Shrek is a franchise that began brightly, but diminished in quality with more recent instalments. Thankfully spin-off Puss in Boots bucks this trend, offering an entertaining movie that should please family audiences.
Puss in Boots is an outlaw; his face appearing on wanted posters all over town. When he hears about some magic beans, Puss is determined to seek them out, even if it puts him in danger. As he tries to obtain them, Puss finds he has a masked rival after the same treasure…
Puss in Boots works successfully as a origins tale of one of the best-loved characters in the Shrek franchise. Although the character first appeared in another film series, Puss in Boots functions as a stand-alone film. The film launches into the action almost immediately, before a lengthy flashback fills in Puss’ background. The narrative has some predictable aspects, but pacing is good.
Like the franchise that spawned it, Puss in Boots is made enjoyable through its use of humour. The comedy operates on different levels, with something to appease a wide age demographic. The universal humour is great; it is sufficient in quality to amuse adults as well as children. References and jokes geared towards older viewers also work well, for example the allusion to James Bond at the very beginning is an amusing introduction. Like Shrek, some of the humour relies on knowledge of fairy tales, with well-known characters being altered to suit the narrative and generate laughs.
Antonio Banderas does a fine job voicing the title character. Salma Hayek rises to the challenge as Kitty Softpaws, while Zach Galifianakis is perfectly cast as the voice of Humpty Dumpty. Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris offer their talents as a very alternative Jack and Jill.
The animation in Puss in Boots is luscious. Particularly striking is Puss’ fur, which appears incredibly realistic. Like a lot of CGI animated films, the 3D works well in providing depth. The soundtrack provides a great accompaniment to the on-screen action, with music integral to the bar scene.
Puss in Boots will give viewers what the expect; a fun, family animation which offers all the ingredients to entertain this audience.