Ralph Potts reviews the Ultra HD Blu-ray release of The Secret Life of Pets 2, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, which tells the continuing the story of Max and his pet friends, as it follows their secret lives after their owners leave them for work or school each day.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year: Universal - 2019
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 86 minutes
Genre: Family

Disc Format: BD-100
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1, Spanish/French Dolby Digital Plus 7.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Patton Oswalt, Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish, Nick Kroll, Harrison Ford, Ellie Kemper, Lake Bell, Dana Carvey, Hannibal Buress, Jenny Slate, Bobby Moynihan
Directed by: Chris Renaud
Music by: Alexandre Desplat
Written by: Brian Lynch
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: August 27, 2019
"They Still Have Their Secrets"

“The Secret Life of Pets 2 is the highly anticipated follow up to the hit animated film led by a star-studded comedic cast reunites all of our favorite Pets and their growing families in a new chapter that explores the deep bond between them and the humans that love them.” – Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

My Take:

The Secret Life of Pets 2 explores the emotional lives of our pets, the deep bond between them, the families that love them and answers the question: What are your pets really doing when you’re not at home? Terrier Max (Patton Oswalt) is coping with major life changes after Katie’s marriage and the arrival of a toddler, Liam. Meanwhile, Gidget (Jenny Slate) tries to rescue Max’s favorite toy from a cat-packed apartment with a little help from her feline friend, Chloe (Lake Bell), who has discovered the joys of catnip. And Snowball (Kevin Hart) believes, despite the other pets’ teasing, that he’s a superhero after his owner starts dressing him in superhero pajamas. But when Daisy (Tiffany Haddish), a fearless Shih Tzu, shows up to ask for Snowball’s help on a dangerous mission, he’ll have to summon the courage to become the hero he’s been pretending to be.

I am a fan of the first film but, the trailer for The Secret Life of Pets 2 didn’t look as though it brought anything new to the table so, I really wasn’t all that interested in seeing it. Despite that, when I saw the press announcement for its home video release my curiosity got the better of me and I opted to review it. I am glad that I did. Like its predecessor The Secret Life of Pets 2 is a wonderfully spun, animated family adventure that teems with clever expression, light, rib tickling social commentary and a heartwarming message that hits home with pitch perfect subtly.

I like the infusion of family pet-based humor/banter set to the theme of two separate stories, one is a sort of buddy road trip and the others are a pair of adventures, one of which eventually brings all of the characters together as a team. Yes, it can be a bit trite, and perhaps corny, but doesn't attempt to be anything more than an enjoyable family romp. I found its slapstick, topical humor and endearing sentiment to be delightful. I watched The Secret Life of Pets 2 with my wife, and we both enjoyed it every bit as much as the first film.

Replay Value:
Parental Guide: 

The rating is for action and some rude humor.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

UHD Presentation(HDR-10): 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
  • HDR: Dark Highlights: 
  • HDR: Bright Highlights: 
  • HDR: Expanded Color: 
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 
UHD Presentation (Dolby Vision): 96
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
  • HDR: Dark Highlights: 
  • HDR: Bright Highlights: 
  • HDR: Expanded Color: 
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 
Dolby Atmos Rating: 88
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
  • Level of immersion: 
  • Soundstage integration: 
  • Audio object placement: 
  • Effectiveness of Atmos platform: 
  • Entertainment factor: 
The Secret Life of Pets 2 comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

Having just viewed The Secret Life of Pets 2 on Blu-ray its video presentation was still fresh in my mind. Digital animation tends to look quite good in high definition so I couldn't help but expect a positive viewing experience of this film in Ultra HD. The Secret Life of Pets 2 in Ultra HD is rendered from a 2K DI and up-converted to 4K.

In terms of resolution the differences are apparent as there is a noticeably finer texture in the minutia, especially in the characteristics/physical makeup of the characters. This also applied to backgrounds which emphasized depth of field. The scenes that take place in the open spaces of the city and farm country look nearly 3D at times. The image has lots of pop as the expanded color gamut and emboldened dynamic range draw out the broad chromatic palate, and use of contrast. Whites are gradational and bright and the monochromatic grays, blues and black featured in the sequences that take place in dimly lit environs, look terrific, appearing multi-staged and dimensional.

The application of HDR added a complimentary and defining element that proved eye-catching. As good as The Secret Life of Pets 2 looks in 1080p, the Ultra HD rendering takes it up a notch, making for a visually engaging and pleasing video presentation.

Dolby Vision vs HDR-10:

I utilize the TCL 55P607 UHD Dolby Vision HDR flat panel in my review system to enable me to compare the visual quality of titles that contained the Dolby Vision metadata versus its HDR-10 counterpart on the same disc. All titles are first watched via my JVC front projector. I then select specific scenes which are watched on the TCL, first via HDR-10 then via Dolby Vision. The TCL isn’t among the top tier flat panels with DV, however it came recommended by AVS Senior Editor Mark Henninger, and calibrates/performs extremely well for a set at its price point.

* The cumulative A/V score will still be based upon the HDR-10 rating, with the DV rating serving as informational only for now.*

Comparing the DV and HDR-10 presentations for The Secret Life of Pets 2, I found the HDR to be close, but felt that the DV rendering edged out the HDR10. Much of this came when comparing the same scenes, and finding that the rendering of color was not only slightly deeper, but seemingly more delineated. This film uses a broad chromatic palette and I felt that it shone brighter via Dolby Vision. Aside from that I found both renderings to be essentially identical.

Dolby Atmos/7.1:

In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be of the moderately active variety that makes steady use of the platform. Its use of audio objects placed above is a mix of atmospherics, music and discrete sound effects. This is done very well and creates a tangible level of immersion that coincides with the onscreen events nicely. There is some excellent use of the overhead channels during the scene where the entire gang is attempting to rescue Daisy and Hu from the moving train. While this isn’t what I would regard as an aggressive Atmos mix I enjoyed the balance of atmosphere combined with discrete object placement. I think that it made for an entertaining listening experience.

The 7.1 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack makes excellent use of the entire surround platform and offers detail rich sonic clarity, crystalline dialog and plenty of room filling bass. This mix doesn’t bombard you with constantly aggressive surround sound. It applies it when appropriate and combines discretely placed directional cues with rear channel ambience that fills the listening area nicely. The LFE channel is actively engaged throughout and offers bass response that is punchy and clean. This is a well-rounded overall presentation that I thought complimented the source material.

For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Bonus Features:
  • Disc 1: The Secret Life of Pets 2 Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: The Secret Life of Pets 2 Blu-ray
    o Super Gidget – When Max is kidnapped by an army of squirrels, Super Gidget is the only one who can save him. It turns out that Max’s captor is a flea with the power of mind control. Gidget must use her pluckiness, strength and smarts to save her one true love…until it turns out it was all just a dream.
    • The Making of the Mini Movies – Every Illumination film is accompanied by mini movies that are a production all their own. Each film’s directing partners will explore how the mini movies were made.
    • Deleted Scenes
    o Wake Up – Max and Duke have a new morning routine with Liam.
    o Duke Explores the Farm – Duke has a funny interaction with a goat.
    o Snowball Karate – Snowball does his superhero warm up.
    o Secret Confessions – Dogs gather to talk about their deepest secrets
    • A Tapestry of a Tail: The Making Of – The plot of The Secret Life of Pets 2 involves multiple storylines ultimately coming together to create a larger than life tale. We talk with the filmmakers, editor and cast about the delicate dance of juggling multiple narratives in one movie.
    • How to Draw – Hosted by Head of Story, Eric Favela, follow the step-by-step tutorial to learn to draw Max, Snowball and Chloe
    • Frame by Frame: How to Make a Flip Book – In this DIY-style vignette, Head of Story Eric Favela will teach viewers about the essence of animation and how they can create their very own flip book animations at home.
    • Character Pods – Get a closer look at your favorite characters of The Secret Life of Pets 2 with these delightful character pods that might just give away a few more pet secrets.
    o Patton Oswalt – Max
    o Kevin Hart – Snowball
    o Eric Stonestreet – Duke
    o Jenny Slate – Gidget
    o Tiffany Haddish – Daisy
    o Lake Bell – Chloe
    o Nick Kroll – Sergei
    o Dana Carvey – Pops
    o Bobby Moynihan – Mel
    o Harrison Ford – Rooster
    • A Party Fit for a Pet – Using stop motion animation, this step-by-step guide teaches you everything you need to know to throw the very best party for your pet!
    • Pops’ Puppy Training School with Kevin Hart – Join Kevin Hart as he shows off his dog training skills.
    • Pets Yule Log – Sit back and relax in front of this exclusive The Secret Life of Pets 2 themed animated ‘Yule Log.’
    • Lyric Videos
    o ‘Panda’ Lyric Video
    o ‘It’s Gonna Be A Lovely Day (The Secret Life of Pets 2)’ Lyric Video
    • The Further Adventures of Captain Snowball (Interactive) – This animated ‘Motion Comic’ expands the world of our furry hero, Captain Snowball. Using a ‘superhero’ comic book style and custom animation, we discover more about the secret world of our caped crusader with a little help from our viewers. At key moments in the story, the viewer is presented with a choice: left, or right? Fight or flight? Their choice determines our hero’s next move!
    • My Buddy and Me – We interview the Illumination cast and crew talking about The Secret Life of Pets 2 while holding (or trying to hold) their pets.
    • Pets with Jobs: A Documentary – We find and profile animals with special jobs – a service dog that detects when its epileptic owner is about to have a seizure; ponies that provide comfort to children with cancer; police dogs that go the extra mile to catch the bad guys. Meet some of the many animals who make the world a better place every day!
    • Relax the Cat: The Secret Life of Pets Massage – A professional pet masseuse shows the cast how to read signs of tension in their pet and use massage techniques to keep their furry babies relaxed and happy!
    • Production Pets – It takes hundreds of people to make an animated movie and a lot of those people have pets that can’t wait for them to come home. This piece is dedicated to all those faithful companions.
    • Mini Movies
    o Minion Scouts – When Margo, Agnes and Edith return from Badger Scout camp, three of the Minions are entranced by the girls’ merit badges. Their own attempt at scout camp results in attracting a bear, eating poison berries and eventually blowing up a dam, creating a massive flood. But, when they arrive back home, the girls share their badges, encouraging the rest of the Minions to try their hand at scouting.
  • DVD
  • Digital Copy
Final Thoughts:

The Secret Life of Pets 2 is a well-executed follow up to 2016’s The Secret Life of Pets and is a charming and, fun family film that can be enjoyed both kids and their parents. It comes to Blu-ray in the Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment featuring excellent Ultra HD video quality, including Dolby Vision HDR, rewarding lossless surround sound that incorporates a complimentary Dolby Atmos immersive sound mix, and a fan friendly supplemental package. The Secret Life of Pets 2 makes for pitch perfect family entertainment that looks and sounds terrific on Blu-ray. If you’re a fan feel free to add it to your video collection.
Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS2000 4K Ultra High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from  Spectracal )
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems