The Secret Life of Pets

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The Secret Life of Pets

Postby James » July 7th, 2016, 7:48 pm

Just saw this. Will have a review up soon.

I thought it was odd that Chris Meledandri got a huge production credit at the beginning of the film. Not just "produced by" but "A Chris Meledandri Production" in a huge font size. Lasseter, Katzenberg, and Jobs never got anything like it that I can remember. Guess they're going all in on him to take on the competition.

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Re: The Secret Life of Pets

Postby Dacey » July 7th, 2016, 8:59 pm

Seems Chris Melendandri has always been Illumination's "name" in terms of marketing. He was mentioned by name as far back as the trailers for the original Despicable Me.

But I've quite liked the trailers for this, so will hopefully be able to give it a viewing before long.
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Re: The Secret Life of Pets

Postby Ben » July 8th, 2016, 1:27 am

Some people like to see their name "up in lights"!

Despite how some of us harp on about him, I always admired how Jeffrey Katzenberg - who actually probably deserved it more than most because he founded, owned (for a while) and ran the whole studio - never took an executive producer credit. Seriously, where is his name on any of the DWA films?

While he obviously gets a credit for Pixar titles, I actually believe John Lasseter's prominent EP credits on the Disney films is more to do with a stamp of quality for the audience. It first appeared on Robinsons after we had heard he overhauled a fair portion of the film and, though it probably wasn't warranted on that particular movie, it could be seen as a both the badge of quality and the fact that he had been involved. By now it's a credit he could take or leave, but it remains on all new releases.

As for Melendandri...he's built up Illumination and is just about to take on DWA under Universal. He's not a household name, but it seems Universal want to make him one. This is either a case of an artist feeling he's deserved of some recognition, or a studio eager to immensely flatter someone that they have, and are about to continue to, placed a lot of faith and support in. They want to keep him happy, and giving a nice big credit, whether he wanted it or not (and he could have said no and kept it about the brand, like DWA and Pixar do) is a big showy way of doing it.

Even with JL's EP credits, Disney presents Pixar films, not John Lasseter productions, and Katzenberg was always about the DreamWorks brand, but here I'm guessing either he wanted a bit of recognition or Universal want to position him as that same kind of mark/name that people will eventually associate with a certain kind of film.

Which is what, to be fair, I thought those Illumination and DreamWorks names were supposed to be doing...?

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Re: The Secret Life of Pets

Postby EricJ » July 8th, 2016, 1:57 pm

Ben wrote:As for Melendandri...he's built up Illumination and is just about to take on DWA under Universal. He's not a household name, but it seems Universal want to make him one. This is either a case of an artist feeling he's deserved of some recognition, or a studio eager to immensely flatter someone that they have, and are about to continue to, placed a lot of faith and support in. They want to keep him happy, and giving a nice big credit, whether he wanted it or not (and he could have said no and kept it about the brand, like DWA and Pixar do) is a big showy way of doing it.


Looking at the first Ice Age, Horton, and later Illumination's Despicable/Minions, you can see the bits of old BlueSky that Chris took with him--
Horton also had the sentiment, and had a taste for letting cute unicorn-psycho toddlers run away with the whole movies, while post-Chris BlueSky, with its big name creativity gone, pumped out the Rio movies and turned into a generic by-the-numbers Dreamworks clone.
"The studio that brought you Ice Age and Horton" is now over at Universal.

And think Meledandri wants to sell a little more of the name brand by taking credit where credit is due, rather than watch Fox continue to sell it.

(And btw, at my last two screenings of Dory and BFG, we had to sit through no less than THREE Pets ads/tie-in PSA's counting the trailer, and the only laughs any of them got were the little manic-Minion Illumination studio-logo at the end. Sing did get a few laughs, but you know what was the big elephant-policeman in the "Animal city" room.
Poor Illumination--They can't live without the Minions, and they can't solo-movie with them.)

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Re: The Secret Life of Pets

Postby Dacey » July 8th, 2016, 4:24 pm

And Pets is tracking for an opening of at least $90 million.

Yup. Poor Illumination.
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Re: The Secret Life of Pets

Postby Ben » July 8th, 2016, 8:05 pm

Last time I looked, Blue Sky's big creative Chris, and co-founder - had the second name Wedge.

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Re: The Secret Life of Pets

Postby Bill1978 » July 9th, 2016, 3:42 am

I went and saw The BFG today and out of all the trailers we got, this one drew the biggest laughs. I still maintain that the original teaser had given me high hopes about what we were getting, and then the actual teaser let me down cause it seemed it wasn't really the Toy Story for Pets I was hoping for.

Seeing the trailer on the big screen did allow me to see a truck that was advertising SING!. Which you just know is going to start some crazy Illumination fan to conclude that all their movies are set in the same universe.

And whenever I see the name Chris Melendandri I think of Law and Oder: SVU. Yeah I have a weird brain.

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Re: The Secret Life of Pets

Postby Ben » July 9th, 2016, 4:37 am

Is that like the smelly version of Law and Order? ;)

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Re: The Secret Life of Pets

Postby Bill1978 » July 9th, 2016, 7:14 am

LOL. Ummm I guess so. I really should look over my posts for errors in spelling before pressing that submit button.

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Re: The Secret Life of Pets

Postby Ben » July 9th, 2016, 7:37 am

Don't worry...I always think it should be Law And Order: SUV!

Just to go tangent for a sec: what was BFG like? I admit that it does feel to me like Spielberg's playing catch-up in many respects with this, rather than leading the crowd. I'm much more intrigued and getting slowly excited for Ready Player One.

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Re: The Secret Life of Pets

Postby Bill1978 » July 9th, 2016, 5:44 pm

I adored The BFG. It felt like a throwback to great family films of yesteryear. It is extremely faithful to the source material. Which of course means no major action pieces every 15 minutes which Hollywood movies are about these days. The audience I was with appeared to really enjoy the movie. It is a shame it is being ignored. Is it one of Spielberg's best movies? Not by a long shot but damn if I didn't get swept up in the world created. Roald Dahl would have approved of this translation for sure. And I must admit I was a bt hesitant of the special effects but on the bigscreen I feel they work really really well. My only criticism is that I felt the movie didn't do that great a job of setting up the conflict for the third act to happen. It kinda just comes out of nowhere and feels like it is more to do with the bullying of The BFG than the eating of children.

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Re: The Secret Life of Pets

Postby James » July 11th, 2016, 3:18 pm


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Re: The Secret Life of Pets

Postby Randall » July 11th, 2016, 9:01 pm

I have never had any desire to see this film, and your review clinches it. Everything I have seen about it bores me.

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Re: The Secret Life of Pets

Postby EricJ » July 12th, 2016, 2:44 am

Ben wrote:Just to go tangent for a sec: what was BFG like? I admit that it does feel to me like Spielberg's playing catch-up in many respects with this, rather than leading the crowd. I'm much more intrigued and getting slowly excited for Ready Player One.


It's Spielberg's labor of love to the late Melissa Matheson, which means it's "old-school" Spielberg, even if both were a bit out of their element after the 80's--
And for those who remember the climax of the Dahl book, Spielberg has particular fun with the British keeping-calm-and-carrying-on of the concept...Basically "What if Spielberg was offered one of the early Harry Potter movies, and had fun with it?"
The story's a bit claustrophobic to begin with, with just the two characters, so it may not be 80's Spielberg, but it's not the soulless overproduced "Hook".

In one scene we see a child's drawing that's designed to homage the Quentin Blake book illustrations, and we marvel at how well the CGI turned Blake's BFG into real life.
And by Mark Rylance giving the BFG a Northern-farmer accent, he manages to turn Dahl's self-conscious verbal-nonsense whizpoppery into a completely organic-sounding North-country mangling of the queen's English. (And yes, we actually get to see what a Snozzcumber looks like.)

Yeah. I would definitely recommend seeing BFG instead, while you still can.

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Re: The Secret Life of Pets

Postby Ben » July 12th, 2016, 3:13 am

Well Matheson *was* still alive during production, so it's not like he decided to make the script as a way to honor her, as he did with the AI screenplay for Kubrick.

My personal feeling, from the look and feel of clips and trailers, is that this is his way to deal with missing out on Potter, which you alluded to. Right from the start this felt like a Potter movie and I'm guessing would give a pretty good idea of what that first film, at least, would have been like under his direction. Spielberg does like a crack at something similar to what he wasn't able to do (just look at Bond's descendant Indy) and Potter slipped through his fingers due to his insistence on Haley Joel Osment ("I see muggle people") being Harry, which Rowling was right to nix. Besides, they got the Spielberg feeling by using one of his protégés and landing a John Williams score anyhow.

I will definitely see BFG, though it has never really been one of my favorite Dahls (you're right, just the two characters for long stretches doesn't make the best use of the situation or fantastical nature even if it's sweet) and I even found the animated film tough to sit through. For all the talk of Spielberg directing a *Disney* movie, this has come out under Entertainment One over here, all makin his and the Amblin name more prominent without a mention of the Mouse other than a *very* small inclusion in the tiny copyright holder company names. This'll probably be a Blu-ray pick up for me now anyway, so at least my US copy will have the Disney badge on it.

I'm certainly more interested in seeing BFG than Pets, which didn't really amuse me right from the trailers. In fact, despite their incredible success, I don't think I've actually *liked* any of the Illumination films so far (though I've yet to watch DM2 and Minions).