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Preview: Secret Life of Pets and Pete's Dragon!

October 20, 2016

written by Brian Shesko

Guess what? Student Activities has another Double Feature Movie Night for you! Sometimes these are risky for us because showing two movies doubles the chances that someone is going to complain. But not this time! That’s because this one is in the Vines Center on Saturday, October 29 and will take place on Family Weekend, and that means innocuous entertainment. And as everyone knows, “innocuous entertainment” is a perfect anagram for “A sin enticement? No! Outrun!” which is why we will be showing you:

  • The Secret Life of Petsstarting at 8 PM
  • Pete’s Dragon – starting approx. 9:40 PM

First up is The Secret Life of Pets (released July 8, 2016), which you may be surprised learn finished its theatrical run as the fifth highest grossing, “not based on anything” movie of all time*, earning more than original-idea favorites such as Inside Out and Inception, 6th and 7th on that list respectively, and was getting closer to fifth place, occupied by the unanimously beloved Finding Nemo. Of course, a movie’s worth is not all about gross earnings, but it speaks well of Pets, and the potential of future movies, that it has been so successful without being a reboot or a big-budget blockbuster based on something familiar. But as critic Scott Mendelson suggested**, there’s a bigger question to ask here: why didn’t anyone think of this movie’s concept sooner? The basic idea of the movie is that people have pets and those pets do things, including getting into madcap adventures, while the people aren’t home. The voice acting is quality but not overwhelming in terms of star power. Louis C.K., Kevin Hart, Ellie Kemper, and Eric Stonestreet are all popular to very popular, and they all do a very good job, though the role of Snowball the bunny taps into Kevin Hart’s bombastic tone and so requires a bit more than most of the other characters. Overall, The Secret Life of Pets is straightforwardly fun for all ages, and no one can complain about that.

Pete’s Dragon (released August 12, 2016) will follow shortly after. It is a bit more Neverending Story than it is a remake of Pete’s Dragon, the live-action plus animation, half-musical Disney movie from 1977. This is a good thing because you lose nearly all of the slapstick goofiness and all the song & dance of the 1977 version. Instead, you get an emotionally rich story that still incorporates some very good Disney special effects on a drastically different looking version of the dragon Elliott. Of course, you still get Pete, played terrifically by newcomer Oakes Fegley. The other major characters of note are played by Robert Redford, Bryce Dallas Howard, who you will probably remember as Claire in Jurassic World, and Karl Urban, #2 on the list of all-time greatest portrayals of Dr. “Bones” McCoy from Star Trek. As for the story, we won’t give anything away, but we should warn you that it is likely that some heartstrings may be tugged as you watch this movie, so prepare accordingly.

Just to “cover our bases”, we should mention that both movies are rated PG, cumulatively, for action, peril, brief language, and some rude humor.

This event is free to attend and as usual we will have FREE popcorn and cheap snacks and drinks available. If you have any questions, email us: