Australian Council on Children and the Media

The Secret Life of Pets 2

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Short takes

Ok for most ages, PG to 7 (mild themes and animated violence)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for The Secret Life of Pets 2
  • a review of The Secret Life of Pets 2 completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 23 June 2019.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Parental guidance recommended due to mild themes and mild animated violence
Children aged 5–8 Ok for this age group but parental guidance recommended for younger children
Children aged 8–13 Ok for this age group
Children over the age of 13 Ok for this age group but may lack interest

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: The Secret Life of Pets 2
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild Themes and Animated Violence
Length 86 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Following the events of The Secret Life of Pets 1, Max the dog (voiced by Patton Oswalt) faces big changes in his life when his owner gets married, brings a new dog Duke (voiced by Eric Stonestreet) into their home, and eventually a baby, Liam (voiced by Henry Lynch).  After the family gets settled into the rhythm of their new life, they take a holiday trip to the countryside.  As the neurotic Max fends off perceived farmyard threats to protect Liam, he must contend with the gruff farm dog Rooster (voiced by Harrison Ford), who challenges him to face his fears.  Meanwhile, the other pets, Gidget (voiced by Jenny Slate), Daisy (voiced by Tiffany Haddish), Chloe (voiced by Lake Bell), Norman (voiced by Chris Renaud), Mel (voiced by Bobby Moynihan), Buddy (voiced by Hannibal Buress) and Captain Snowball (voiced by Kevin Hart) set off on an adventure of their own – Springing free a captive tiger cub who has been forced to perform by the evil Sergei the Circus Master (voiced by Nick Kroll). 

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Courage; Adventure; Change

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • Children and pets watch cartoons of superheros beating up villains – This is not graphic
  • Sergei the Circus Master threatens animals with whips, a gun, and a taser – He shoots a tiger cub with a sleeping dart
  • Animals attack each other – This is not graphic, but may frighten very young children
  • Sergei the Circus Master is hit by a car twice – This is comedic rather than graphic

 

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Wolves and a fox stalk and try to attack the protagonist animals on a number of occasions – These animals make frightening snarling noises and snap at the other animals
  • A turkey screeches loudly at a dog and starts chasing him around a farm – This may scare children in this age group

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • Animals are kidnapped by the evil Sergei the Circus Master – This may distress younger children
  • Animals attack each other, but are rarely hurt

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Nothing of concern.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern. 

Product placement

None noted. 

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Gidget the dog is in love with Max the dog, and fantasizes about kissing him
  • Captain Snowball the rabbit mentions how shredded his glutes are

Nudity and sexual activity

Nothing of concern

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Chloe the cat behaves like she is stoned, after consuming catnip - “White Rabbit” is playing in the background (a song about drugs)

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Jerk
  • Stupid
  • Heck
  • Idiot

In a nutshell

The Secret Life of Pets 2 is a good-natured children’s comedy sequel to The Secret Life of Pets 1, that in addition to being beautifully animated, keeps the jokes rolling throughout the film. Children under 10 are likely to enjoy this movie most, but parental guidance is recommended for children under 7 due to mild themes and mild animated violence. 

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Facing your fears to be your own superhero
  • Helping out those who need it, even if it is scary to do so

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as.

  • Not touching or petting tigers – They are depicted as tame and good-natured in the film, and easily touched by humans

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