Puss In Boots

Posted on October 27, 2011 at 6:00 pm

The popular feline bandit of the “Shrek” series gets his own feature film, one that is less of a fractured fairy tale and more of a swashbuckler.  Antonio Banderas returns as the voice of Puss in Boots, the cat with the heart of a lion — and the eyes of a cute little kitty.

This is a prequel, set in a fanciful Spanish countryside, showing us Puss’ life as an orphan, his early friendship with Humpty Dumpty, the betrayal that led him to become an outlaw, and his efforts to find redemption.

“What can I say?  I was a bad kitty,” he tells us as he bids farewell to a pretty feline whose name he can’t quite remember.  He is “a fugitive from the law, searching for a way to clear my name.”  He walks into a bar and silences the snickering caballeros, telling them, “You don’t want to make the cat angry.”  He is looking for a way to score but he has his own set of values: no stealing from churches or orphans.

Magic beans, on the other hand, are another story, especially if they have already been stolen.  And it turns out that the magic beans have special significance to Puss and to his old friend.

Puss makes a new friend, too, a hooded fellow thief who wants the same beans.  At first, in a charmingly designed cat hide-out, they compete against each other with an hilarious dance-off.  But then the thief removes the hood and is revealed to be the notorious Softpaw, a brilliant and beautiful female thief (voice of Banderas’ “Desperado” co-star Salma Heyek).  And they are joined by Humpty, though their history makes it difficult for Puss to trust him.

The beans are magic, and the beanstalk takes them to a cloud-land where they find the goose that lays golden eggs.  Or, as Softpaw puts it, “It’s a gold pooper; we’re taking it.”  Will this be a chance for Puss to right past wrongs?  Or will it just make him an even badder kitty?

Less visually striking, less funny, and less heart-warming than the Shrek movies and with completely unnecessary 3D, it is a step down for the series.  The kitty hide-out and dance-off are well handled and there are some funny moments, but the death of a major character is too jarring for younger children.  Puss is a better supporting player than a star.

Parents should know that this film has mild non-explicit jokes about a one night stand, whether a couple should have a baby, and marijuana, some potty humor, and swashbuckling adventure action with characters in peril.  One character sacrifices himself to save others and is killed (off-screen).


Family discussion: Why did Puss and Humpty become friends?  Why did they have different ideas about fairness and loyalty?  What can people do to make up for past mistakes?


If you like this, try: the Shrek movies, Disney Animation Collection 1: Mickey & Beanstalk, and the original story of Puss in Boots

Related Tags:


3D Action/Adventure Animation Based on a book Comedy Fantasy Series/Sequel Talking animals

8 Replies to “Puss In Boots”

  1. Phil McNally wrote:
    New York Times – Stephen Holden
    The movie’s most remarkable feature is a spectacular use of 3-D that raises the bar for a mainstream animated film. Avoiding the usual stereoscopic clichés, “Puss in Boots” often looks multidimensional, especially its action sequences.

    The Hollywood Reporter – Todd McCarthy
    Puss in Boots is about as good as Hollywood animators have gotten thus far in visualizing a film from a three-dimensional point of view. In the assorted chases, sword fights, dance interludes, ascents into the clouds, perilous treks through forest and jungles and even more conventional dialogue scenes, it’s clear that the filmmakers have diligently applied themselves to conceiving the shots from dynamic dramatic perspectives that would make use of 3D as a constructive tool and not just a gimmick. As a result, this is one film for which paying the extra-dimensional fare can be enthusiastically recommended.

    Variety – Peter Debruge
    Miller and his team have supplied no shortage of spectacle along the way, using stereoscopic 3D to whisk audiences through gorgeously rendered spaces. Puss’ initial pursuit of Kitty across the town balconies and roofs is a virtuoso use of the technique, as are later sequences, including the characters’ dynamic canyon chase and beanstalk ride.

    Boston Globe – Ty Burr
    Just as the 3-D revolution is sailing over the edge of the cliff to overpriced, under-produced ruin, here comes “Puss in Boots.’’ I don’t know if it will be enough to save the technology – I’m not sure I want it to – but, man, does this thing look good. The landscapes in DreamWorks’ latest computer-animated return to Fairy Tale-land have a richness of detail and an illusion of depth that makes every other 3-D job this year (yes, you too, “Lion King’’) look like cut-and-paste hackwork.

    Don’t talk about 3D when you know nothing about it.

    1. Thanks for sharing these quotes, Lisa! I’d like to remind you that there is a difference between expertise and opinion, and neither is based on taking a poll. I am glad to hear the comments of my distinguished colleagues and while we disagree on the quality of the 3D in this film, I know we agree that the assessment should be subjective, based on the individual experience of each critic in watching the film. In my opinion neither the script nor the 3D effects here were close to those in films like “Despicable Me” and “How to Train Your Dragon” and the beanstalk was not as effectively rendered as in the 2D Mickey Mouse film. But I am grateful for your comment, which will help those who visit the site to consider whether they should spend the extra money to see it in 3D.

  2. We just got back from watching the movie. My husband and I found it very boring so boring, that we both fell asleep.

    I thought it was just us, adults. But I turned to look at my nine yr old and she fell asleep. It lacked humor. The kids in the audience were quiet and only laughed in the first 10 mins but afterward pure silence.

  3. First, I did not see this in 3-D so I have no opinion on that. However, I went in without any thoughts of previous shows and found I enjoyed it. I thought the dance off was original and like that as well as seeing a problem trying to be solved by both genders. I always think it sends a good message that either gender is capable and that teamwork is sometimes the best way to solve an issue. My favorite character was Humpy Dumpty and his little hat. I do agree that his personal sacrifice could be a bit much for younger children. Finally, I would like to see these type of films without the unnecessary potty humor.

  4. It’s with some embarrassment that I write this. I didn’t read the reviews before I took my 4 year old. Oops. This is a definite no-go for the little ones, as Nell says. I’m writing this just in case some parents of little ones are having a debate whether or not to show their kiddos this movie. Answer: no. And I’m not super-strict with movies.

    Stealing was a major part of the story. Mean Jack and Jill stole the beans from someone. Cats try to steal the beans. Then the cats steal the golden goose. The stealing continues. Yikes, explain that to a 4 year old. And why is the whole story about stealing? Doesn’t leave much to discuss, other than how stealing is bad.

    Nell mentions the death of a major character. Yikes again. Explain that to a young kid.

    All in all, I’m really disappointed. Disappointed in myself for not having checked reviews (it was playing at the dollar theater — sounded like a fun Saturday afternoon!). Disappointed that the Shrek franchise has gotten this bad.

    1. I’m sorry you had a bad experience, Elisa, but really appreciate your comments and your backing me up on the problems in showing this film to young children.

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