Puss in Boots
Bottom Line: Puss is back with the laughs we missed in the last two Shrek films!
“You have made the cat angry. You do not want to make the cat angry!” –Antonio Banderas as Puss in Boots
Directed by: Chris Miller
Starring: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis
Thoroughly entertaining, hilarious spin-off takes a look at the life of Puss in Boots (voiced by Antonio Banderas) before his first appearance as a villain-turned-sidekick in 2004′s SHREK 2. Narrated by the cat himself, the film unfolds with the crisis of Jack (voiced by Billy Bob Thornton) and Jill (voiced by Amy Sedaris), two crooks who have recently stolen three rare magical beans. Upon hearing about this, Puss reunites with Humpty Dumpty (voiced by Zach Galifianakis), his long-lost and child-like brother, and meets Kitty Softpaws (voiced by Salma Hayek), a lovable cat who has no claws. The three go on a journey to retrieve the beans from Jack and Jill and plant them somewhere safe.
Maybe there’s a little more to it than that, but that’s the gist. The most basic relief PUSS IN BOOTS offers is that it revives the laughs that were missing in SHREK THE THIRD and SHREK FOREVER AFTER. The first SHREK movie was phenomenal, and so was its first sequel (Puss’s own debut), and then all of a sudden the series fell into a giant pit. As the series had a routine of releasing a new entry every three years, and PUSS was released just a year after SHREK FOREVER AFTER (the fourth and final entry), it proved difficult to expect a decent spin-off. Even with the only character who appeared in the main series being the titular character himself, PUSS is far better than merely decent. Not only are we glad to be back to laughing again, we are glad to have the cute meld of all the fairy tales and nursery rhymes that the first film forgot to introduce.
The animation in PUSS is superb. The scene when the three protagonists plant the magical beans, the scene involving the “cloud-ball fight,” the first five minutes, and just about every action sequence stand out the most. With the intricate designs of the animal characters, the lifelike (yes, lifelike) embellishments, and the countless carefully-animated objects (i.e. rain on a beanstalk up in the sky), it was meant for a 3-D theatrical release. Even on home video, it still looks stunning.
We can’t expect this much of a SHREK movie anymore, nor does any entry have the right to be this excellent. Somehow, this works when it tries to convince us out of thinking that it qualifies as a SHREK movie, with a soundtrack consisting of catchy Latin tunes, an entirely new cast for entirely new characters (with one obvious exception), and not one reference to Donkey, Shrek, or Fiona. That said, I guarantee you’ll love it, regardless of you having seen any of the original SHREK movies.