Featuring the Voices of:
Antonio Banderas as Puss in Boots
Salma Hayek as Kitty Softpaws
Zach Galifianakis as Humpty Dumpty
Billy Bob Thornton as Jack
Amy Sedaris as Jill
Written by Brian Lynch, David H. Steinberg, Tom Wheeler, Jon Zack
Directed by Chris Miller
Running Time: 1:30
Rated PG for adventure action and mild rude humor
Puss in Boots was certainly better than the last two Shrek films, but not as original as the first two.
Puss in Boots is an outlaw cat, running from his past and trying to live in the present. While chasing down Jack & Jill, who have three magic beans, Puss runs into his former old pal Humpty Dumpty who tells him that if they can work together to get the beans, they can finally climb the beanstalk and find the golden goose. Puss, who was burned once before by Humpty, agrees but only because of Humpty's new muscle, Kitty Softpaws who makes Puss weak in the knees. Together they end up in a crazy adventure that ultimately gets them to their goal. But not everyone is who they say they are, and Puss once again realizes he's been had.
Puss in Boots was a strange little film. It was funny in the sense that it took things you find in normal movies and had them done by a cat. But at the same time the humor from that went away quickly so it needed something else... and I'm not sure it quite got there. The animation was pretty good - if you liked Shrek for the visuals you'll dig Puss in Boots - and it had the same type of humor. And there was something to be said about seeing a small egg have a major role in a motion picture. But the movie, beyond a few well-timed lines, wasn't as funny as I had hoped. The action sequences were well done, and there were a few of those, but I didn't laugh as much as I wanted to. The 3D looked good, as it usually does for an animated film, but once again the filmmakers didn't really use it to its full potential.
The voices were pretty good. I honestly didn't recognize Humpty Dumpty or Jack & Jill even though when I saw the credits I thought, oh yeah, that makes sense. Antonio Banderas was his normal smooth self as Puss, and Salma Hayek did well as his love interest/adversary Kitty Softpaws. The story was so-so, with a strange mix of fairy tale and nursery rhymes taking over. Jack & Jill and Humpty Dumpty are old children's nursery rhymes, but Puss in Boots and Jack & the Beanstalk are both fairy tales, right? Or am I not remembering my childhood correctly? It just seemed to be a strange mix and so the story didn't come together quite right. Puss and Humpty were childhood friends who were trying to get the magic beans that Jack ended up with, but somehow Jack & Jill ended up with them. And not only did they have the power to create the giant beanstalk to them them to Jack's castle in the sky, it also gave them other powers? Where did that come from? And what made Jack & Jill so mean? I feel like there's a short film in there somewhere. And then Humpty wanted to get the goose who laid the golden eggs just so he could... well I never did figure that out. Just because he could? To take over the town where he was raised in an orphanage? I suppose in the end it doesn't really matter - who goes to these movies for a story, right?
You go to these movies to be entertained, and after the initial enjoyment of seeing a cat dance-off and meeting all the characters, I felt the movie quickly ran out of steam, but kept on going for a full 90 minutes. The original two Shrek films did a fantastic job of throwing in a ton of humor for both kids and adults while adding in action scenes and a decent story. Puss in Boots didn't have the characters to pull that off. I guess I feel like Puss is a good supporting character, but not strong enough to lead a movie, unless he too had a good supporting cast. And again, while it was funny seeing a small evil (deviled?) egg in a lead role, it wasn't like having Shrek, Donkey and Puss fighting together. Puss isn't the right straight man and there were no really funny supporting players. Except for the one cat who kept going 'oooooohhhh' during the dance-off. I would have liked for him to stick around. I think if they do a sequel they really need to come up with a great sidekick character who can get the laughs from the audience this kind of movie needs. I also kept hoping for a cameo appearance from the original gang, but there was none. Maybe they'll do a Donkey movie - now there's a character that could lead a movie and be the funny man. I can see him and Puss doing a movie together - the two of them would play well off of each other since Eddie Murphy can be hysterical when he's working with the right material. So here's me hoping for a Puss & Donkey movie in 2013.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I liked Puss in Boots. I wish it had been a little funnier, but the action sequences were great and the 3D was decent.