Puss in Boots
- Antonio Banderas as Puss in Boots
- Salma Hayek as Kitty Softpaws
- Zach Galifianakis as Humpty Dumpty
- Billy Bob Thornton as Jack
- Amy Sedaris as Jill
An excellently animated and witty spin-off with the lovable rogue feline that proved so popular in the Shrek movies, Puss in Boots is proof that not all spin offs are a bad things. It becomes a bit bogged down at times when establishing some of the origins, but that doesn’t make it any less entertaining due to the mixing of humour, fantasy and animation.
Years before encountering Shrek, Puss is a fugitive who while being a bandit, has his own sense of code and honour. Travelling from place to place, he becomes aware of the mythical beans that lead to the clouds, promising a Golden Goose. The beans are currently in the possession of murderous outlaws Jack and Jill. Our smooth talking furry feline makes it his mission to recover them, but something gets in the way on his first attempt. A sleek and slinky feline by the name of Kitty Softpaws intervenes and distracts him in her own mission to get the magical beans. After giving chase, Puss discovers that Kitty is in fact in league with someone from his past. The person in question is the talking egg Humpty Dumpty. As children, him and Puss were like brothers, but Humpty out of spite and jealousy, betrayed Puss during a robbery that left Puss an outcast from his town. Initially reluctant to help Humpty in his quest to get the beans, Puss eventually comes around to the idea because of his quest to rebuild his reputation, but is still unsure of whether Humpty is plotting something. There’s no time to think though as he, along with the unusual Humpty and the gifted thief Kitty, are plunged into a full-on adventure of the highest order with excitement and twists along the way, closely linked with Jack and Jill who they must commandeer the beans off.
I will admit that I was skeptical at the idea of a Puss in Boots spin-off, because I often find spin-offs tend to be lesser than the films that they are originally linked too. So I was really surprised that Puss in Boots was in fact a very accomplished film. Chris Miller and his set of animators really gave it their all here, bringing verve and colour to the proceedings. From scene to scene, the lively animation brought life to the adventure and was spectacular. And while the visuals were a clear highlight, the various gags and send ups to western movies and pop culture was really amusing to watch. I’ve always been a fan of giving old fairy tales a makeover, and Puss in Boots does it with an abundance of heart and style. Now the main flaw I found with Puss in Boots was the overindulgence of flashbacks. I know they were meant to establish the origin story of Puss and many were good, it just felt a bit much. It could have been tightened a lot more in my view. Yet that is the only real thing I can pick at in the movie because it is immensely enjoyable and fresh. A Latin accented score is the perfect accompaniment to the rip-roaring and hysterical adventure that Puss finds himself dragged into.
Antonio Banderas with his thickly accented and suave voice is magnetic as the thieving feline on the adventure of a lifetime. Equal parts humour and pathos, Banderas uses his masterful vocal talent to give stunning life to the lovable Puss. Salma Hayek is an ideal choice for the voice of the slinky Kitty, who can match Puss with her fighting skill and thieving expertise. Hayek and Banderas, having worked together before, clearly have a good sense of camaraderie, chemistry and banter that feeds into the characters they voice here. Zach Galifianakis masterfully keeps us on edge with his contribution as Humpty, whose capricious changes in character are called into question. Is he leading Puss on or is he genuinely trying to reestablish a friendship again? That mystery is given life by the talented Galifianakis. As the revamped and very dangerous Jack and Jill, Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris display the right amount of villainy suited to the film with their long drawl.
Colourful, funny and with stellar animation, Puss in Boots emerges as a spin-off that is hugely charming and proves that when done right, these kinds of movies can work really well.