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Movie Review: Puss in Boots

October 28, 2011

Puss in Boots – A Paramount Pictures’ Release

http://www.pussinbootsthemovie.com/

Release Date: October 28th, 2011

Rated G for some action and mild rude humour

Running time: 90 minutes

Chris Miller (dir.)

Tom Wheeler (screenplay)

David H. Steinberg (writer)

Jon Zack (writer)

Henry Jackman (music)

Antonio Banderas as Puss in Boots (voice)

Salma Hayek as Kitty Softpaws (voice)

Zach Galifianakis as Humpty Dumpty (voice)

Billy Bob Thornton as Jack (voice)

Amy Sedaris as Jill (voice)

Constance Marie as Imelda (voice)

Guillermo del Toro as Moustache Man / Comandate (voice)

Rich Dietl as Bounty Hunter (voice)

Ryan Crego as Luis (voice)

Bob Joles as Guiseppe (voice)

©Paramount Pictures.  All Rights Reserved.

Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) and Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayak) in DreamWorks Animation’s Puss in Boots.

Our reviews below:

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Puss in Boots Review By John C.

**1/2 (out of 4)

From his adorable eyes to his Corinthian leather boots, the orange Puss (voice of Antonio Banderas) was one of my favourite characters from the last three films in the Shrek series.  DreamWorks Animation’s Puss in Boots finally gives the cat his rightful time to shine in the spotlight.  A good example of a movie that originates from but doesn’t rely on a preexisting series, this an easily entertaining if uneven film that those of any age can enjoy.

We first meet the suave Spanish cat as a humble outlaw looking for his next score.  Teaming up with Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayak) and Humpty Alexander Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis), they plan to steal three magic beans.  The glowing beans will grow into a beanstalk high enough that they can enter the castle in the clouds holding the goose that lays pure gold, in turn paying the debt that they owe to their village.  But with Puss putting the moves on Kitty, we sense some jealously frying inside the egg.

The animation here is excellent, especially in the sequences around town.  A feline night club provides some particularly memorable moments, with the cats believably interacting with each other and their surroundings.  The sometimes sweeping landscapes are equally impressive, regardless of whether or not you choose to pay the extra for 3D.  But the strength of the film really does lie in the character design, especially that of the central cat.  In the Shrek movies, Puss was a lovable sidekick.  Here he gets to play the hero.  Even throughout some of the outrageous fantasy sequences, he still believably acts like a cat.

I enjoyed Puss in Boots, particularly the scenes in the superior first half of the film that focus mainly on the cats.  The character of Humpty Dumpty also generally works well, but I’m not sure if the writers needed to incorporate fractured elements from so many different fairy tales into the main story.  This not only makes the finale feel a little too chaotic, but the real problem I have with the film lies in a couple of the side characters.  Jack (Billy Bob Thornton) and Jill (Amy Sedaris) are of particular annoyance, not serving much purpose in the overall story or outcome, past grating on the nerves.  Without them it would have been that much better.

But all imperfections aside, Puss in Boots is an easily entertaining animated film that will be particularly enjoyed by those who love cats.  The look and tone is often stylish, with some great use of split screens.  Antonio Banderas is predictably excellent in the lead voice role, and I wouldn’t at all mind a sequel that focuses even more solely on the cats.  For the lovable felines alone, Puss in Boots is worth seeing.

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Puss in Boots Review by Erin V.  

**** (out of 4)

Finally the day has come when the Puss in Boots character from the Shrek franchise gets his own movie.  There was a lot of potential to tell his story, and I found this film pretty much succeeds.  With such a strong personality, there is no doubt that this cat was destined to play in a lead role.

In Puss in Boots, Puss (Antonio Bandaras), a cat of high morals who ended up falling into a world of thievery to survive, goes on a quest with the help of Humpty [Alexander] Dumpty (Zach Galiafanakis) and Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) to steal the goose with the golden eggs, repay a debt, and reclaim his honour.  Beyond the present day story, we also get Puss’ backstory through flashback to the time when he was a kitten in his village of San Ricardo.

A minor complaint for some will be that this story could have been told a little more seriously, and maybe even darker in a sense, but I didn’t mind the fantastical elements it ultimately delved into, finding them to fit the fairy tale world that Puss does inhabit.  It is a world where talking cats and eggs amongst humans strangely makes sense.  Overall, I did think the story was well written and revealed who Puss is (and why) well.  With a very storybook feel, in some ways, the film opening and closing with a narration by Puss himself, makes it feel like his own retelling of events – a tale of adventure, whether or not everything happened precisely the way they play out on screen.  Almost the way he would remember and tell the tale himself, with a grand sort of scope.

The best parts of the film are without a doubt those sequences with only the cats.  There is a brilliantly staged chase that culminates in a dance-fight between Puss and Kitty (my two favourite characters) – and it seems as though the swashbuckling Puss has finally met his match.  The animation on the cats is also absolutely gorgeous, with immense detail on the fur and movements.  There is also a bit of stereotypical Dreamworks humour present here, in particular with characters like Jack (Billy Bob Thorton) and Jill (Amy Sedaris), but as their presence in the story is more of a means to an end, they were not in it enough to annoy me personally.

Ultimately, I found the whole film had a fun vibe and a lot of the way it was filmed had the appropriate level of ‘cool’ for Puss – complete with stylistic editing choices, including split screens at times.  There are some amazing shots, utilizing shadow and the orange tones of the desert, making this as always striking on the big screen.  The film is presented in 2D or 3D at different showtimes, although it plays just as well in 2D so you can save the surcharge.  Another element to the film that really worked is the music, with Henry Jackman’s score striking the right Spanish/action music balance, providing the perfect backdrop for Puss’ adventures.  Look for a review of the music in the coming weeks.

To finish, I must say that Puss is such a fun character to watch, with his suave and cool charm brought to life brilliantly by Antonio Bandaras, and for that reason alone, this one is definitely worth seeing and one I look forward to seeing again.  My rating may seem high, but I just had pure fun with this one – the film has its own style and feel that is very fitting for Puss in Boots.

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Puss in Boots Review by Nicole

***1/2 (out of 4)

Everyone remembers the swashbuckling kitty cat from Shrek.  Now he stars in his own movie that rivals the first Shrek film.  We get the backstory of how Puss (Antonio Banderas) grew from orphan kitten to suave cat burglar.  The furry Spanish feline teams up with Humpty Alexander Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis) to find three magic beans that can grow Jack’s legendary skyward beanstalk.  A pretty black and white cat named Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayak) joins up with Humpty and Puss to not only find the beans, but also the goose with the golden eggs.  Trouble is, the villainous Jack and Jill (Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris) also want the goose and the beans.  The movie then follows a quirky path that could have been written by Lewis Carroll.

I loved Puss in Boots.  A big part of that could be that I love cats, but even non cat people will enjoy this film.  The animation is some of the best DreamWorks has ever done.  The cat animation is perfect, being both cute and sophisticated at the same time.  The anthropomorphism is done well, in the style of Beatrix Potter, except with more of an oil painted look.  Humpty Dumpty’s character design seems to be taken from one of Jon Tenniel’s illustrations in Through the Looking Glass.  The entire film has the look and feel of the colour palates in classic children’s books.

The action sequences are really cool, and the cat dance sequences are wonderful.  The musical score by Henry Jackman has a cool Spanish flair, and Puss in Boots has a great spaghetti western feel that oddly works.  This exciting fantasy is sure to become a family classic.

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Puss in Boots Review by Maureen

***1/2 (out of 4)

The cat’s finally out of the bag – DreamWorks Animation’s Shrek franchise spin-off, Puss in Boots is purrfect fun for the whole family.

Self-proclaimed bad kitty, Puss (voiced by Antonio Banderas) tells a good yarn about his early years in the orphanage with his childhood friend, Humpty A. Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis) and their later misadventures involving not so nice Jack and Jill (Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris), some magic beans, a golden goose and some golden eggs.  The oddly woven together tale allows Puss to make amends for past wrongs, make his orphanage mama, Imelda (Constance Marie) proud and most of all win over the equally bad Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek).  She is a delightfully equal match for Puss in every way.

Puss in Boots works best in the sequences that mainly focus on the cats.  In particular, the sequence where Puss first comes paw to paw with Kitty Softpaws in a cat house, is wonderful.  The latin music and dance number rivals many musical numbers in people movies.  Those cats can really move.  The music and score by Henry Jackman sets the Latino tone perfectly throughout the entire movie.

The animation in Puss in Boots is nicely done.  The cats look and move like real cats.  The other fairytale characters have the same stylized look found in the Shrek movies.  Somehow it all works.  But the star attraction without question is Puss.  Antonio Banderas is brilliant as the naughty but nice swashbuckling cat.  With Puss and Kitty having cat eyes for each other a sequel is likely.  Cat lovers of all ages will find Puss in Boots to be the cat’s meow.  Even those who prefer dogs will find the film appealing.  As for 2D vs 3D, let your budget decide.

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Puss in Boots Review by Tony

*** (out of 4)

Puss in Boots is a prequel to the Shrek franchise, with Antonio Banderas reprising the title role. As a wanted outlaw trying to steal magic beans from Jack and Jill (Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris), Puss teams up with rival cat thief Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) and estranged orphanage buddy Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galafianakis). The beans grow into a beanstalk reaching up into the sky castle where the giant’s goose lays golden eggs.

As expected, Puss in Boots has all the wit and swagger we have come to expect with a script full of fun at all levels, simple and safe enough for the youngest kids while providing enough gags to keep grownups laughing. The animation is beautifully rendered, with lots of action and a nice bonus of Flamenco choreography, all accompanied by a fine Henry Jackman score.

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Consensus: Centred around one of the most appealing characters from the popular Shrek franchise, Puss in Boots is a thoroughly entertaining film that features excellent animation and brilliant voice work from Antonio Banderas.  ***1/2 (out of 4)

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Brittany davis permalink
    November 6, 2011 6:57 pm

    Just saw this movie today and it was funny! Even though it’s not as groundbreaking as this year’s “Rio”, a movie that I absolutely love, it’s still entertaining, the animation is beautiful, the voice acting is great, Puss is charming and funny than before, and I would reccommend it.

    Like

    • November 6, 2011 9:19 pm

      Agreed – although not in the same high league as Rio, Puss himself is an incredibly appealing character.

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!

      -John C.

      Like

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