Puss in Boots is the latest attempt from DreamWorks Animation to cash in on the Shrek franchise, but does it work? Let’s take a look back:
Shrek: An absolute classic example of a seemingly hopeless romance. Shrek can be compared to life in general, which is the number one thing any form of media should go for.
Shrek 2: Another great example of how couples deal with jealousy. Trying to become something you’re not, but then to realize that you were perfect all along. Another common theme in books and film. Okay, but not as good as Shrek.
Shrek the Third: This movie was… more disappointing. I think that it tried to add more action and power sequences in order to bring more eyes over. But in this it sacrificed its theme, its heart, its core.
Shrek Forever After: Credit where it’s due: here DreamWorks tried to get out of the pit that Shrek the Third got them in — by pretty much repeating the theme of Shrek 2. Person wants to live another way, person achieves this, person misses old way, person gets old way back. And yet, even if we can get past the fact that the producers are running out of ideas for the franchise, this movie still was mostly focused on its flawed action.
Now, they claimed that they were done, that they were wrapping up the Shrek story. Which is technically true, but they aren’t departing before saying goodbye with their newest film Puss in Boots.
Puss in Boots is a Mexican cat (voiced, once again, by Antonio Banderas) with a musketeer-esque personality. His main gimmick is his remarkable ability to use adorableness in order to manipulate those around him. Having been introduced in Shrek 2, the audience had no idea where he was in the original film, and so DreamWorks made this prequel.
While dealing with the same franchise, one has to ask him or herself: “Can this do as well as or better than my previous works?” If this fails then the series will end up in a rapidly accelerating downward slope much like the one expressed above.
You have to remember though: this isn’t the same franchise. The Shrek franchise had to focus in on the continuing story of the ogre family, and that wasn’t working out. But this film offers the opportunity to completely reinvent an underdeveloped character in a way that doesn’t require fitting in the same characters. In simpler terms, the only thing the writers had to do is make Puss in Boots the main character. Everything else was free game.
The plot was much better than the last Shrek film. Puss is an outlaw and a thief who sees his big chance at achieving his ultimate dream: Finding the magic beans needed to steal the golden eggs found at the castle in the sky. He attempts this with the help of Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek), a heroine cat with a knack for pickpocketing; and Humpty Alexander Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis), an intelligent childhood friend who is (you guessed it) an egg.
It tells of an outlaw on the run, sliding around the country, a tiny little thing that can slip his way through the town unnoticed. The casual image of a thief is unappealing; someone who sneaks into your house, steals things, and gets out. But a tiny thief? You can forgive him, and just laugh at his impressive skill.
Of course, as with almost all movies, there was a worm in the apple, and it was pretty big worm — Humpty Dumpty. He just didn’t work! He was too clichéd, too as-you-would-expect in a movie going for the opposite.
The plot was strong, the animation and 3D were flawless, but my God, that damn egg!
Age Recommendation: It’s a kid’s film, so I think that it is appropriate for kids. There is one death or injury (not gonna say which) which may trouble some kids, but I’d say that if your kid can watch the first chapter of Finding Nemo, they’ll be fine. If you are a big kid, i.e., an adult, then you should also enjoy Puss in Boots.
Final Verdict: 6.5/10. It was cute. Not as good as Shrek but way better than Shrek Forever After, that’s for sure.