My Not So Secret Review of the Secret Life of Pets

by Deb at 12:10 AM • Cat Humor, Jazmine, Sunday Selfie22 Comments

typewriter First off, Dan and I rarely go to the movies. On Oscar night, we could watch the entire show and say to ourselves we didn’t see a single movie nominated for an award. So, when we decided to see the widely publicized Secret Life of Pets, I was excited to say the least. And just so you know, when I go to the movies, I’m the kind of person that doesn’t read reviews, preferring to appreciate the movie on its own merits without prior judgement. Quite frankly, I’m just happy to be out, so I tend to enjoy a movie for the sake of a nice evening with Dan, rather than critiquing and pulling it apart.

That said, much to my regret, because I really didn’t want to feel this way – I mean, come on – a movie starring cute pets – I was completely disappointed. I tried, I really did. I wanted to bond with all the cats, dog, bunnies, birds, fish, and more, but they gave me very little to work with. I wanted nuance. You know, all those quirky habits that our pets have, in my case, cats, that every pet guardian can relate to. Honestly, just the process of being woken up by Peanut at 5:00 in the morning with her paws tapping at my face for a straight half hour, me stumbling to the kitchen after I wake up and stepping on a landmine of plush toys Zee has left on the floor, and trying to feed seven hungry cats who keep jumping up onto the counter while I keep putting them back down, is enough nuance for a full-screen movie.

Simon, of the Simon’s Cat videos, is nuance at its brilliant best. I could watch those simply drawn videos a hundred times over, and they always make laugh. He “gets” cat. Instead, we got a wild goose chase of assorted pets, down a sewer, led by an angry bunny, to avenge all the humans of the world that have done wrong by them. I wouldn’t mind the bunny being angry, but they made him so over the top angry that it was ludicrous. We get it bunny, you’re a tough guy. But honesty, it’s probably just me. I know a lot of people really enjoyed the movie. Some of it might perhaps be me showing my age. I was brought up in a time when cartoon movies were cartoon movies. Some of my classic Disney favorites—The Aristocats and 101 Dalmatians—those movies will forever stay with me. They were amateurish by today’s standards, but to me, they captured every scene perfectly, bringing these classic cartoon characters to life.

While the imagery in Secret Life of Pets was undeniably amazing, it was just too much for me. I don’t need all that fancy technology. All I want is a plot that captures my attention. Sorry to say, Secret Life of Pets did none of that for me. But it did allow me a moment to daydream. I applied a fun photo technique to Jazmine and turned her into a beautiful cartoon. I thought to myself, what would she do if she had a secret life? My guess, although at first glance she’d want to pouch on, kill, and eat all the creatures in our yard—birds, bugs, lizards, bunnies, and squirrels—they would quickly befriend her and then join her in her quest to find the perfect shrimp topped pizza—her favorite thing in the world!

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If your cats had a secret life, what would they do? And for those of you that saw the movie, what did you think? And lastly, what are your favorite animated movies?

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  1. One of my favorite parts of any movie ever is the introduction of the Siamese Cats in Lady and The Tramp. My Mom used to sing the song and I have to admit it’s been stuck in my head for MONTHS at a time – even as an adult. When I was younger though, I’d get really sad and angry at Lady’s mistreatment so my Mom would limit how often I saw the movie. I’ve always been soft when it comes to animals and being treated humanely – no matter whether it’s “real” or not 🙂

    • Deb says:

      I agree mommakat – even in cartoons or other venues, I always want to see animals treated humanely too. And I loved Lady and the Tramp too!

  2. BJ Bangs says:

    I was kind of bummed I hadn’t seen this movie, but after reading your post today, I may be glad I haven’t. While I’m not a dog person, I loved 101 Dalmations. That was one of the first movies I went to as a kid. I’m a big fan of The Incredible Journey and Lady and the Tramp. Also loved That Darn Cat. Lots of great movies with pets that can be enjoyed year after year.

    • Deb says:

      Oh yes! Thank you for jogging my memory BJ – The Incredible Journey was one of my favorite books ever. Very sad in some spots, but such a testament to the loving bond of animal friendship. I preferred the book to the movie, but that’s often the case!

  3. Brian Frum says:

    I kind of had that feeling about the movie and I think the Secret Life of Jazmine is much better!

  4. Marg` says:

    That is too bad you didn’t like the movie. It did look good in the reviews. You all have a great Sunday.

  5. Jo Singer says:

    I haven’t seen the movie. But from your review I doubt if I will run out and get a copy. Cutesy is nice in small amounts- but heck it soon gets tiresome.

    My favorite kitty videos are, of course Simonscat’s. He is totally amazing. He truly “gets” cats . I can watch them over and over also- always something I didn’t catch before- that tickles my fancy.

    As far as the “Secret Life” of one of our kitties, Sir Hubble Pinkerton- he has an interesting fetish – among others- he is totally passionate about chewing and sucking on Aki’s ears. Thankfully Aki doesn’t mind- we are grateful for that because Sir Hubble misses his brother, Dr. Hush Puppy, our angel Oriental Shorthair- who tolerated this fetish for many, many years. I hope Sir Hubble doesn’t mind my public exposure of this rather bizarre behavior.:)

  6. Ellen Pilch says:

    I have been wanting to see that, I will wait for the dvd though. I am interested in the Kevin Spacey one with him as a cat.

  7. I completely agree with you on this movie. I wanted to like it so much! I feel that it was definitely a kids movie and didn’t offer much for adults, which a lot of animated movies do! And now I want to go watch The Aristocats again. 🙂

  8. jmuhj says:

    I avoid pop culture, especially domestic pop culture, like the negative plague it is. Whatever everyone is doing/seeing/being/thinking, I don’t. Fortunately I had loving family members who were also very intelligent; they raised me to think for myself and that informs my entire life. Compassion, kindness, personal responsibility and making informed choices are what matter to me. Most of my favorite entertainment comes from places where the values are about 180 degrees opposite of what they are here: in other words, where compassion, kindness, personal responsibility and making informed choices is/are what matter(s).

  9. Have a wonderful week!

  10. Sorry you didn’t like this movie. The mom hasn’t seen this movie yet. Like you and Dan, she and the dad-guy rarely go out to see movies. She can’t even remember the last time she was in a theater! The mom says she’ll wait for it to come out on DVD or something. We like Simon’s Cat much better too. 🙂

  11. Thank you for this review Deb, to be honest, I had a feeling it was going to fall short. I agree with you about the geniuses that you mentioned, that you could watch a zillion times over. One of my all time favorite animated movies is “Lady And The Tramp”, I just love it!!
    Hmmm…I think, that if Cody had a “secret life” while we were not home, he would be busting into the fridge and every cupboard…..I guess that isn’t very secret! lol
    You made me laugh when you said you don’t read reviews, I do with movies, but I am just like you with books. When I am going to write a review, I never, ever, ever, ever ready anyone else’s review because I don’t want THEM in my head.

  12. The head peep hasn’t seen the movie yet, and she’s glad to get an opinion about it from someone she knows. She and the manpeep rarely make it out to the movies, so this can wait for Netflix!

  13. meowmeowmans says:

    We bet the Secret Life of Jazmine would be a wonderful movie!

    We love the classics like the Aristocats, too. The scene you show above is one of our faves!

  14. Hi. Well my secret life probably isn’t half as bad as the movies, but then the movies tend to only go for loud and outrageous. Me, I’d rather watch Watership Down, which maybe better reflects our lives. Peep on the other paw, really cries at that, so I don’t see it that often. Our fav films have to be the Aristocats and 101 Dalmations. A lovely selfie this week! Purrs ERin

  15. I never go to the movies either…I’d rather curl up with a cat and the dvd! I’ve been looking forward to seeing this and I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy it more. I must admit I’ve collected a few Chloe plush 😉

  16. da tabbies o trout towne says:

    guys….we iz em bear azzed for de food servizz gurl… de last mooovee
    her saw animated ore otherwise….waz in 1999 ~~~~~~~~ tickits was probablee
    40 cents ore sew

    her does knot get out much huh !!!

    we wood like ta say what we due in R sekrit life, but we feer peepulz
    R reedin this….N well, ther goes that plan out de window ~~

    ☺☺☺♥♥♥

  17. We can’t wait to see it for ourselves. It may reach New Zealand eventually!!

  18. I like your secret life, Jazmine and if you need any bit-players, well, I’m available 😀 I don’t know the other movie, but I prefer Cat in Boots, not only for his boots 😉 Pawkisses for a Happy Day 🙂 <3

  19. That’s good to know. Now we think we’ll wait til it hits Netflix too.