Directed by Chris Miller. Starring Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis.
Shrek spin-off with the uber lovable Puss In Boots in the lead, this film is relatively good entertainment if a tad predictable and thrill-less.
If you asked anyone which Shrek character they’d like to have his/her own film then most would say Antonio Banderas’s Puss In Boots. I would agree (but I do secretly harbour a wish for Pinocchio to get his own film) and considering the last two Shrek films weren’t that great, you’d hope a new franchise with Puss would be brilliant. But it isn’t the cat’s whiskers.
The origins of Puss are traced in this film, back to his days in the town of San Ricardo where he was left at the steps of an orphanage and taken in. There he befriends Humpty Dumpty (Zack Galifianakis) and they grow up with dreams of finding magic beans that will lift them to the sky via beanstalk to the goose that lays the golden eggs (Humpty’s dream, basically). But Humpty is a bad egg and after getting both of them into trouble with the law, they go their separate ways. Until one day, they face each other again trying to abduct three magic beans from fairy tale characters Jack (Billy Bob Thornton) and Jill (Amy Sedaris), now old, fat and seriously treacherous (sort of like Bonnie and Clyde).
Since our ‘very good lover’ needs a sidekick, we have Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) joining him, eventually. She’s good but her character in a mask reminded me of Catwoman; I wonder if that was intentional. And while Antonio’s Puss is near perfect in his purr..formance (I had to!), in my opinion the real hero of the film is Humpty Dumpty. His character is more complex and deep. His motives aren’t always clear but you realise at the end that it isn’t simple greed or revenge that fuel his sadistic plans.
The 3D is alright for the most part and brilliant when they take sweeping ground level shots of barren ‘Western’ plains. In fact there are quite a few low level shots, sorta getting down to feline eye line, seeing the world as they see it (I get to see it sometimes when I’m on all fours playing with my dog Eddie).
As for the jokes, they’re not laugh out loud. Some of them are downright cliche and flat, but there are one or two zingers in there like the one about ‘cats always land on their feet, which is actually just a rumour spread by dogs’. Oh and when Puss laps up his shot of milk, that’s priceless too..
A bit of music, a bit of dance, a bit of furry fuzzball moments make Puss In Boots a likeable enough film but there’s nothing tremendously funny or different about it that sets it apart from the other dozen 3D animated films we’ve seen this year.