Movies · News

Harrison Ford Gets Animated for ‘The Secret Life of Pets’

The man who was Han Solo heads to Toon Town for Illumination Entertainment.
Secret Life Of Pets
By  · Published on April 25th, 2018

The man who was Han Solo heads to Toon Town for Illumination Entertainment.

Children’s entertainment is a monster business. That’s not news to anyone. The days of being surprised by an animated film’s total domination at the box office are long gone. The summer does not belong solely to the superhero adventure or CGI dinosaur romp. While we’re ready to crown Avengers: Infinity War king, we cannot dismiss the looming threat of The Incredibles 2 or even Hotel Transylvania 3. The wallets of mom and dad are accessed by the pleas of their children, and they’ll sacrifice a trip to Jurassic World to keep the brood satisfied.

Once a studio works its way into the psyche of the kiddie populace, they are going to fight tooth and claw to keep that hold. Illumination Entertainment has been desperate to recapture the enthusiasm of their Despicable Me franchise. The third entry in that series crossed a billion dollars, as did their Minions spinoff film. While The Secret Life of Pets didn’t quite reach that height, the film came close with $875 million.

The studio is determined not to let a scandal prevent them from increasing the worth of their franchise. Louis C.K. was booted from the sequel (as well as many other projects), and Illumination has found the perfect replacement. According to Deadline, Patton Oswalt will now take on the vocal duties of the lead hound, Max.

Joining him will be a bevy of other new voices. Tiffany Haddish, Nick Kroll, Pete Holmes, and Harrison Ford have all signed on to explore the mystery of what happens to our house pets when we’re not watching. There is no word on what breed or even animal they’ll inhabit.

This is nothing new for Oswalt. The actor is probably most famous for his turn as Remy the rat in Pixar’s Ratatouille. He’s also performed in a dozen other voice casts since then. He’s been everything from Uncle Ben in the most recent Spider-Man cartoon series to Pinky Penguin in Bojack Horseman. As king of the nerds, Oswalt gets his pick from the toy box.

The real question mark is Ford. He’s never been a toon in a movie before. Never (and let’s forget that bit in the Star Wars Holiday Special). What animal do you dare hang on his mumble? Can you imagine a bunny with the seen-it-all-done-it-all bravado of Indiana Jones? Actually, yeah, totally.

A few years back, when Ford was attending a Blade Runner 2049 panel at the San Diego Comic-Con, a fan asked him if he was going to resurrect all of his classic characters. Ford stared directly into the fanboy’s soul and answered with a simple, “You bet your ass.” From the audience, I hollered with glee with the rest of the crowd. Considering that both his return to Deckard and Han Solo were pretty solid (let’s not talk about The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull), I’m not opposed to Ford having fun with old characters.

Or having fun in general. That’s the headspace Ford is living in right now. Cowboys and Aliens makes sense to him. He’s not stooping to the level of Expendables 3 or The Secret Life of Pets. He’s just a little less precious with the choosing of his roles. Why should he let actors like Patton Oswalt and Tiffany Haddish control the cartoon critter arena? His whole career has been building to an animated pet, and that’s totally rad.

Related Topics:

Brad Gullickson is a Weekly Columnist for Film School Rejects and Senior Curator for One Perfect Shot. When not rambling about movies here, he's rambling about comics as the co-host of Comic Book Couples Counseling. Hunt him down on Twitter: @MouthDork. (He/Him)