Review: Puss in Boots
PLOT: PUSS IN BOOTS is a swashbuckling terror, a lover of women, and a cat out for his own gain. That is until he runs into his old egg-headed friend, and a sleek little feline named Kitty Softpaws. The trio find themselves looking for the sacred “magic beans” that lead to a “golden goose.” Once found, this little goose could make anybody who owns him rich beyond their wildest dreams.
One character that truly stood out in the SHREK universe was Puss in Boots (voiced by Antonio Banderas). This kitty with cojones was able to wipe out his enemies with a single swish of his sword. Of course, if that didn’t do the trick, how could you resist those big, lovable eyes that Puss’ll shine on you if necessary? Once he does, you are done for. This colorful character certainly garnered some laughs from the last few SHREK films, even if the movies failed to recreate the magic of the original feature. So what do you do with a cat with a thing for the ladies, a pair of boots and a hat? Give him his own flick, that’s what.
PUSS IN BOOTS has all the makings of a fantastic family film. First off, Banderas has a knack for bringing this cute little gato to life. Second, it features some of the best 3D we’ve seen on film in years. The sweeping shots along the brilliant and colorful desert landscape really bring you into the picture. And finally, the less is more when it comes to pop culture references was a refreshing change of pace from SHREK’S imaginary world. Yet there is something about this journey that was dry and failed to generate much excitement as Puss and friends attempt to locate some fabled “magic beans.”
For starters, what the hell is with Humpty Dumpty (voiced by Zack Galifianakis)? Sure he sat on a wall and he had a great fall. Get the f*ck over yourself. This is the most painfully depressing animated character ever. He is only there to be a thorn in Puss’ paw. You can see where old egghead is going the second he arrives. And while it wasn’t Galifianakis’ performance at all - he did a fine job - Humpty is still a dull and obvious rotten egg who was clearly cracked. Dumpty certainly bogged this story down by failing to be a very interesting fellow with a much too obvious chip in his shell.
Since so much of the film relies on the Puss and his old pal Humpty, the story didn’t quite work for me. So you have one cool cat and his irksome egg friend. Yet he is unaware of the lengths that Mr. Dumpty would go through to save himself. So you have the well-meaning friend who is taken on a downward spiral by his egg-centric buddy. Puss and the egg didn’t really work as well together as you would think they could have. And yes, this is a family movie so the outcome for many of the scenes is obvious. So many of the choices Dumpty and friends make are painfully bad and only carry this flick on to become, at best, a decent sequel. The whole thing with Humpty… well that was just one bad egg.
As much as I felt the story dragged thanks to Humpty and friends Jack and Jill (Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sederis), there are certainly moments that charmed. The back and forth between Puss and the slick new cat on the block, Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) was irresistible. Hearing Hayek play off Banderas was just like old times (ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO and DESPERADO) and it worked very well. And speaking of kitties, the filmmakers sure had fun with how the general kittens behaved in this flick. The kitty dance off was incredibly fun, as was the entire underground cat world. Let the purring begin!
PUSS IN BOOTS is certainly a worthwhile film for children and families. Sure I didn't love it, but it features enough in the fun department to make it worth a watch if you are cat fan. While the story felt long and lacked the heart of the original SHREK, Puss manages to have a fun last half hour with a handful of charming bits throughout. It may not be the family film of the year… at least you have Banderas and Hayek to liven things up.
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