Andrea’s Angle | “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” – Purr-fect Fun
I’ve always liked the “Shrek” franchise. I admit I love the spin on the fairytales, and while I haven’t loved every movie, I do have a fondness for Puss in Boots. While it’s been ten years since the previous film came out, I was excited to hear there was another film. I love Antonio Banderas and his performance of Puss, flamboyant and fearless, so I was hoping a new film would live up to the old expectations, especially for children. After watching, I love that the blend of humor appeals to adults and kids, the performances are fantastic, the animation style is creative, and it was purr-fect fun.
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is a computer-animated adventure film that is a sequel to 2011’s Puss in Boots, a spin-off of the “Shrek” franchise. It is directed by Joel Crawford and co-directed by Januel Mercado from a screenplay by Paul Fisher and Tommy Swerdlow, based on a story by Swerdlow and the first film’s writer Tom Wheeler, with additional screenplay material provided by Etan Cohen. In the film, Puss in Boots ( Antonio Banderas) reaches his ninth life and comes face to face with fear. He sets out on a journey to reach the mystical Last Wish and restore eight of his nine lives with the help of Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) and a new friend Perrito (Harvey Guillén). But there are others looking for the wish, including Goldilocks and the Three Bears Crime Family (Florence Pugh, Olivia Colman, Ray Winstone, Samson Kayo), Jack Horner (John Mulaney), and the Big Bad Wolf (Wagner Moura). Puss in Boots must stay one step ahead in order to reach the Last Wish first.
There are several factors as to why I think this will be a popular family film. First of all, is the humor. This film doesn’t talk down to children and plays up the fun of Puss in Boots being a fearless fighter and what happens when he no longer is fearless. While the film does play with the standard humor, such as big kitty eyes, it also has a lot of humor focused on families, especially found families. Goldi is adopted by the Three Bears, and the film plays up the dynamic and humor between her and her family. Jack Horner got tired of being little Jack Horner in the nursery rhyme. Best yet, while there is a lot of comedy that will appeal to children, there is a ton that will resonate with adults. We are treated to the ethical bug, aka Jiminy Cricket, using a very Jimmy Stewart voice. While avoiding the Disney name, it is a great send-up of the character that most adults will laugh at. The fights between Goldi and her brother are hilarious, as is the dynamic between Kitty Softpaws and Puss.
The animation style is fun and well-designed. One of the elements I liked the best is that it isn’t a static style. The animation changes throughout the movie, using an almost anime style in the fight sequences, and during a confrontation with the Big Bad Wolf, the design is bolder and more colorful. Those design changes are a unique way to present the film and keep the audience on their toes. It doesn’t detract from the story but adds motion and color to the animation.
The adventure of the story will appeal to both children and adults. While children will find the fights and Puss’s journey exciting, there are added layers for the adults. Puss in Boots finds himself afraid of death, and any adult who is getting older can empathize with that dilemma. Do you hide in fear of risk, or do you go out and live your life unafraid of death, accepting it as part of life? While children might not understand that nuance, they will gravitate to the idea of family, especially Goldi and Perrito, who want friendship and love and who find it in ways that are not traditional.
The performances keep pace with the story. Antonio Banderas is emotional and funny as Puss in Boots, and his dynamic with Salma Hayek and Harvey Guillén is perfect. He and Salma Hayek play off each other superbly. You can tell they’ve worked together many times. Harvey Guillén is hilarious and a great foil for the more cynical characters that Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek play. Florence Pugh as Goldi, Olivia Colman as Mama Bear, Ray Winstone as Papa Bear, and Samson Kayo as Baby Bear are all equally skilled in their performances. The entire group is funny and adds so much to the story without taking the spotlight off Puss in Boots’ dilemma. Goldi has her own reasons for going after The Last Wish, and it is equally as poignant. Florence Pugh’s performance is tough yet evocative. The animation highlights the emotions of the character perfectly, with Pugh showing those emotions through her words. John Mulaney is villainous as Jack Horner and makes the audience laugh at his antics. The Big Bad Wolf, played by Wagner Moura, is chilling.
If you are looking for an original or unique story, I would say look elsewhere. The fairy tales and stories based on them are not new. And while the idea of going on an adventure to regain lost lives is different, the story is predictable. But the film does a great job of being fun and keeping the audience laughing. The humor is the perfect blend to appeal to adults and kids alike.
If you liked the “Shrek” franchise or Puss in Boots, you will love this film. You don’t have to be familiar with the story to like it, either. The writers keep the narrative as a stand-alone that anyone can enjoy, even if they aren’t familiar with the characters. Puss in Boots is brilliantly played by Antonio Banderas, who is joined by an equally skilled cast. The animation style is bold and different. The jokes are funny, and this is purr-fect fun for the whole family.
Rating: 3.5 socks out of 5
Official Website: Puss in Boots: The Last Wish | In Theaters Dec 21, 2022 | DreamWorks
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
Puss in Boots discovers that his passion for adventure has taken its toll: he has burned through eight of his nine lives. Puss sets out on an epic journey to find the mythical Last Wish and restore his nine lives.
PUSS IN BOOTS: THE LAST WISH opens wide in theaters on December 21, 2022.
ONE-LINER: Say hola to his little friends.