Famed adventurer, sword master, skilled lover… cat. Welcome to the tale of Puss in Boots
as he sets his sights on stealing the magic beans from the clutches of the evil Jack and Jill, with a little help from a fellow thief and Humpty Dumpty.
Puss in Boots
marks the first spin off from the Shrek
series (we were previously threatened with one for Eddie Murphy’s Donkey) and wisely focuses on easily the most entertaining supporting character to have emerged from the increasingly naff franchise. Antonio Banderas’
Puss combines self aware comedy with action and enough cute moments to win the hearts of the even the most cynical movie goer, and he’s given free rein here in his first feature.
Puss in Boots
is, first and foremost, a lot of fun. Foregoing the heavy handed pop culture references of the Shrek
oeuvre, there’s an actual story here and a surprisingly dark one at that which deals with broken promises and betrayal. Of course, it’s also an animated film featuring a talking, shoeware sporting feline so there are plenty of laughs along the way, with the film pulling out every cute action imaginable to undermine Puss’ serious minded moments.
Banderas is a joy as Puss in Boots
, with his richly accented voice doing wonders for the character and Salma Hayek
does a great job with new partner in crime Kitty Softpaws. Less successful is the Hangover’s Zach Galifianakis
as Humpty Dumpty – the role makes no real use of his word vomiting strengths and you’ll also find forgettable turns from Billy Bob Thornton
and Amy Sedaris
as Jack and Jill.
The film starts with a fantastic chase sequence which segue ways into a dance off at an underground club. It’s fast paced and energetically directed, so much so that the film never really regains that energy. As something of an origin story (the tale takes place before the meeting with Shrek
and the gang) there’s plenty of exposition and some lengthy flashbacks. In fact, there’s far more talking in Puss in Boots
than you might expect and while it’s good to see an animated film focus on story, youngsters may start to get a little bored.
Puss in Boots
was originally conceived as a straight to video feature in the wake of Shrek 2
and it can’t quite shake that impression on the big screen – the set pieces are fun but slight and resolutions are rife with convenience, down to the rushed finale. It’s a shame because these characters are strong enough that I would have been happy to follow their adventures a little longer.
If, like me, you feel like the Shrek
series has run its course, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how entertaining Puss in Boots
is. It may be slight and forgettable but with effective laughs, well mounted action and a decent use of 3D, I’d be happy to see more Puss in Boots