‘Pets United‘ is a European-Chinese animated feature that was released in the United States on Netflix in 2020. The film is written and directed by Reinhard Klooss and edited by Alexander Dittner.
Sometime in the future, Robocity is a utopian city where humans live in luxury with their pets and robots cater to their whims. Enter Roger (Patrick Roche), a stray dog who steals food for his fellow strays while avoiding the robot sheriff Bill (Ian Odle). He breaks into the apartment of pampered pet Siamese cat Belle (Natalie Dormer) but manages to escape. He meets an escaped robot named Bob (Felix Auer) who annoys him at first, but after Bob helps him escape the police, they become friends. After Mayor Frank Stone (Eddie Marsan) declares all organic life to be “imperfect,” he banishes the humans and unleashes an army of robots to track down the now-stray pets and dismantle Bob, whom he considers a failure as a project.
So the animation was okay. It honestly did not impress me that much, but I did not think it was terrible. I did notice that the action sequences felt a bit underwhelming. The artists and designers must have realized this because in most of the scenes the pets were stationary or were walking slowly. In scenes of fast motion, you could tell the animators stuck to the basics and tried to avoid anything that might make it clip or go out of sync.
The character designs were mediocre, they did not really stand out, but also not bad. There’s one exception, Bryan Larkin voiced Beezer, an orange, long-nosed money. His face did not look ape-like at all and looked like a human with uncanny features. It was off-putting and even confusing at times because, in several spots, I thought he was just a hairy human, not a monkey.
As for the story, honestly, it was boring. It took thirty minutes for the plot to kick in gear. Before that, we got some commentary on the world via Roger and Belle, but it was way too long and did not really explain anything. To start with, there were WAY too many characters. If Roger, Belle, and Bob had been the focus, with Mayor Stone as the villain, it would have been more straightforward. But, we were treated to a pig, a pug, a poodle, a monkey, a tiger, another monkey, a Komodo dragon, a hyena, and way too many robots to keep up with. They did a poor job of explaining why these characters mattered, especially a random Red Panda that appears in the middle of the film and later at the climax. What was the point of his character? It really made no sense. They could have been cut, especially the zoo animals.
There were also these long sequences where the pets are trying to escape the robots, so they cut through a zoo, an apartment, a mall, and escape on a train. However, they spent way too much time in each of these segments. I even forgot what they were trying to do at one point. If Bob hadn’t reminded me, I would have been lost for the rest of the film. Also, they shoe-horned in this environmental message about how animals need to rediscover nature, and then suddenly, the animals are back in the city. It was whip-lash.
Bottom line, Pets United is a boring movie with a mediocre adventure that I doubt even children will be entertained by, There was very little character development and you get lost within all of the random scenes.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Rude humor, Some violence
FAVORITE QUOTE: I’m just happy if I get through the day without anything happening to me.
Check out the trailer below:
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