Pets United parents guide

Pets United Parent Guide

This is the cinematic equivalent of doggy doo. Do yourself a favor and give it a miss.

Overall D

Netflix: A robot invasion of their city forces Roger (a heroic stray) and Belle (a spoilt cat) to work together both to survive and save their homes.

Release date September 11, 2020

Violence B
Sexual Content A
Profanity A-
Substance Use A

Why is Pets United rated TV-PG? The MPAA rated Pets United TV-PG

Run Time: 89 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Roger (voiced by Patrick Roche) is a stray dog who steals food to survive in Robocity, a seeming utopia where robots tend to humans every need. He has no interest in humans, robots, or, worst of all, cats. But when the mayor of Robocity, Frank (Eddie Marsan) announces that humans are no longer welcome in his city, Roger finds himself teamed up with a group of pampered pets with no choice but to try to stop the robot take over.

My review for this film can be summed up in one word: no. However, I take my job as a critic seriously, so I won’t just leave it at that, but be warned it’s not going to get any more positive from here.

This movie is terrible, and I will now proceed to list some of the reasons why that is the case. Firstly, the animation is atrocious. It’s unevenly done, making me wonder if multiple animation studios worked on it. Many of the animals do not look like the animals they are supposed to be, or even animals at all, including some sort of primate with a human face and arms and vaguely reptilian feet whose species is never clarified. Also, the character’s mouths don’t quite match up to the words, which makes it hard to watch. As far as I can tell, Pets United was originally done in English, so it’s a matter of lazy animating, not dubbing.

Secondly, the writing is horrendous. The plot moves from place to place with no motivation or reason. The characters are all flat stereotypes, the villain has barely any motivation, and there is absolutely no consistent message or theme. There’s a bit of a shoe-horned in message about environmentalism but it’s not very clear and the writers contradict themselves on it multiple times. At the end of the story, the pets all learn the value of nature and freedom, but the zoo animals willingly go back to their cages and talk about how much better it is to be in captivity than in the wild. The city, which we are told ruined the environment around it and has way too much garbage, does not change and continues on as it had been once the adventure is over.

Thirdly, there’s a fair amount of problematic content. All of the “good” animals speak in either American or British accents, whereas the “bad” animals speak with Eastern European accents, which feels like a dangerous stereotype. An animal that is obviously supposed to be a stereotypical Asian “sensei” type character (which in itself is already questionable) is called a “dumpling” by one of the protagonists. One character is obsessed with beauty procedures and constantly talks about nose jobs, butt enhancements, and lip plumping. She also insults other animals asking when the last time they got a wax was or if they’ve ever considered a nose job. I’m not trying to vilify plastic surgery; I just don’t understand why it needs to be discussed at length in a movie aimed at children. There is also a lot of talk about hell and the devil, which seems out of place considering the audience. The level of violence is pretty standard for this genre, as is the language, with the exception of one obvious expletive.

Honestly, I could go on, but in the interest of time I’ll just reiterate: this is easily one of the worst movies I’ve ever watched and I am so glad that my son wasn’t home to see it. Please do yourself a favor and never watch it. Maybe if no one clicks on it Netflix will remove it, and the world will be better for it.

Directed by Reinhard Klooss. Starring Natalie Dormer, Eddie Marsan, and Jeff Burrell. Running time: 89 minutes. Theatrical release September 11, 2020. Updated

Watch the trailer for Pets United

Pets United
Rating & Content Info

Why is Pets United rated TV-PG? Pets United is rated TV-PG by the MPAA

Violence: A dog is shot by a net gun. Robots chase both humans and animals. An animal is seemingly crushed to death by a giant robot. Animals fight robots, including kicking, throwing, hitting, and pushing. A large machine is used to melt down robots. Robots are taken apart and melted.
Sexual Content: None
Profanity: Some insults including “wimp”, “buffoon”, “stupid”, “loser”, and “freak”. One mild expletive.
Alcohol / Drug Use: None

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Pets United Parents' Guide

What kind of stereotyping do you see in this movie? What is the danger of stereotyping other people or groups? Do people get harmed? How can we recognize and avoid stereotypes?

The Conversation: The terrifying power of stereotypes – and how to deal with them

The Guardian: Why stereotypes are bad even when they’re “good”

Hope College: How do we rid ourselves of stereotypes?

 

Loved this movie? Try these books…

Pets come to the rescue in plenty of kids’ books. Dex: The Heart of a Hero by Caralyn and Mark Buehner, stars a tiny dog with big dreams and superhero ambitions. Donna J Davis has written My Dog Is a Superhero about a dog who helps other animals and people. A graphic novel explores animal powers in Sidekicks by Dan Santat. This dramatically illustrated book imagines a world where pets are determined to become sidekicks to their superpower owners. Joanne Mattern has written about real life animals in Superhero Pets: True Tales of Animal Heroes.

Home Video

Related home video titles:

For more films about animal shenanigans, check out The Secret Life of Pets and The Secret Life of Pets 2.

G-Force features top secret guinea pigs who are trained operatives tasked with saving the world. Animals come to the rescue in Cats and Dogs, when some critters save us all from a power hungry Persian cat.