The sequel to the 2016 film, "The Secret Life of Pets 2", is possibly one of the strongest animated films on circuit. That it is geared towards a family audience makes it a wonderful option this school holiday.
The film follows the drama of a group of house pets who live in a New York City block of flats, centring on terrier Max (voiced by Patton Oswalt), who is not coping well with some major life changes.
In the sequel, his owner Katie (voiced by Elle Kemper) is now married and has a toddler, Liam. Max is so worried about protecting the boy that he develops a nervous tic.
On a family trip to a farm, Max and mutt Duke (voiced by Eric Stonestreet) encounter canine-loathing cows, hostile foxes and a terrifying turkey, which adds to Max’s anxiety.
Thankfully, Max gets some guidance from veteran farm dog Rooster (voiced by Harrison Ford), who exudes macho traits. Rooster pushes Max to ditch his anxieties, find his inner alpha, and give Liam a little more freedom.
Meanwhile, while her owner is away, Pomeranian Gidget (voiced by Jenny Slate) - tasked by Max to look after his squeaky-toy Busy Bee - loses it and ends up having to rescue it from a cat-packed apartment with a little help from her friend, a cheeky cat Chloe (voiced by Lake Bell).
And crazy-but-cute bunny Snowball (voiced by Kevin Hart) has delusions of being an actual superhero after his owner Molly starts dressing him in superhero pyjamas.
But when Daisy (voiced by Tiffany Haddish), a fearless Shih Tzu, shows up to ask for Snowball’s help on a dangerous mission, he’ll have to summon the courage to become the hero he’s been pretending to be.
Given the storyline above, it’s quite clear that this film contains subversive humour along with heart-warming messages and life lessons. This is probably what I enjoyed most about the film. That, and of course, Snowball’s musical aptitude.
It also does a pretty good job of answering the question: What exactly do our pets get up to when we’re not around?
Another commendable thing about the film is how it effortlessly meshes the different story threads and ensures every character has ample scope.
Harrison Ford makes his animation debut in this film, and he nails it. Each animated pet is wonderfully matched with the actors voicing them.
The pet names are funny and weird but not unusual to any pet owner. The script is laden with a welcome dose of comedy. And it gets a stamp of approval from me. Of course, I’m pretty sure I won’t be alone on this - kids are going to love it.