Dir. Chris Miller, USA, 2011, 91 mins
Review by Michelle Moore
Over the past decade, children (and adults) have come to adore the characters of Shrek, Donkey, Fiona and of course Puss in Boots. This winter a new story with a past comes to the big screen. From the studio that bought you How to Train Your Dragon, Shrek and Kung Fu Panda comes Puss in Boots. This computer-animated adventure story is a spin-off prequel to the Shrek franchise and features Puss (Banderas) and his acquaintances in an adventure that takes place before his first appearance in the Shrek franchise.
Directed by Chris Miller, who directed Shrek the Third, the story explores the adventures that Puss got himself into before he came into the lives of Shrek and Donkey. It involves Puss and Humpty (Galifianakis) putting their previous conflicts behind them and working together with Kitty Softpaws (Hayek) to find some magical beans that are in the possession of Jack (Thornton) and Jill (Sedaris). With these beans they could climb the beanstalk and steal the goose that lays the golden eggs, in this case a small cross-eyed gosling. Unfortunately for Puss, things are not always what they seem and his friends may not be as gracious as they first appear.
Except for Puss, the characters in this film are new to us: married murderous outlaws Jack and Jill (transformed from the nursery rhyme’s siblings); mastermind Humpty Alexander Dumpty; the rather rude Little Boy Blue; and an old man in jail known as Jack, who is the original owner of the magic beans. This all contradicts the original, traditional nursery rhymes and confounds expectations but often works very well in terms of building intriguing characters. There are some funny jokes, such as Puss chasing a light on the floor and Humpty saying the line “I’m gonna yoke” when he feels sick. There is even the occasional innuendo, as when a man in a bar mentions the golden goose via a tattoo on his back then asks about golden eggs and tugs at his trousers.
The 3D element of the movie is not as impressive as one may have hoped, but does add interest to some of the scenes, as in one sequence featuring swinging and sliding on vines. Although the 3D aspects may not be first class, other scenes are top quality, such as the dance off between Puss and Kitty Softpaws, when they first bump into each other.
There is nothing particularly groundbreaking or spine tingling about the story, but this film more than makes up for it through characterisation and Puss in Boots should be a firm favourite for the family.
DVD & Blu-Ray Release date: 26th March 2012
‘Purrfect Pairing: The Voices Behind The Legend’ featurette
World Of Dreamworks Animation