Though not a great year for major Hollywood films on the whole, with only Creed, The Hateful Eight, Carol, and Mad Max: Fury Road coming out as honest-to-goodness classics, 2015 was a peculiarly strong year for animated features. My preference was for Shaun the Sheep, the latest lovingly simple and very funny wonder from Aardman Animations, but Inside Out, The Peanuts Movie, and, to a lesser extent, Anomalisa were all worthy of the critical hoopla that they garnered; not for nothing, The Good Dinosaur wasn’t half-bad either. The big name in 2016 is Finding Dory, the anticipated follow-up to Pixar’s beloved Finding Nemo, but the latest trailer for The Secret Life of Pets makes an argument for the Illumination Entertainment animation. The new trailer is anchored by Kevin Hart‘s character, Snowball, an adorable bunny who also happens to be the furious leader of some fort of animal resistance. You can check the trailer out right below:
Hart is an ideal candidate for animated features, as the comedies he’s appeared in oftentimes have no idea how to channel his boundless, remarkable comedic energy; I’m looking at you, Ride Along and The Wedding Ringer. He had some riotous bit parts in This is the End, Top Five, and The Five-Year Engagement, but animation allows him to utilize his vocal might into a more imaginative creation, and The Secret Life of Pets seems to be making good use of him. And he’s in good company, with Louis C.K. and Eric Stonestreet playing the other leads, and an extensive supporting vocal cast that includes Albert Brooks, Bobby Moynihan, Lake Bell, Steve Coogan, Ellie Kemper, Jenny Slate, Hannibal Buress, and Dana Carvey, amongst others.
The film, which will be released on July 8th, also has a healthy (enough) production pedigree with Chris Renaud (Despicable Me) directing alongside Yarrow Cheney, who worked as Renaud’s production designer on both Despicable Me movies and The Lorax. Though I wasn’t a big fan of the second Despicable Me, if The Secret Life of Pets has anything like the charm of the first film and The Lorax, we’ll be in business.