Talking dogs and cats have been a staple of animation since the medium’s earliest days, but The Secret Life of Pets trailer actually presents a fairly fresh take on this trope. The talking animals here are ordinary house pets, alone all day while their humans are at work, and we get to see how they pass the time.
As you’d expect from the same studio that created the Minions of Despicable Me, the character designs on display here are adorable and feel carefully designed to move plush animals at an alarming degree. As you’d expect from any modern animated movie, the voice cast is full of recognizable names, including Louis C.K., Kevin Hart, Ellie Kemper, Lake Bell, Jenny Slate, Bobby Moynihan, Hannibal Buress and Albert Brooks. And as you’d expect from any first teaser, this preview is light on plot, but heavy on personality. The selling point here isn’t whatever the movie actually turns out to be about, but rather the cute animals doing silly things, like eating out of the fridge and listening to loud music and so on.
The final movie will have an actual plot, but we’d be totally content with this thing just being a series of animated vignettes. A drawl, slice of life comedy about the pets in one apartment building! That sounds like the exact sort of thing that would appeal to a culture that have made cat and dog YouTube videos into their own genre of entertainment. The fact that the movie is apparently about two dogs who battle a army of abandoned animals led by an evil bunny tells us we shouldn’t get our hopes up.
The Secret Life of Pets opens on July 8, 2016.