‘My compliments to your cobbler,’ says the Big Bad Wolf (Wagner Moura) to Puss In Boots (Antonia Banderas) is the latest cartoon caper from Dreamworks. Given that this is the first sequel to a spin-off to the Sherk franchise, which is pretty much played out since igniting the CGI animation world back, check notes, 22 years ago, anticipation was pretty limited for this one. Expectations aside, it’s a light, fluffy adventure with plenty of knowing gags; whether you love cats or not, Joel Crawford’s film is not a load of old cobblers nor one from the bottom of the litter tray.
A lavish, quick off-the mark action set piece shows us that Puss in Boots is getting old; a giant bell falls squarely on his furry little nog and a doctor suggests that he has now used up eight of his nine lives. A chance encounter with the Big Bad Wolf makes a cowardly cat of our hero, who buries his heroic garb and decides to sit out any potential conflicts. But Puss is being sought after by Goldilocks and the Three Bears, who are seeking the Wishing Star that can grant one single wish; of course, Puss in Boots wants nothing more than to get his eight lives back, and goes off in search, accompanied by Kitty Softpaws, voiced by Salma Hayek.
As a Dreamworks animation, this is still a cut above most; Florence Pugh is Goldilocks, and Olivia Coleman and Ray Winstone are Mama and Papa Bear respectively. But the MVP here is comic John Mulaney, who brings a louche yet manic energy to Little Jack Horner, one of several nursery rhyme characters who get pressed into service here. Appreciating what you’ve got and not betting it all on imponderables is the clear message here, and The Last Wish just about delivers it with some lively voice work and a rather more dynamic animation feel than the previous entry in the franchise.
Given the films striking box-office success as counterprogramming to the Avatar sequel, it’s unlikely that this will be the last we see of Puss; while a little darker than the other Shrek films, it’s charming and cute enough to satisfy family audiences. Gags like Puss claiming ‘I am a master of the baking’ suggest a little of the old Shrek humour for adults creeping in, and while the formula is aging like the furrball protagonist, Puss in Boots is the cat’s pyjamas as far as comfort food for kids goes.
Puss in Boots is out now in the US and then Feb 3 in the UK. Thanks to Universal UK for access.
As you know, I haven’t seen a cartoon movie in ages. This one tempts me, but in reality I should probably watch “Frozen” first if I ever get around to another animated film……
Frozen should be at the top of that list. That was a game changer.
Oh let it go.
The cold never bothered me anyway…
Ratatouille is fab if you’re in the mood for aa toon movie. (I am not a fan of toon movies but that one’s outstanding).
I really disliked the first puss n boots so I’ll probably avoid this.
Now did you ever stop to think what Puss thought about you?
What are you sighing about?
That must have been a mighty big sigh then.
I can imagine.
I think that’s for the best.
I liked the Shrek franchise but pnb never really caught my interest.
That is OK, you can just watch Shrek again instead.
I do. All 5 of them at least once or twice a year…
No idea why, but the Shrek franchise just clicks with me even while I can acknowledge their very visible weaknesses as movies. Maybe I identity with Shrek? 😀
It seems unusual that you should reject a cartoon parody featuring characters from the same nursery rhyme universe.
How would you describe your negative feelings towards Puss in Boots?
The storyline was stupid. Not funny, but stupid. Even the fifth Shrek movie had quite a few giggle moments for me while PNB just made me roll my eyes.
Plus, the 3 kittens from PNB didn’t endear themselves to me in any way (cute or deadly) and Banderas just didn’t have the character to carry PNB off as a main character. I like Banderas as an actor, but the material he had to work with, well, it would have been hard for anyone…
I don’t rate either of them, too much of a spin-off. Glad we sorted this out.
Me too. Now there can be no question that I am no boot licking toady…
That Dreamworks cheque bounce again? Same here.
Like a rubber bouncy ball!
Is this a substitute for The Aristocats?? Pfft.
It’s all bait and switch around here.
We will endure.
As William Faulkner wrote.
You too, then.
My review of Aristocats has been written, just waiting for the zeigeist to catch up.
WHo’s that then?
American writer who used that phrase.
I knew that!! I meant who’s the zeigeist and how far behind you is he?
You’ll have to ask Alex, he’s far closer to the zeitgeist than me; that man lives on the edge of popular culture trends!
I thought he lived in Paris!
He is everywhere.
Nope, he’s not here anyway.
He was earlier on.
Not here there, I meant here here.
When are you going to review Left Behind: Rise of the Antichrist?
Sigh. One Left Behind movie is enough.
Trailer seemed to cover everything pretty well. Kitty litter jokes never get old, but I’m good.
Everybody wants to be a cat…