Review: Puss In Boots

Now in his fourth screen appearance Puss In Boots is back, this time in his own film. The story for which is the typical mish-mash of various fairytales into one storyline…with varying results.

The plot of the film is that Puss (Antonio Banderas) and Humpty Dumpty, voiced by Zach Galifianakis, grow up in an orphanage together in a small Mexican village. Humpty is obsessed by the myth of a magic beanstalk that leads to a castle filled with golden eggs. After many failed attempts to find the magic beans that produce such a beanstalk, Humpty and Puss start to find other ways to amuse themselves. This leads to a life of crime ending finally with a bank robbery which goes wrong; Puss finds himself branded an outlaw and Humpty is left behind to face the music.

Flash forward to the present and Puss has been told that Jack and Jill have the magic beans; his attempt to steal them is foiled by another cat. After a brief chase and a ‘dance-fight’, the cat – a she – reveals herself to be Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek), a sexy and deadly thief who is in league with Humpty to steal the golden eggs to make up for the  foiled bank robbery of his youth. So off they all set on a mission to take the eggs together while evading the murderous Jack and Jill.

From here on in the film unfolds with all the predictability of these digital animations: someone isn’t quite who they seem to be, emotions start to get in the way of the mission, the bad guys might not be all bad, things don’t go quite as planned with the mission, etc, etc. And the problem is that we’ve kind of seen this film done with much more depth four times previously in the Shrek franchise. This feels very much like a paint-by-numbers spin-off, and spin-offs very often don’t work anywhere near as well as the original movie.

This is not to say that it’s an inferior film; the graphics match the high standards set previously and the voice cast is proficient, though not outstanding (minus Banderas, whose voice is rich and conveys all the correct emotions perfectly). But the plot is a bit loose and there are no real stand-out set pieces that will stay with you, apart from the trick Puss does with his eyes to make himself  look cute which, even after four films, still works.

It’s a shame that this film wasn’t better, but the Shrek films are so popular and well made that it never really stood a chance.

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