Family fun adventure with an occasional wink to the adults. Who doesn’t love Puss in Boots? Even Guillermo del Toro got in on this!
His name is legend! An orphan kitty (Antonio Banderas) growing up in San Ricardo befriends a good egg (Zach Galifianakis) and dreams of beanstalks and the goose that laid the golden eggs. After a falling out with his childhood friend, the grown-up Puss in Boots is an outlaw seeking redemption (when he isn’t seeking time with the ladies). When his former friend returns to seek his help in finally fulfilling their childhood dream, a fellow thief named Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) convinces Puss to come along, but they’ll have to steal the requisite “magic beans” from Jack and Jill (Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris) before they’ll have any chance reaching a castle in the sky.
As the only character from the Shreck franchise with enough potential built-in baggage to launch a spin-off franchise, DreamWorks Animation spares no effort in creating “an adventure nine lifetimes in the making.” While the 3D doesn’t lend anything spectacular to the film, a solid story, complex characters, and high adventure prove just how far DreamWorks Animation has come along since the first Shreck film. Sequels? Yes, please. Bonus: Guillermo del Toro (also executive producer) as the voice of “The Comandate” who has vowed to imprison Puss in Boots forever!
Leave it to the filmmakers to pair up old onscreen flames Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek. Going all in to carry the film as the lead character this time, Banderas wallows in the role of the dashing outlaw, often spoofing his own work from the Robert Rodriguez’s El Mariachi series and Zorro himself. Hayek’s Kitty Softpaws is considerably downplayed considering some of her similar onscreen roles (often opposite Banderas), balancing out the movie with romantically inclination between the main characters rather than going all sexpot (hey, it’s a family film, okay?) The Shreck-branded penchant for redefining Mother Goose and other children’s stories’ characters has only grown sharper and funnier with age.
Releasing a film like this at the end of October ahead of the Thanksgiving week holiday slate may turn out to be a genius move for DreamWorks, especially given the lack of other family films in theaters currently. What’s next for the cat in the hat and boots? Could be anything, but given how hit and miss the stories were for parts two and three of Shreck (honestly, watch the first one, the last one, and pretend the other two were figments of your imagination), here’s hoping the sequels are as good as this one. If that isn’t enough while you’re waiting, enjoy an entire series of shorts online via YouTube (the one where he’s making fun of the Old Spice Guy is hysterical).
(a four skull recommendation out of four)