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Latest ‘Secret Life of Pets’ Trailer Feels a Lot Like ‘Toy Story’ But With Animals

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When Illumination Entertainment announced the basic premise for their upcoming The Secret Life of Pets — an animated adventure-comedy about the shenanigans our furry pals get into while we’re away at work for the day — it sure sounded an awful lot like Toy Story. But many industry observers were willing to give Illumination the benefit of the doubt that they could cook up a storyline that would set their film apart from one of the most cherished and popular computer-animated pictures ever made. So it falls to the newly released trailer for The Secret Life of Pets to distinguish itself from Pixar’s flagship property by providing a clearer impression of the film’s fresh storyline.

Alright, so: The Secret Life of Pets revolves around a friendly lead character enjoying a fun-filled relationship with his owner until that idyll is broken by the arrival of a new character that threatens to replace our lead in the owner’s heart. The two feel plenty of animosity toward one another, but must overcome their differences and forge a friendship when an improbable accident jettisons them from the safety of home into the big, scary city.

In other words, Pixar may now begin lawyering up.

Striking similarities to Toy Story notwithstanding, there’s enough to look forward to in the film, due July 8. The folks at Illumination (the studio most recently responsible for Minions, so) are currently praying that audiences haven’t been all tapped out on animal sight gags after the smash hit Zootopia won over critics and viewers alike earlier this year, and there are some solid bits of physical humor in the trailer embedded above, with the cat-apult game as a special highlight. The cringeworthy rabbit-poop joke doesn’t inspire too much confidence, but the positive memories of Despicable Me have not yet been totally eradicated by Minions, so Illumination releases still have some goodwill. At the very least, it’ll provide parents with an hour and a half of air conditioned peace during the days of summer vacation.

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