12/19/11

PUSS IN BOOTS - REVIEW


Shrek had a good run.

And for a character I never actually liked all that much, it's amazing the series kept me watching until now. Never a fan I nonetheless looked forward to the antics of the cartoon gang, at least early on.

Although it feels like Puss In Boots should have been made way earlier, say between Shrek 2 and 3, when the joke was still fresh, it seems Antonio Banderas' furry alter-ego still has enough charm left in him to warrant a solo effort. Luckily, Puss In Boots is a breath of fresh air. Forget the tired, endless pop culture references, forget the Fat Bastard-sounding ogre, forget that mouthy Donkey, forget the shitty pop songs: this is where it's at.

By going for a vastly different vibe, focusing more on the characters, the story and the action, Puss In Boots proves itself to be an infinitely more rewarding experience than, say, the last two Shrek movies. Sure, the film retains the lighthearted feel of the original franchise but Puss is an infinitely more interesting and fun character than Shrek and Donkey combined, he was always underused and now he finally gets a chance to entertain on his own.

The story involves Humpty Dumpty (played by the ever great Zach Galifiniakis), Jack & Jill, the magic beans out of Jack & The Beanstalk and the Golden Goose. Oh, and a cat voiced by Salma Hayek, Banderas' Desperado co-star. It all works like a great western with enough magic and action to make sure you're never bored one second. It achieves what Rango couldn't in that it creates a Sergio Leone-style atmosphere whilst never getting too heavy with its overall mood: the film remains light, fresh and completely enjoyable from start to finish. There are enough twists and turns to keep even the biggest Shrek fanatic glued to the screen.

Fun moments include a cat dance-off, a botched attempt at stealing the magic beans and the climb up the beanstalk itself. It's pretty surreal stuff. At one point you actually witness an egg with a bird on its head flying down on a leaf with two cats wearing boots and you just know you're either watching a movie or you died and went straight to Hell.

All that said, the film's not quite perfect: the story at times forgets its own rules, an opportunity to actually touch upon Puss In Boots and Humpty Dumpty's actual respective fairy tale stories is completely skipped, Galifiniakis never gets a chance to truly get goofy and the film lacks at least one genuinely stand-out hilarious moment.

Overall though, this is one fun ride and is about as entertaining and colourful as this year's Kung Fu Panda 2. Check it out!

Oh and please don't hurt your kids by taking them to Arthur Christmas or Happy Feet 2.

Bad kitty.

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