Film Review: The Secret Life of Pets 2 (2019)

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FILE PHOTO: A Poster of THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2 (2019). ©Universal Studios

This 3D computer animated film is very successful that all pets are attractive and lovely for all ages. The most influential factor for this film is Harrison Ford (1942-) who played a ''Oz''like-MENTOR role in this film which called Rooster, a Welsh Sheepdog. Many countries and regions dubbed original English actors with local voice actors, thus, the English version is highly recommended.


Audience will notice that there are sakura trees in the New York City sequence. It is a visual signature of Japanese landscapes in Spring. It sends audience a signal that The Secret Life of Pets 2 (2019) is not any kind of antithesis to Hayao Miyazaki (1941-) animation films. One the contrary, it is quite harmonious with Miyazaki world and his sprit.


In fact, there is no any barrier between Miyazaki animation fans and Pets fans. Actual protagonists and roles are not humans but all are pets, thus, the story structure is unique and twisted from live action movies. The development of the film story is not concentrated in one character while the main conflict is basically the same. As the result, the pace of the film is pretty slow from beginning to the middle of the entire film. The story is not driven by one protagonist, many characters are in charge of main plots as an ensemble drama. It is also the reason of decentralisation of the story structure.


Story Structure


''EXPOSITION'' ACT1: The protagonist Max a Jack Russell Terrier (Patton Oswalt) and its owner Katie (Ellie Kemper )'s family take a road trip to their relative's farm. Inciting Incident is not this change of location from New York to the farm. It is when Max accidentally breaks cattle grid, and some sheep escapes, then farm's tough sheepdog, Rooster decides to retrieve the missing sheep with Max.


End of the ACT1 is when Max successfully retrieves the missing sheep at the cliff, and gets Rooster's trust. At the end, Rooster presents Max his handkerchiefs as symbol of his trust.


''DEVELOPMENT"ACT2: The first half of ACT2 is composed by a conflict around Busy Bee which is a Max's favourite toy left for his girlfriend Gidget (Jenny Slate), a white Pomeranian. Gidget accidentally loses it in one of apartment rooms where infected by bunch of cats and owned by a cat lady (Meredith Salenger). After Chloe (Lake Bell) a morbidly obese and apathetic grey tabby cat trains Gidget on how to be a cat. As the result, not only Gidget successfully retrieves Busy Bee with Plan B ''red dot'', and hailed by bunch of cats as ''queen of cats.''


Midpoint: Chloe and Snowball (Kevin Hart) a white rabbit and former flushed pet meet Daisy (Tiffany Haddish), a Shih Tzu and decide to rescue white tiger named Hu which tortured by the abusive Russian circus owner Sergei.


The rest of the ACT2 is after Daisy and Snowball free Hu to Pops (Dana Carvey) an elderly Basset Hound's apartment, Hu is kicked out from there, thus they hide him at Max's apartment. At the END of ACT2, Max and Duke's family come back from the trip, the Russian circus owner Sergei (Nick Kroll) sends his black wolves to track Daisy down with her flower clip she dropped, and Sergei captures Hu. This is the most dangerous and intensified moment for the characters.


''CONFRONTATION''ACT3: Sergei escapes in train, and Snowball, Max, hamster Norman (Chris Renaud) a guinea pig and Gidget chase the train. Max and Snowball defeat Sergei's monkey and wolves. They kick Sergei off the train, then Gidget knocks him out with the cat lady's car. Finally they free Daisy and Hu.


The Secret Life of Pets 2 (2019) is a good example of Three Act Structure in ensemble drama. It is not so simple like more individualistic structure however it proved that Three Act Structure actually works and fits ensemble drama. This animation film is good for all ages of audience.

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Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission, provided attribution to the professional film writer Ryota Nakanishi as author and a link to www.ryotanakanishi.com is provided.

This film article is for educational purpose only.







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