Pets United

Movie review by
Jennifer Green, Common Sense Media
Pets United Movie Poster Image
Animated pet tale falls flat; violence, mild language.
  • G
  • 2020
  • 89 minutes

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

age 5+
Based on 11 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about treating others kindly, even if those others come from different walks of life or appear flawed in some way. Urban areas must coexist with nature. Question could arise about whether robots/artificial intelligence have potential to outsmart and/or turn against humans.

Positive Messages

General lessons about accepting human flaws, respecting nature, treating others with dignity, consideration, loyalty. Attempts to drive home bigger messages come late in the film and lack impact.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Animals learn to respect one another's differences, show courage in face of danger. Roger, who's a loner, becomes attached to his new robot pet, Bob, who shows him unfailing loyalty. Roger's owner was taken prisoner by a robot he created that turned evil. Robot forces are easily manipulated. European accents are exaggerated, and characters' nationalities could lend themselves to stereotypes.

Violence & Scariness

Frequent animated action violence, including chases, fights, predatory animals, robot heads detaching, car and train crashes, throwing knives, a machine that crushes scrap metal (including, almost, a robot with human feelings and some pets), a giant robotic spider that crushes small animals with its claws, robot arms that can vacuum animals up or ensnare them with nets, a house that crumbles. The pets all survive unharmed, including one who appeared to have been crushed. Evil mastermind robot is destroyed at the end in a moment that feels a bit vengeful.

Sexy Stuff

Flirting.

Language

"Devil." "Hell." "Poo." "Fart." Taunts including "loser," "stupid," "freak," "scum," "wimp," "bootlicker," "buffoon," and similar.

Consumerism

The pets are impressed with a shopping mall where they take refuge. One animal is obsessed with body treatments apparently offered at the posh Pamper Pets spa, including lip enhancements, eyelash extensions, nose jobs, waxing, massage, and more.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

At a party, robots serve something from a cocktail shaker.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Pets United is an animated movie about animals who find themselves up against robot police. Expect nonstop animated action, including chases, fights, predatory animals and robots, car/train crashes, flying knives, a menacing machine that crushes scrap metal (including, almost, a robot with human feelings and some pets), and the ultimate -- and somewhat vengeful -- destruction of an evil mastermind robot. Happily (possible spoiler alert?), the pets survive unharmed, including one who appeared to have been crushed at the start of the film, thanks to their courage and loyalty. The pets all have their own backstories and quirks, as well as a variety of European accents that could be seen as stereotypical (menacing zoo animals are Slavic, a braggy poodle is Italian, a spry fox is Irish, a snooty feline is British, etc). One animal is obsessed with body treatments like lip enhancements, eyelash extensions, nose jobs, waxing, massage, and more. Language is mostly taunts and insults ("loser," "stupid," "freak," "scum," "wimp," "bootlicker," "buffoon," etc.), and there are references to the "devil," "hell," "poo," and "fart." The movie tries to convey messages about respecting nature and the dangers of artificial intelligence, but it buries them too late in the film for them to have much impact on younger viewers.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMoviemama80 September 21, 2020

Animal Genitals & Sadness

Immediate take-away list:
Sadness
Fear
Animal Genitals
Robots
Suicide

The unappealing words that stick in my mind:
Hell
Stupid
Spawn of Satan

The last 10 min... Continue reading
Parent of a 9-year-old Written byazkeel September 20, 2020

It's like watching Scary Movie for kids.

Lets be honest. This is a low budget, bad animation with no soryline. It was so boring that my 2 girls kept wandering in and out of the room. Half way through t... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byPortPancake September 12, 2020

Seriously. Trash Movie.

Oh my goodness, terrible film. Don’t bother watching. Save an hour and a half of your time.
Teen, 15 years old Written bybruhman3454 September 17, 2020

Absolute garbage movie.

Don't even bother lol, The movie has blatant stereotyping, Blatant tropes, very weird physics, and a basic, slap-to-the-face theme.
Please don't waste... Continue reading

What's the story?

Stray dog Roger (voiced by Patrick Roche) is wanted for thievery by the robot police of Robo City in PETS UNITED. He's used to living on the streets and doing things his own way, so he's unsure about taking on the robot pet, Bob (Felix Auer), who escaped the scrap metal pile and has attached himself to Roger. But Bob proves to be very useful at helping Roger escape the police, especially when the evil city mayor (Eddie Marsan) expels all humans and non-robots from Robo City and a handful of pets find themselves left behind. They include pampered cat Belle (Natalie Dormer), narcissistic poodle Ronaldo (Jeff Burrell), flirty pig Sophie (Teresa Gallagher), and fearful pug Walter (Harvey Friedman). When Bob sacrifices himself to the robot police to save his new friends, the pets put their own lives in danger to get him back.

Is it any good?

Pets United feels entirely familiar and yet strangely foreign at the same time; something is just a little off. A motley crew of animals sets out to save the day and avoid capture by stray-snatchers, much like in The Secret Life of Pets. A wise, bearded animal who looks a lot like Kung Fu Panda's Master Shifu offers guidance. A snooty and pampered female pet falls for a big-hearted scamp of a stray, like in The Lady and the Tramp. And so on. You'd think you could guess what was going to happen based on the references, but Pets United is not so predictable. In a children's film, that's not always a good thing.

The ending tosses out several competing morals related to respecting nature and fearing robots, but it's too little, too late after an hour and a half of action for characters that we mostly don't care much about. The European clichés could be off-putting, an unexpected rap song from zoo animals seems out of place, and one animal's obsession with beauty enhancements feels inappropriate for younger viewers. The ending also has a moment of vengeance that seems unsuitable. On the plus side, the animation is attractive, some of the characters have endearing foibles, and there are a few heartening or fun moments.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about other films that feature pets uniting to save the day, like Pets United. Did any of the animal characters remind you of others from animated films you've watched?

  • The evil robot posing as the city mayor can't stand imperfections or messy human emotions. What messages do you think the filmmakers were trying to get across about artificial intelligence or robots with this character?

  • What did you think of Robo City? What caught your attention in the animation?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love animals

Themes & Topics

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