It happens so often. As you pull the front door to, there is a moment when you wonder just what goes on when you’re not there. What do the furry members of the household get up to.
I admit it: I have actually waved goodbye to our three cats on occasion by telling the oldest of the trio, Boudicca, not to let the younger ones have a party and wreck the place.
And I’m sure that I’m not unique – though I’m also prepared to bet that at least some of it can be blamed on Animal Magic – the children’s TV programme that ran from the 1960s to the ’80s, which saw Johnny Morris voicing assorted animals and birds.
Indeed, The Other Half and I have, on more than one occasion, ‘voiced’ animals and birds we’re watching at the time (we do a great routine for seagulls).
As such, The Secret Life of Pets was always going to be our list of films to see.
We’ve known about it since last July, when, on our return to cinema viewing after 16 years away, a trailer preceded Minions, last summer’s release from Illumination. The chance to catch a preview was too good to miss.
As a bonus, Illumination’s latest release is preceded by Mower Minion, a new, four-minute short featuring the banana-loving yellow creators of chaos.
The plot of our main feature is straightforward enough: in a bustling New York, the life of Max – a little terrier – is disrupted, when his owner brings home a new dog, the huge, shaggy Duke.
When they don’t get on, that leads to the pair getting lost in the streets of the city, without their collars – chased by wardens as strays, before being rescued by Flushed Pets, a revolutionary group of formerly domesticated animals led by Snowball, a tiny, cute but psychotic bunny.
But when they are revealed to Snowball and his crew as “leash lovers,” the situation looks desperate.
Can they escape? Can they get home? Can they get on? Will their friends be able to help?
With obvious similarities to Toy Story, this is a feel-good, family film.
At 90 minutes it speeds along at a merry pace, with new characters introduced throughout.
There are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments and more than a few references for adults to knowingly spot.
This may not be complex stuff, but it is a real pleasure – and is quite gorgeous to look at.
And the makers have also spent time genuinely watching animals to know how they move and react in certain situations – there will be much that you’ll recognise.
So, if you want something to make you laugh uproariously and forget the state of the world today, The Secret Life of Pets is a great option.
Oh – and the makers even manage to get a Minions reference into the film too.
It opens properly this Friday across the UK.