Posted October 28, 2011 by David Watson in Films
 
 

Puss In Boots


A prequel with catitude! People are starting to talk. They’re worried about me. Deeply worried. And disturbed.

A prequel with
catitude!

People are starting to talk. They’re worried about me. Deeply worried.
And disturbed. You see, Puss In Boots is the second animated
talking animal film I’ve seen in as many weeks. And, like last week’s Happy
Feet Two
, I loved it.

Framed for a crime he didn’t commit, wanted feline
fugitive Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas)
lives as an outlaw, always one step ahead of the law. With a price on his head and every bounty hunter in the land
out to capture him and claim the reward, he survives as a thief and sword for
hire.

But, while trying to steal some legendary magic beans from
the brutal criminals Jack and Jill (Billy Bob Thornton & Amy Sedaris), Puss meets his match in
the seductive cat burglar Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek).

Joining forces with her and the old friend who betrayed him and forced
him to become a desperado, Humpty Alexander Dumpty (Zach Glifiankis),
they plot to use the beans to storm the Giant’s castle and steal the goose that
lays the golden eggs. But can Puss
really trust Kitty and Humpty? And
will he be able to clear his name and save his village?

The best thing about the last two Shrek films wasn’t Mike Myers
increasingly hard-to-love ogre or Eddie Murphy’s teeth-grindingly
irritating Donkey, it was the charming, urbane, and very, very, very cute,
pint-sized assassin (originally hired to kill Shrek) Puss in Boots. Riffing on his swashbuckling Zorro
image, Antonio Banderas’ brought a lusty, Latin swagger to the role making the
vain, deluded Puss a seductive, likeable hero, delighting audiences and
stealing the film out from under its stars. It was a pretty safe bet then that Puss would star in his
own spin-off movie. What’s
surprising is just how much fun it is.

Brighter and more fun than the Shrek movies, Puss In Boots
wisely ditches the nudge-nudge-wink-wink, gratingly unfunny, inside jokes,
knowing American pop culture references and abundance of fart gags that
peppered the previous films, director Chris Miller delivering a smart,
funny, stand-alone movie, sure to entertain children and adult audiences alike,
that draws on Spaghetti Westerns, classic film noir and Japanese monster movies
as much as on traditional fairy tales. Visually stunning, the film’s 3D pulls you dizzyingly into
the action with an early rooftop chase and dance-duel between Puss and Kitty a
spectacular highlight.

While Zach Galifiankis is pretty one-note, yet again turning in his
patented needy, sociopathic manchild act instead of a performance as the conniving
Humpty, Banderas is purr-fect (I’m sorry, I had to) as Puss and his reunion
with Desperado and Frida co-star Hayek (as Kitty Softpaws who
really should have been a character in a Bond movie) crackles with energy and
sexual chemistry, their romantic banter reminiscent of the rat-a-tat dialogue of
a classic Howard Hawks movie and Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris also
make a fine pair of menacing Redneck villains.

It may not be the most ground-breaking intellectual fare on offer and may
lose its way a little in the final act with Puss forced to save the village
from an angry Mother Goose of Godzilla-sized proportions but Puss In
Boots
never takes itself too seriously. It’s consistently entertaining and you don’t have to be a
cat person to enjoy it.

Fast, frenetic fun for the whole family, Puss In Boots is an
old-fashioned adventure romp, the kind of film you’d have loved as a kid. And
yes it is that Guillermo del Toro
executive producing and providing some of the incidental voices.

But seriously, people are
worried about me.


David Watson

 
David Watson is a screenwriter, journalist and 'manny' who, depending on time of day and alcohol intake could be described as a likeable misanthrope or a carnaptious bampot. He loves about 96% of you but there's at least 4% he'd definitely eat in the event of a plane crash. Email: david.watson@filmjuice.com