What do our pets do alone in our homes all day? That is the question The Secret Life of Pets sets out to answer. Be prepared to be surprised!
Max has a dream life. Katie has rescued him from an animal shelter and now he lives with her in a New York apartment. As soon as Katie and all the other humans leave in the morning, the building’s animal inhabitants meet up and enjoy a whole range of entertainments their owners would never suspect.
But Max’s life changes when Katie brings home an enormous new rescue dog, Duke. Duke and Max get locked out of the apartment and get in trouble with the council pest-control department and a gang of abandoned pets led by a ferocious rabbit called Snowball. Luckily Max’s friends and neighbours have launched a search party to get him back to the apartment before Katie gets home.
The animators on the film originally pictured their own pets when they were home alone, and it contains lots of witty visual and linguistic vignettes, whether it’s the daschund that uses a cake mixer to give him a massage, the carefully coiffed poodle that headbangs to heavy metal, or the crazy rabbit gangleader that “drives like an animal”.
Anyone who has ever watched a cat video on YouTube (go on, admit it!) won’t be able to resist this film, which has that essential feature of children’s entertainment: it includes jokes that go way over kids’ heads but make their adult companions laugh helplessly.
And since animals are always a great subject to get pupils talking, have a look at our suggestions below for working with the film trailer in class.
Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures
> Secret Life of Pets: Teaching with Trailers