dvd / blu-ray Review

The Secret Life Of Pets (DVD) : Review


The Secret Life Of Pets, by Illumination Entertainment, giving us a peak into the quiet life of terrier Max (Louis C. K.) that is upended when his owner takes in Duke (Eric Stonestreet), a stray whom Max instantly dislikes.

The film is fun, amusing and sure to be a hit with both young and old. With that in mind, rewatch value is rather high on this one. The kids are bound to beg for multiple viewings, and thankfully the film will hold up to those, even for most adults.

Read the full SAMDB review of The Secret Life Of Pets.


Technically, the video and audio of the main feature are great. The disc holds a large number of bonus features, but not all are actually worth subsequent watching, or even worth an initial viewing. Thankfully these are offset by the decent, engaging bonus videos.

Navigation is rather poor, with the creators of the disc deciding it would be better to have audiences guess at the icons on the main menu, and then automatically playing options if a viewer takes too long to select anything. This is the biggest let down of the entire disc.

The Secret Life of Pets is available now, to purchase on disc, in South Africa.


Video is encoded at a high average bitrate. There are no visible artefacts on screen. Colours are vibrant with no bleed. In darker scenes detail is maintained, with deep blacks.

Viewers with the relevant hardware or software could scale up to a larger or higher resolution screen, should they so wish.


Audio is encoded at a high average bitrate, and presented in a 5.1 Dolby mix. Dialogue is clear via the centre speaker, with on-screen action and music sent to the front. The film is very busy at times, with much use of the surround channels to further enhance the on-screen action, and draw the viewer in to the story.


Main navigation is presented on a motion menu, with some scenes from the main feature as background, and accompanying music.

The icons for the main navigation are a puzzle unto themselves though. It’s a guessing game as to what each might actually represent, until you click on it, and find out. The first in the set is to play the main feature, which would be a good guess. Then comes the chapter sub-menu, where viewers are presented with four small colour thumbnail images per sub-menu, leaving a lot of guessing as to exactly where one would actually be navigating to in the story. Next up is a sort of asterisk icon for the bonus features, leading to a static menu and text links. Next on the main page comes the audio selection menu, and then lastly the subtitles.

If one does not make a selection from the main menu, then the disc will automatically start the main feature. On sub-menus if one does not make a selection, then the disc will soon return to the main menu. Something that could actually prove slightly frustrating, if one is still busy getting ready to snack or settle comfortably.

So, on the navigation side of things, the disc is not quite up to the standard one would hope. None of the menus can be paused either.

Bonus Features

Mini-movies – NTV: Norman Television, a short and funny look at Norman’s adventures in the ventilation ducts, running from apartment to apartment, watching the daily lives of all the residents..

Weenie, a short, somewhat musical, featurette starring the Weenie sausage, about being one’s self and living to our potential, with an underlying theme of fitting in.

Mower Minions, sees the little yellow creatures starting a mowing business, hoping to earn money to buy a home appliance. Obviously much hilarity ensues as they do things about as wrong as one could ever imagine, and then some. Funny, as usual, having the Minions in small doses.

The Making Of The Mini-movies, gives an insight into how Illumination Entertainment gets inspiration for their ideas, and what led to the creation of the mini-movies on the disc. This is one of the features providing insight that would actually appeal to both the average viewer and filmmakers alike.

The Humans That Brought You Pets – A collection of videos that introduce Chris Meledandri, Janet Healy, Chris Renaud, Yarrow Cheney and Brian Lynch. There is an option to play all on a playlist, or access each individually. Bringing something more personal from the team behind the film, this might not appeal too much to the younger viewers, but is rather something an older audience or filmmaker might seek. Perhaps not too much rewatch value here, but interesting to view.

Animals Can Talk: Meet The Actors – A short introduction to those behind the voices of the creatures on-screen. Seeing the actors in person does show how they were most likely cast, matching the personalities of their characters. Some insight from each into their methodology and character. Another that should appeal to audiences interesting in acting or filmmaking.

All About The Pets – Eric and Kevin are joined by an animal handler, introducing them to various animals in-turn, but as the clip progresses, it becomes more and more hilarious as there is distinct favouritism in choosing which animal should go to which actor. This one is bound to bring a good few laughs.

Hairstylist To The Dogs – Hosted by Eric Stonestreet (Duke), with pet groomer to the stars, Jess. The two are shown each grooming a pooch, which ends with a slightly tangled mess for Eric. While he does reference his character Duke, there is not too much in the video that refers back to the man feature. One can only guess something like this was used as inspiration for some of Dukes fur habits.

The Best Of Snowball – A video clip, of just over a minute, with a super-cut of Snowballs one-liners. Not too much amusement included, but just a bunch fast cuts and lines. Probably worth only a single watch.

“Lovely Day” Lyric Video – The music video of Lovely Day, to either watch apart from the film, or sing along and read the lyrics. The feature does include the entire song.

Hot Dog Sing-along – Watch one of the musical numbers from the feature again, with lyrics. The song itself is rather catchy, so is likely to keep the younger viewers amused time and again. The feature itself is rather short though.

Brian The Minion On Pets – Three short clips, with Minion silhouettes, with the crazy yellow creatures laughing or commenting on a few scenes in the film.

GoPro: The Secret Life Of Pets – A collection of clips, filmed on GoPros attached to humans, of what seems to be footage that inspired some shots or sequences in the film. Worth a quick look, but not much rewatch value, as it does seem a little like an advert or a sponsorship message.

Sing Trailer – Access to watch the Sing trailer again, without having to restart the entire disc.

There are also trailers for Sing and The Land Before Time: Journey of the Brave that play automatically at the beginning of the disc. These can be both fast-forwarded or skipped. The Sing trailer is also accessible from the bonus features menu, but The Land Before Time is not.

By Andrew Germishuys

Founder of SAMDB, Andrew has worked full time in the film industry since the early 2000's. He has trained as an actor, completing his LAMDA Gold Medal, and attending many courses in Cape Town acting studios, with masterclasses with some of the international industries top directors, producers and filmmakers.

Working as an actor and armourer in the film and television industry have given Andrew a great balance of skills across the board when it comes to the entertainment industry.

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