Puss In Boots (2011)

DVD Cover (DreamWorks)
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Overall Rating 66%
Overall Rating
Ranked #1,038
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Connections: Puss In Boots Shrek

An outlaw cat, his childhood egg-friend, and a seductive thief kitty set out in search for the eggs of the fabled Golden Goose to clear his name, restore his lost honor, and regain the trust of his mother and town. --IMDb
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Review by Crispy
Added: November 7, 2011
With the Shrek franchise apparently completed, Dreamworks had to find a new way to milk some moolah from their biggest cash cow. Enter a spinoff of one of its more popular characters: the charismatic Puss in Boot.

An origin story, the film follows the events of his kitten-hood and rise to outlaw fame. Puss (Antonio Banderas) was abandoned and grew up in an orphanage, his only friend the nerdy Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis). Together, the pair schemed for years to find the magic beans of legend. As they grew up, said schemes resulted in brushes with the law time and time again; until a chain of events put an elderly woman in the path of a raging bull. On instinct, Puss leaps into action, saves the woman, receives a pair of boots for his heroics, and absolutely falls in love with being the good guy. Humpty is none too pleased with this development, and tricks his friend into helping him rob the bank. Puss gets away, now wanted by the law, but Humpty is caught. Years later, Puss receives a tip that those legendary beans are in the hands of the dastardly Jack and Jill (Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris); however, the robbery attempt is foiled by a second masked, feline felon. In anger, Puss chases his rival to a cat dive, where he finds out she is the notorious Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek), perhaps the most proficient pickpockets in the world. Furthermore, she is working alongside his old friend, Humpty, who, seeking redemption, has developed a plan to steal the beans and use the golden eggs to repay his past transgressions. Despite his grudge against Humpty's betrayal, Puss joins these two, looking to clear his own name.

Aesthetically, the movie is absolutely amazing. Dreamworks has spent over ten years fine tuning their CGI animation, and the results can definitely be seen in details such as Puss' fur and the liquid physics of a saucer of milk splashing on the floor. However, even the choreography and direction makes this a visual treat. Puss and Kitty's first encounter in particular was an amazing scene. As the two begin to square off, all the other cats in the bar begin to close in. Slowly, one of them starts stroking on some fish bones, then another slowly begins beating a drum, and so on and so forth, before building into a crescendo and the scene takes off. It was masterfully put together. Also, the film repeatedly used the technique of splitting the screen into separate boxes, each showing a different angle or character during the particular intense sequences. It may not be the most original of maneuvers, but the execution was incredible.

Unfortunately, the humor falls short more often than not. Indeed, I found more laughs in the little gags here and there than the true jokes. Things like Puss preparing to take a shot (of milk, of course) before quickly lapping from the shot glass, or the "Ooooooh" cat were pretty funny, but I didn't see much humor in, say, Jack's motherly instinct or the villain's true motivation. It was definitely ridiculous, but more in that "seriously?" realm than actual humor. Not that there's a problem with gag humor, The Addams Family is pretty much all gag humor, but in a franchise such as this, I expect a bit more consistency.

Still, even though it's not a laugh a minute, the entertainment value offered by the action/adventure aspects is able to salvage the whole affair. It's nowhere near the league of its parent franchise, but Puss in Boots is still a worthy chapter. 7/10.
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