Starring the vocal talents of Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, and Zach Galifianakis, this animated movie is simply fun to watch. The eponymous lead character of the film is based on the Puss in Boots character created by the Schrek franchise. The story is set before Shrek, in the same basic world construct, a combination fairytale and pre-industrial age society. This lets the storytellers introduce magic, sword fighting, and cool outfits, as well as seemingly anachronistic elements that are okay because the world is make believe. After all, this is an animated feature.
This version of Puss in Boots gives the viewer a history of the cat, from wastrel orphan to self-styled Zorro-esque hero. Puss is quick on all his feet, fast with his blade, and an expert at romance. He meets his match in the form of Kitty Softpaw, a cat burglar of the highest caliber. Add to the mix Humpty Dumpty, Jack and Jill, and some entertaining support characters and you get a delightful romp of swashbuckling kitties, adventure, treasure, friendship, and love. What more could you want?
Part of what makes Puss in Boots wonderful is the brilliant casting of Banderas and Hayek. Their characterizations of Puss and Kitty Softpaws make these animated creatures funny and exciting. It is obvious these two actors enjoyed playing their roles. The animation is creative and bright, giving the movie the feel of a Disney classic, but seriously ramped up. The writing is smart, quick, and witty. Unlike many recent films of this ilk, Puss in Boots avoids most of the clichés and plot shenanigans that make a movie like this unappealing to adults (and some children). The angst is kept to a minimum, there’s little self-doubt by the main characters, and the moral is not hammered home so frequently that it overshadows the entertainment value. That said, good does triumph over evil, and honesty is the best policy.
Puss in Boots is a great example of what DreamWorks can do when it has a strong script and does not dumb down the story. Combining parts of various fairytales, this animated spinoff hits its mark over and over again. People who are fond of creatures of the feline persuasion may especially enjoy the film. It has numerous cat jokes that appeal to anyone who enjoys the company of a purring pet. In 2011, Puss in Boots was among the Academy Award nominees for Best Animated Feature. Personally, I enjoyed it much more than the feature that won. Even if you disagree on that point, you are bound to enjoy Puss in Boots. It’s the Cat’s Meow.
Check the WRL catalog for Puss in Boots