DreamWorks Animation presents: Puss In Boots, the legendary Spanish-speaking orange cat, in their latest 3-D Shrek spin-off. Puss, like it’s parent franchise is full of child-like imagery and silliness but maintains humor and innuendo suitable for adult audiences. Puss In Boots is an adventure the whole family would love and one worth taking in the third dimension.
Billed as “the story about the events leading up to the sword fighting cat’s meeting with Shrek and his friends,” Puss In Boots parodies many familiar fables and fairy tales, most notably “Jack and Jill,” “The Goose that Laid the Golden Egg,” “Humpty Dumpty,” and “Jack and the Beanstalk.” As a kitten blowing across dusty roads in a basket, Puss (Antonio Banderas) comes to the doorstep of an orphanage run by a woman named Imelda (Constance Marie). Under her care, Puss befriends fellow orphan Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis). Together, Puss and Humpty run the town and turn into mischievous little guys until the day Puss does a heroic deed, earning Puss his boots and Humpty’s jealousy. Humpty turns to a life of crime, what a bad egg, but after the night he betrays Puss, Humpty isn’t the only criminal, Puss is thought to be a very bad kitty. Puss In Boots is about Puss’ quest to repay the city of San Ricardo and clear his name. To do that, he must steal the magic beans from Jack (Billy Bob Thorton) and Jill (Amy Sedaris), so he may find the goose that lays golden eggs. Problem is, he meets a feline competitor who’s out for the same thing, Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) and engages in a dance fight that adds “The Litterbox” and “The Booty Scoot,” to the list of absurd, hilarious dances people do.
Regrettably, Puss In Boots has vocal talents that are about 50/50. Banderas, Marie and Hayek are all charming and believable with their Spanish accents, but Galifianakis, Thorton and Sedaris are a different breed entirely – they’re not engaging and borderline annoying. Perhaps it’s a personal preference, but English folklore characters (Jack and Jill) with twangy, redneck southern drawls? Vocal talent isn’t the only place Puss loses a few points, the animation style works well for cats, geese, landscapes and people, unfortunately, there’s no way around making an egg with a face look good – in fact Humpty Dumpty bears some resemblance to the moon in George Méliès’ 1902 film A Trip to the Moon, which is unique, but not aesthetically pleasing. Separately, Jack and Jill are big, fat and ugly, which begs the question – can animated villains never be attractive? The only exception in recent memory is likely “Prince Charming” from Shrek, who looks like a cross between Ken (the doll) and Fabio. If all that’s not enough, Puss falls a tad flat on the pacing. The film starts with constant laughs and a good “here we go” pace but slows about midway through to the finish as some of the humor becomes redundant, but hey, it’s all good fun as animation meets Zorro (the “P” scribble) and James Bond (Kitty Softpaws).
Puss In Boots is rated PG and runs 90 minutes. It’s a great family film with several hilarious lines and some pretty cool imagery that works well for a 3-D showing. Please don’t tell Puss about the nit-picking. Now, let’s hope DreamWorks has a spin-off starring the Gingerbread Man in the making!