US Animation

Puss in Boots

Distributed by: Paramount Pictures

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            As soon as I saw the promos for the animated film Puss in Boots, I knew I had to see it.  I’ve been a fan of Puss in Boots since his debut in Shrek 2 and I delight in his every appearance associated with the Shrek series.  I couldn’t wait to see him in his own full-length adventure.  A freak snowstorm kept me away from the theater for the movie’s debut weekend, but I made sure I got there the following week.

            Puss in Boots is a prequel film set long before Puss (Antonio Banderas) ever meets up with the characters of the Shrek films.  When we first meet Puss, we learn that he is an outlaw, stealing to keep himself alive while running from the law.  When he is approached by Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis) and a gorgeous, crafty, de-clawed feline thief named Kitty Softpaws (Selma Hayek) in an attempt to enlist Puss in Boots aide in retrieving stolen magic beans from murderous outlaws known as Jack and Jill (Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris), Puss declines. 

            It is then that we learn of Puss in Boots’ origins - his life as an orphaned kitty, his home at the orphanage and subsequent friendship with fellow orphan Humpty Dumpty and the trouble the two used to get involved in as teenagers.  As Puss became known for his willingness to protect the innocent, Humpty took another path…one that would eventually paint Puss in Boots in the wrong light and make him the outcast of his hometown.

            In the end, Humpty persuades Puss in Boots to join them, saying that once they plant the beans and find the Giant’s castle, they can bring some of the golden eggs back to their former home and atone for their mistakes, becoming heroes.  When they finally arrive and find the goose that lays the golden eggs, an act of betrayal lands Puss in jail, propelling Humpty into the role of town savior. 

            But, unbeknownst to them all, a monster known as the Terror has come to reclaim the Golden Goose and will destroy the town to do so.  Can Puss in Boots escape prison in time to rescue the town?

            This movie was everything I expected it to be and more.  Whoever created the character of Puss in Boots took considerable time to study cats.  I loved the way, despite his being able to walk on his back legs, Puss always reverts to kittenhood at the spotting of a darting light or piece of string.  The sad face and huge eyes that Puss uses to persuade people to do his bidding - this can only be understood by a cat lover

            What I found rather strange was the fact that so many people attending the film brought their kids.  Anyone who has watched the Shrek films had to know that Puss in Boots was not a kid’s film.  The movie’s jokes were strictly for adults.  For instance, take the scene in which the bandit shows Puss the tattoo of the Giant’s castle and the Golden Goose.  When he decides he wants to show Puss the tattoo of the Golden Eggs, every adult in the audience started cracking up.  Now, of course, Puss stops the bandit before he drops trough, but can you imagine all of the kids who are going to be asking their classmates if they want to see their golden eggs?  Yikes.

            And the dance scene between Puss and Kitty Softpaws - while the kids will laugh at the Kitty Litter move, this is obviously a bit of foreplay between the suave Puss and his new flame.  Hell, the opening scene shows Puss leaving a lover while she is sleeping and promptly getting her name wrong when she wakes up during his escape.  Totally not something I want my kids watching.

            Despite my anger at parents who just don’t get it, this took nothing away from my enjoyment of the film.  I loved the premise and learning about Puss in Boots’ origins.  I enjoyed the tęte-ŕ-tęte between Puss and Kitty.  I loved the way Puss orders leche every time he enters a bar.  I loved the way they totally twisted the fairytale story of Jack and the Beanstalk.  And most of all, I loved that the powers that be in the film never forgot that their main character was a cat and thus, we see Puss grooming, falling victim to what normal cats would see as toys and getting caught with a stash of catnip in his boot (for his glaucoma, of course). 

            And if the kids had to be there…well, then I’m glad that the movie wasn’t all fun and games.  There was a message to be learned here - a message of loyalty, family, love and looking past the exterior to find one’s true inner beauty.

            I already reviewed the musical score of Puss in Boots and found it to be quite enjoyable.  Having now listened to it as background music for the film, I must commend Henry Jackman and Rodrigo Y Gabriela for a job well done.  The music perfectly reflects what is taking place in the film and serves to enhance the emotions of each scene.

            I had a great time seeing Puss in Boots…in 2-D.  I couldn’t bother seeing the film in the 3-D format it was also offered in.  To me, there was no need to have this movie made in 3-D.  It was perfectly enjoyable in 2-D and I didn’t have to wear those annoying glassesPuss in Boots was a whole lot of fun and I would definitely not mind if a Puss in Boots 2 came around in the future.


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