The following review was written by Ultimate Rabbit correspondent, Tony Farinella.
“DC League of Super-Pets” is a film which, on paper, sounded like it would be an enjoyable and entertaining animated film for families to enjoy on a rainy day. I was especially drawn to the cast of the film, which features such actors as Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Kate McKinnon, John Krasinski, Natasha Lyonne, Keanu Reeves and Olivia Wilde. However, this feels more like a 10 to 15 animated short than it does a feature length film. There isn’t a lot of material for the actors to work with here as far as the story is concerned. It also appears that some of the actors are phoning in their voice performances.
The film opens up by introducing the audience to Superman (John Krasinski) and his best friend, Krypto, a Labrador Retriever, voiced by Dwayne Johnson. They do everything together, including their daily walk-o’clock. Krypto, however, is starting to become jealous when he notices that Superman is spending an awful lot of time with Lois Lane (Olivia Wilde), and worries he will be left behind. After all, who is Krypto going to watch The Great British Bake off with? He’s feeling left out and drowns his sorrows with ice cream and Taylor Swift songs to deal with the pain. Meanwhile, Superman is hoping to get a buddy for Krypto, so he doesn’t depend on him so much.
While looking for a friend for Bark Kent (Krypto’s day-to-day dog persona), he stumbles into a shelter with a variety of animals, such as a boxer named Ace (Kevin Hart), PB, a potbellied pig, voiced by Vanessa Bayer, a turtle voiced by Natasha Lyonne, and a red squirrel voiced by Diego Luna. The one bad egg in the bunch is a hairless Guinea pig named Lulu, who has been under the guidance of Lex Luthor (Marc Maron). She was a test subject at LexCorp, and now has evil powers of her own, which help her capture The Justice League. It is up to all of the animals to work together in order to save The Justice League and stop Lulu. They now have superpowers of their own which they must harness for good in order to restore peace.
This should have been a film which hit just the right notes in terms of appealing to young kids and also having some adult humor as well. There is adult humor here, but it feels very on-the-nose and not at all natural or organic. All of the flying around mixed with the superhero powers makes the film feel very tedious to sit through at times. There is a story behind Ace becoming a shelter dog that adds some layers to his character, and there are also individual moments in the film which are funny and work within the structure of the film.
Overall, though, I can’t imagine too many kids getting all of the adult jokes which are forced into ‘DC League of Super-Pets” periodically. I also can’t picture parents or adults enjoying the stuff intended for kids. The film ends at around 95 minutes even though it has a 105-minute running time. It still felt too long, and I found myself clock-watching. It’s a case of a film where they thought as long as they had the right voice actors and the DC name attached to it with pets, they were good to go. They didn’t take the time to actually craft a script which was worthwhile, interesting or well-developed. They got lazy when it came time to putting the screenplay together.
I had high hopes for this one, but in the end it fell flat. What is most frustrating about “DC League of Super-Pets” is the potential that can be seen here for a good movie. There are some backstories and relatable moments which work quite well, but they are not consistent enough throughout the course of the film. It’s an example of an average movie with good scenes sprinkled throughout. There is a good movie waiting to come out, but it never fully gets on track because of mediocre writing, lackluster voice work and a very lazy plot. This is a film with a ton of potential which could have been one of the better animated films of the year, but is instead instantly forgettable. It’s truly a shame, as this is one of the best casts I’ve ever seen for an animated film. They should have utilized this cast and gave them interesting things to say in a comedic fashion. Kevin Hart is subdued and for good reason (when you discover his character’s backstory), but no one really stands out here. Kate McKinnon even seems to be reaching here.
* * out of * * * *
4K/Blu-ray Info: “DC League of Super-Pets” is being released on a two-disc 4K/Blu-ray combo pack from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment. The film is rated PG for action, mild violence, language and rude humor. It has a running time of 105 minutes. It also comes with a digital copy of the film.
Video Info: The 4K of the film is very bright and colorful. I will say this—the 4K looks simply stunning with its vivid colors. Certain animated films really pop on 4K HDR, and this is one of them.
Audio Info: The Dolby Atmos track is also on point throughout the film, as it never gets too high or too low, even during the action scenes. It’s just right. Subtitles are included in Canadian French, English and Latin Spanish.
How to Draw Krypto
Behind the Super Voices
Super-Pets Animation 101
Find the Easter Eggs
The World of Super-Pets
Should You Buy It?
I think it’s safe to say from reading my review that the answer is no. I felt very bored and disinterested while watching “DC League of Super-Pets.” As stated in my review, the plot is run-of-the-mill and the characters are so underdeveloped. I love animals, as my wife and I have four of our own. I know they are animated here, but still; they can be cute and funny in animated form. Another problem with this film is you know certain actors are voicing the parts. When you can clearly notice their voices, that’s a problem. It means they haven’t really allowed themselves to get into character fully. Instead, they are simply reading lines right in front of them without any change to their delivery or speech. This is an average film. It’s a one and done film for me. For everyone else? I can’t recommend you check it out, even as a rental. The film looks and sounds great, but that isn’t enough to make it worth watching or owning.
**Disclaimer** I received a copy of this film from Warner Brothers to review for free. The opinions and statements in the review are mine and mine alone.