Should children see The Secret Life of Pets 2 Movie Review | Safe for Kids?, an honest parent review Illumination’s newest animated film. No spoilers! #TheSecretLifeofPets2 May contain commissioned links.
The Secret Life of Pets 2 Movie Review | Safe for Kids?
A dog in a cone of shame? A bunny in a super hero costume? Have the pets gone off the deep end? Nope, it’s The Secret Life of Pets 2. I was highly skeptical when Illumination announced a sequel because spoiler…I wasn’t a fan of the original. With the best one liners and plot points given out in the trailers, there wasn’t much left for me as a parent to enjoy. So is this sequel going to the dogs? In this The Secret Life of Pets 2 Movie Review | Safe for Kids?, I’m talking visuals, the story, a full PG rating breakdown, and sharing whether kids should see this film. A no spoiler parent review – this is the post you want to read before hopping into another random sausage factory song sequence.
From the details on Max’s nose to the colorful scene of New York City, Illumination has really outdone themselves again in the cartoon visuals department. Truly inspiring from just the film tech side, I really enjoyed how much attention went into the little things. That being said, I wouldn’t jump to see this one in 3D (unless you truly love love visual arts and computer animation). But the graphics, well done.
The problem with the original film was that all of the best plot points were given away in the trailers. By the time that I actually got to sit down and enjoy the film, there wasn’t a lot of highlights left to savor. What starts as a fun “secret life look” at pets living in New York City, the story instantly plummets soon after into a world full of questions marks with a big tangent into a sausage factory and the climax of fighting sewer animals in an underground gang (to be honest, not sure which one was more disturbing). I left the first film thoroughly confused and underwhelmed.
Thankfully, Illumination really wised up to the importance of a good story to a movie, and not just a bunch of pet cliches and jokes thrown together. Instead of a bunch of tangents, the story really wove together much better, and this time there were plot points left to enjoy. I wasn’t overly sold on the new characters. Though Harrison Ford as a dog? Hilarious. As a parent of small kids who has to also sit in the theater with them, it was nice to actually leave feeling like I saw a film and not a replay of the trailers.
That PG Rating
Is The Secret Life of Pets 2 ok for children to see? After the original film and that ode to sausage scene – I would only expect some more crude humor to be intertwined. But does Illumination take it a little too far for young audiences? With a PG rating for “action and rude humor,” you know that these ratings have a huge gray area when it comes to kids (Christopher Robin PG or Incredibles 2 PG?). And after a roller coaster of emotions during the first movie, I was having some doubts as to where the script could go. But parents, here’s the full breakdown on whether this movie is safe for kids. And no, this one is NOT for all children.
Violence. Well, it’s no fight scene with a bunch of underground angry animals, but it’s about the same level. The Secret Life of Pets 2 is about even with the original as far as cartoon violence goes. There are a few suspenseful sequences for younger audiences (my 6-year old was jumping into my lap for one) as the action includes a few scary chase scenes, animals with creepy eyes, animal abuse, animals fighting animals (in WWE style), weapons, and some “unsafe” driving involving humans (which may need some explanation to kids as well). I would compare the cartoon violence to be about the same as that with the Despicable Me series.
Adult Themes. Crude humor category – insert here. As expected, a lot of pet humor was used in this film and quite frankly a lot of pet potty humor. So imagine just about every combo of pee and poop without using language – it’s all here. And when you have a 10-year old boy, basically every joke is hilarious. So if you’re not big on potty humor, this isn’t the movie for your kids.
There also seems to be writers who are anti-cats. A particular cat nip scene made me uncomfortable, not just for cat lovers but also for the depiction of “drug induced” stereotyping.
Language. Thankfully, no swear words are used in this film. I highly appreciate that. Though I will say that I was a little perturbed on the use of the word “idiot” in the film in a derogatory manner. It really didn’t even need to be in the film. And again, lots of pee and poop jokes. ***Updated: With many folks worried about the word “pissed” in movie, I’m also adding this in (though according to the MPAA, this word is NOT considered a swear word).
The Secret Life of Pets 2 > The Secret Life of Pets. Shockingly, it is possible for an animated sequel to be better than the original. At only 86 minutes, I really appreciated Illumination not dragging out this movie because it was a sequel. They really could have gone on and on with the story tangents and pet humor. We actually left all surprised at how much was compacted into the film without a million bathroom breaks, a good option for wiggly worm kids.
Deeper than just potty humor and pets talking like humans while acting like pets, this movie is about the loyalty of pets to humans and how important they are to our generation. But just like people, these pets are overcoming fears, insecurities, mental health issues, diversity, acceptance, and a quest to find love and happiness. Definitely all issues that I want my kids to see, and appreciate. That being said, the balance of potty humor and a few scary sequences make me hesitant to say ALL kids. Kids under 7 should really have this screened by adults first.
THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2 – In Theaters June 7
Are you taking your kids to see The Secret Life of Pets 2? Do you think this new Illumination film is safe for kids?
All photos courtesy of Illumination Entertainment. I was invited to attend a press screening in exchange for this The Secret Life of Pets 2 Movie Review | Safe for Kids? post. Be sure to follow Raising Whasians via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube for more movie updates, celebrity interviews, entertainment and behind-the-scenes info!
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