Shrek 2 was the first time we met the adorable little ginger feline called Puss in Boots, who was so loved that he scored his own spin off movie. Now, Puss is back for his second instalment due to hit the big screens this Christmas season, with Puss in Boots: The Last Wish.
We catch up with Puss at the start of the film in a big musical number, with him doing what he does best, charming villagers, stealing from the rich, and slaying monsters that threaten to destroy homes and livelihoods. Now, we all know that cats have nine lives, but unfortunately after all his years of adventures, Puss finds himself down to his last and due for retirement after facing off with a formidable bounty hunter known as The Big Bad Wolf.
The wolf promised if he catches Puss again, that will be the end for him! But for any adventure loving cat, retirement just isn’t for him, and Puss is lured back to his old ways by his past love Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayak) and new friend Perrito, a tiny little dog. The three join forces to find the last wish to solve all their problems forever, but first they must evade a very cockney Goldielocks and the Three Bears, and a grown-up Jack Horner.
I must admit, I can’t remember seeing the original Puss in Boots film, but I remember his role in Shrek 2. For me, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish was pretty stand alone and I was able to keep up with the story, though there may have been some joke that went over my head without prior context. But that’s no issue, as the jokes are coming thick and fast!
As with most animated films these days, the joke hit on many levels, for both kids and adults, which is something I really love with modern kids films. While there are plenty of laughs, the film has a darker side to it, dealing a lot with death and similar dark themes. To be frank, The Big Bad Wolf was pretty intimidating with his dark presence, glowing eyes, and razor-sharp knives. I think he might be a bit scary for much younger viewers.
The introduction of Perrito, a ratty little therapy dog, gave a good dynamic to the team, and great comic relief. Voiced by Harvey Guillen, with wonderful comedic timing, Perrito gets the laughs with ease, delivering often innocent lines that will have you giggling. Antonio Banderas returns to voice Puss and has a much more serious tone compared to his colleagues. As usual Banderas does a fantastic job and is perfectly suited to this character.
I was a huge fan of the animation style used on this film, changing tack from the traditional DreamWorks computer generated and highly rendered style to a more organic, gritty, and almost comic book style of animation. It draws to a similar style as Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse, which I also really loved. The style of animation made the film’s visual feel more like a fairy tale, which I can really appreciate.
The overarching story of Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is great. It is a story of friendship, selflessness, and doing the best you can to look after those you love. It’s also about being true to yourself and triumphing over your fears. While it does deal with some dark aspects of life and death, that shouldn’t overshadow the true meaning, and I think that this is a film that will be loved, by both young and old.
I sure know that I loved Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, despite having low expectations when initially heading in to see it. For me, this is the holiday film to see this year!
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish opens in cinemas on Boxing Day (December 26).