when his owner takes in Duke, a stray whom Max instantly dislikes.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Disappointing Animated Comedy


Story: The Secret Life of Pets starts as we meet Max who life is all about being with his owner Katie who live in New York and have an amazing bond in his eyes but he struggles to deal with her leaving for work every day. With Max living in an apartment he has a neighbour in Gidget and well a host of other pets who get left while their owners go to daily routines.

Max’s life is turned upside down when Katie brings a new dog home Duke who throws Max’s perfect little world out the window as he is no longer the alpha of the apartment.

When the rivalry between Max and Duke reaches new levels, they find themselves taken to the pound only to be saved by Snowball a bunny who leads a gang of abandoned pets. While back home Gidget leads the party to of other pets from the building to look and save Max before their owners come home.


Thoughts on The Secret Life of Pets


StoryThe story going on here is something that is very much for kids to enjoy, we get a deeper meaning of that pets are for life but this doesn’t become the main part of the story which is disappointing. The adventure the characters goes on feels like it could just be a one off television special gone mad if I am to be honest and borrows so much for more established movies out there.

Animation/Comedy/FamilyWhen it comes to animation it is all good but you have come to expect that from animated film now. The comedy is nearly all slapstick and barely comes off while I do feel the whole family wouldn’t enjoy this as it would be more suitable for just the kids out there.

Characters/PerformanceThe characters are all painfully stereotypes you would think when you see the animals involved which in the end shows the writers just don’t seem to have had animals in their own lives, the voice overs all for the character they are playing by not having the biggest names behind the characters.

SettingsThe film uses New York as the setting which is a scary place for people but just think what it would be like for the animals living there, that is captured in this film well.

Final ThoughtsThis is a very kid friendly film that just doesn’t hit all the marks it should for the potential it had while it ends up being just a slack lazy story telling we have seen before.


Overall: Plain average kid film that just isn’t that special.




ABC Film Challenge – Animation – D – Despicable Me 3 (2017)

Directors: Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin, Eric Guillon

Writer: Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Trey Parker, Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gairer, Steve Coogan, Julie Andrews


Plot: Gru meets his long-lost charming, cheerful, and more successful twin brother Dru who wants to team up with him for one last criminal heist.

Tagline – Oh brother.

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Substandard Threequel


Story: Despicable Me 3 starts when Gru and Lucy get fired from the Anti-Villain League after letting 80s based supervillain Balthazar Bratt escape from his latest heist. This gives Gru more time and he learn that he has a twin brother Dru.

When Dru wants Gru to show him the ways of villain which leave Gru on a tipping point for a career as Balthazar is tacking over the mantel of best supervillain and Lucy is learning how to be a better mother.


Thoughts on Despicable Me 3


Characters – Gru now part of the Anti-Villain League trying to stop the villains he once competed against. Fired after failing he learns of a long lost twin brother that wants to tempt him back into the life of crime. Dru is the twin brother of Gru that doesn’t have the same abilities when it comes to being a supervillain even after being raised by their father, he invites Gru to help him. Lucy is Gru wife that is trying to become a better mother to the kids, which is a boring side story in this film. Balthazar Bratt was once an 80s television star that had his show cancelled which drove him to a life of crime with 80s style about him (it is really hard to take this character seriously as he is being voiced by Trey Parker of South Park and I can only see Randy in this character). The minions are not in the movie are much as previous film, but still annoying.

StoryThe story follows the hapless Gru as he must face a new villain and his own family to follow his own destiny. We have lots of side stories going on here which only just take away from the main story’s flaws. The villain is interesting but never feels like a threat and the idea that Gru must face a moral dilemma about which side to fight for doesn’t get the true focus it deserves. The whole story just feels like it was designed to be a television episode if we are being honest.

Action/Comedy/FamilyThe action is not as big as the original two even if it does play into the comedy of the movie, the comedy is a complete mixed bag, moments hit well the others just annoy, with the kids being the only ones that will be truly entertained by this one.

SettingsThe film takes us to new locations which will see Gru fight and new enemy and dealing with new family members.

AnimationThe animation, just like the previous films is very good throughout, easily being the highlight of the film.

Scene of the Movie –
The opening heist gets the most laughs.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The random side stories, Lucy trying to be a mother to Margo and Agnes’ unicorn hunt.

Final ThoughtsThis is a weak entry into the franchise that could easily be better instead of just giving us too much of the same when it comes to dealing with the side stories.


Overall: Animation 101




Despicable Me 2 (2013)

logoDirector: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud

Writer: Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talent) Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt, Miranda Cosgrove, Russell Brand, Ken Jeong, Steve Coogan, Elsie Fisher, Dana Gaier


Plot: After a research laboratory is stolen The Anti-Villain league recruits Gru (Carell) to help locate the person responsible for it. Gru is now working to be honest and being a single father of the three girls Margo (Cosgrove), Edith (Gaier) and Agnes (Fisher). Gru has to team up with agent Lucy (Wiig) and go undercover in a shopping mall to figure out who is the one behind the robbery.


Verdict: A welcome addition to the Despicable Me franchise.

Story: This time the story has changed, Gru isn’t trying to outsmart a fellow criminal mastermind he is just trying to stop one, showing how the character has developed over the two films. As before you have a very loose plot that is perfect for the younger audience as well as giving enough for the more mature audience. (8/10)


Character Review: Gru – The reluctant hero who has a new love for his girls, using his gadgets to get the better of his opposition. (8/10)


Character Review: Lucy – A good addition showing that the stubborn lonely character of Gru can have a love interest. Full of her own wacky quirks work very well with Gru to create a good partnership in work and personally time. (9/10)


Character Review: Eduardo – The villain doesn’t come close to the one in the original, he lacks motive, competition and any real charisma. (6/10)


Character Review: Silas – Head of the Anti-Villain league very stuck up poking fun at all the head of the British Secret service characters from the James Bond films. (7/10)


Character Review: Minions – These fellas steal the film again, take them out you have an average film at best, these guys make this film fun and use some very clever film references. Scene Stealer Award, Iconic Performance Award, They Have The Laughs Award, My Favourite Character Award, Comic Relief Award, Funniest Character Award, Lesley Favourite Character Award (10/10)


Character Review: Dr. Nefario – Has a drive to stay working on taking over the world He has some good character twists throughout the film and again is excellently voiced by Russell Brand. (8/10)


Character Review: Margo, Agnes, and Edith – Adding a more family base to the film about how a father has to cope with a young daughter first crush, birthday party expectations and mood isolation spells. They have grown in characters since the first film and add so much more to the story this time around. (9/10)


Director Review: Pierre Coffin, Chris RenaudContinue with the good work created in the first making better character development but losing some of the action we might be used too. (7/10)


Comedy: this film really lacks the truth laugh out loud ability of a top comedy the minions will give you most laughs. (7/10)

Animation: Great animation throughout. (9/10)

Chances of Tears: None (0/10)

Oscar Chances: It might the a nomination for best animation

Chances of Sequel: It has potential for a sequel and the money it made makes the sequel look more than likely.

Suggestion: I would suggest this to all animated fans it is a fun addition to the genre. The minions have to be loved by all as they will have you laughing more often than not. It is good family fun so just enjoy it. (Watch)


Best Part: I loved the minion boy band scene.

Worst Part: Lack motivation from villain.

Funniest Scene: minion trying to save Gru from Lucy.


Similar Too: Despicable Me


Overall:  A funny film made great by the minions.


Lesley’s Rating 100%

My Rating 80%

Despicable Me (2010)

Director: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud

Writer: Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio, Sergio Pablos

Starring: Voice Talents Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Julie Andrews, Will Arnett, Kristen Wiig


Story Gru (Carell) is the world’s most evil super villain, until one day someone steals the Pyramid of Giza. Gru and his team lead by Dr Nefario (Brand) come up with the idea to shrink and steal the moon. There is a few problems with his plans, the new super villain Vector (Segel) has better gadgets and steals the shrink ray. After numerous attempts to break in Vector’s hideout Gru finds a way in, Gru has to adopt three orphans to sell cookies. After adopting the children he starts to become attach to them. With lots of comic support from Gru’s minions, Will Gru be able to claim his title back?


Verdict This animation comedy promises a lot from its trailer, but I felt that if it weren’t for the minions the comedy would be very poor. Most of the jokes are very predictable and the story is unoriginal. Having the movie coming from studio that bought us Ice age I was expect a much higher standard of movie. Overall it could be considered a good family comedy.


Story Mark 7/10


Action Mark 8/10


Comedy Mark 7/10


Favourite Character The Minions


Least Favourite Character Vector


Best Part Everything to do with the minions


Worst Part Most of Vector scenes


My Rating 72%