Anthony's Film Review
Puss in Boots (2011)
Puss in Boots is nothing spectacular, but at least it's a fun adventure...
With the series of Shrek films having come to an end, DreamWorks Animation needed some new ideas to put forth. Fortunately, there was an easy solution: a spinoff film featuring a secondary character from Shrek. Hence, we have Puss in Boots, whose title character first appeared in Shrek 2. It's not a bad choice. When I saw Shrek 2, I liked the furry orange cat that could fight with a rapier but could still look cute (mainly to distract his foes). A character like that may be a good star for his own movie.
Like the Shrek films, Puss in Boots involves a story that spins elements from children's fairy tales. Here, Puss is an outlaw who is seeking riches and learns about a set of magic beans that could grant him just that. This is where two familiar stories come in: Jack and the Beanstalk, and Jack and Jill. The beans in this movie grow into a giant beanstalk that leads to a castle in the sky where a goose lays golden eggs. As for Jack and Jill, they are not a boy and girl walking up a hill to fetch a pail of water before tumbling down the hill. Rather, they are a fat middle-aged couple with outlaw personas. These two are the ones possessing the magic beans.
To retrieve these beans, Puss reluctantly forms an alliance with two other characters. One is Kitty Softpaws, who is very much a skilled feline fighter like Puss, not to mention a pretty good dancer. The other is Humpty Dumpty, a walking talking egg. While there is some chemistry between Puss and Kitty, the real focus seems to be the relationship between Puss and Humpty. In an interesting backstory, Puss and Humpty were close friends since being raised in the same orphanage in the Spanish village of San Ricardo. The two drifted apart when Puss became a hero for the town while Humpty was ignored, and when Humpty does something that gets him as well as Puss into deep trouble.
The first half of the film moves pretty quickly. The humor, if there is any to notice at all, is pretty subtle, but the action and adventure are decent. The second half is where things get pretty interesting. Just when you think there won't be any twists or turns, a surprise with one of the characters comes up. Then there is a surprise about a character's true motive, before one final twist involving a change of heart. Hopefully, I'm not spoiling anything with this description, but I mention it because I liked how Puss in Boots ultimately does not use a good guy-bad guy cliche in its story.
Just for this effort to be a bit creative, I'm giving Puss in Boots some credit, and I can say that I sufficiently enjoy it all the way through. Again, it's not the humor that makes the film work. It's simply the action, the adventure, and the story. I also give credit to the voice actors for the three main characters: Antonio Banderas as Puss, Salma Hayek as Kitty, and Zach Galifianakis as Humpty. With all of this, Puss in Boots can certainly have its own series, just as Shrek had a set of sequels.
For more information about Puss in Boots, visit the Internet Movie Database.