Movie Review: Puss in Boots
Rating: PG (some action/adventure and mild rude humor)
Length: 90 minutes
Release Date: Oct. 28, 2011
Directed by: Chris Miller
Genre: Adventure, comedy, and animation
Stars: 4 out of 5
Fun-loving and feisty feline Puss in Boots was a comedic relief staple in his supporting roles in the "Shrek" trilogy. Due to his tremendous popularity, the swashbuckling kitty received his own adventure spin off, "Puss in Boots." Best viewed in brilliant 3-D, the film is a visual treat to experience, and its humorous tongue-in-cheek dialogue will keep the entire family laughing. An animated character is often only as good as his or her voice actor, and this film satisfies with the return of Antonio Banderas as the voice behind the suave cat.
The story was written by a team consisting of Tom Wheeler, Brian Lynch, and Will Davies. Puss has his own tale of origin, much like a superhero. The audience will appreciate the backstory to how the upright walking cat became a feared fighter among the bravest and most skilled of men. "Shrek" had a tradition of referring to many different pop culture references and "Puss in Boots" carries on this custom, as the film opens with what is certainly a reference to the romanticism found in the James Bond movies. It also has a Latin-inspired spaghetti western feel. Fans of film noir will also appreciate the genre's heavy influence throughout the film.
At the start, Puss is on the run. All he wants to do is clear his name and erase a long-held debt. He walks into a bar and is greeted with mocking laughter, but it isn't long before he shows them why "you don't make the cat angry." During one bar visit, he overhears the tale of Jack (Billy Bob Thornton) and Jill (Amy Sedaris), both considered to be murderous outlaws. The fiends have obtained magic beans and plan on growing a giant beanstalk, intent on stealing the Golden Goose.
Puss decides to claim the beans for himself, but finds that he is not the only one on the quest. He meets a rival in the form of the seductive Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek), one of the best thieves in all of Spain. As is common in a noir film, Kitty is actually an underling in the employ of Humpty Alexander Dumpty, a seemingly scamming and superficial egg. He also just happens to be an old friend of Puss who became an enemy. Dumpty, voiced by Zach Galifianakis, is actually quite a complex character and the butt of many egg jokes. It turns out that Puss and Humpty first met in an orphanage and had planned to do exactly what Jack and Jill were doing. But when trouble came for Puss, Humpty felt abandoned and betrayed. Now the old friends unite in a bid to complete the mission.
DreamWorks Animation has put forth some of their best efforts in this feature, showcasing some of the finest 3-D techniques ever seen in a general release animated film. There isn't a slow moment during this romp, and the audience will by mesmerized by its colorful, action-packed atmosphere. The textures are superior and lifelike, making the viewers want to reach out and pet the soft fur of the cats, while Humpty's shell looks hard in comparison. The animators have really outdone themselves in how they conceived the visual elements of this film, especially in the three-dimensional viewpoint. Often 3-D is underutilized in films, merely serving as an underwhelming gimmick, but the creative team for this project put a lot of effort into making dynamic use of techniques.
There are dynamic dramatic perspectives that bring believable life and texture to the film's many sword fights, dances, and chase scenes. As such, this is a film that is worth the extra money for 3-D tickets. The score composed by Henry Jackman matches the rapid pace of the film. Key sequences use choreographed dance movements between Kitty and Puss and the music adds essential auditory flair to the movements. The stunning dance among the night stars is a sight to behold in 3-D.
The film will appeal to an older audience, as there are numerous jokes that just won't show up on the radar of most youngsters. While some of the humor may be a little bit immature for the grownups, the film has enough hilariously absurd moments that will engage the entire audience in laughter. DreamWorks is on a roll with a streak of outstanding films such as "How to Train Your Dragon," "Megamind," and now, "Puss in Boots."