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Puss In Boots Review

Director: Chris Miller

Cast: Antonia Banderas, Zach Galafianakas, Salma Hayek

Running Time: 90 min

Certificate: PG

Synopsis:  A tale about the events leading up to Puss meeting Shrek and how he got those infamous boots!

We all should remember Puss in Boots from Dreamworks animation studios hit SHREK 2 (2004), shouldn’t we? He was the sword fighting kitty (voiced by Antonio Banderas) with the large hypnotic eyes that convinced even the coldest foes to obey. Not ringing any bells? Maybe that’s because he was kind of overshadowed by that sassy sidekick Donkey (voiced by Eddie Murphy). But no more! Some studio overlord saw enough potential in this ginger bundle of fur to give him his own spin off.

This prequel to SHREK gives the biographical background of how Puss came upon those infamous boots mixing in some other fun fairytale characters along the way. Who knew that Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galafianakas) grew up in an orphanage in Spain with Puss? Humpty was a ‘bad egg’ and took to crime, his final act robbing the bank in their hometown San Richardo, tricking Puss into aiding him and tarnishing his name. Puss has been looking for a way to gain forgiveness in his town ever since. Stumbling into a bar, he hears the legendary magic beans are in the possession of famed outlaws Jack (Billy Bob Thornton) and Jill (Amy Sedaris), and believes the eggs of the golden goose in the castle in the clouds are the only way to get this forgiveness he so craves.

Despite the heavy riffing on fairytale lore, at times the sexual innuendo in this film pushes the boundaries a little too far. Puss is supposed to be some hot Spanish lothario leaving a bevy of lady cats in his wake. Subtle references are given to his sexual prowess which may make for uncomfortable viewing if attending with children. He is also given a love interest in Kitty Soft Paws (Salma Hayek) a sexy masked cat in league with ‘The Egg’. Kitty is the ultimate thief due to the fact she has been de-clawed ( a tragedy quite glossed over in the film as a whole). Film makers shouldn’t treat the child viewer as too naive to pick up on these references, nor as stupid enough to be aused by a random cat popping up at various points making a narrative ‘ooo’ sound.

The film attempts to strike  a balance between the adult and kid friendly jokes with grown up film references as well, for instance Puss and Humpty created ‘Bean Club’ where the rules are illustrated in the vein of FIGHT CLUB (1999) (‘the first rule of Bean Club is not to talk about Bean Club’) which falls a little flat.

One area in which the film excelled however was the special effects arena. It uses the 3D resource to the full, truly seeming multidimensional. I am not usually a fan of 3D, it makes me feel vaguely dizzy. In this film however there are several breathtaking scenes: a flamenco inspired fight  in an underground cat bar between Kitty Soft Paws and Puss, when the bean stalk shoots into the clouds, Jack and Jill’s chase, where Humpty’s cleverly designed wagon spreads wings and takes off into the air saving them from plummeting off a cliff…

Early on the film you get the sense that this wannabe picaresque tale doesn’t have a particularly cohesive plot. The moral of the story is not clear; we get a sense that it’s about revenge and forgiveness – important morals for the child audience – but this isn’t given any weight and so ends up having little resonance.

PUSS IN BOOTS is a fun feel good film that will give you a few giggles. A good film to pass the time if there’s nothing else on. Could be left for DVD viewing, however.

PUSS IN BOOTS arrives in cinemas on the 9th December 2011



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