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Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (A Movie Review)


Featuring the voices of Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Harvey Guillén, Florence Pugh, Olivia Colman, Ray Winstone, Samson Kayo, John Mulaney, Wagner Moura, Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Anthony Mendez, Kevin McCann, Conrad Vernon, Cody Cameron, Joel Crawford, Natalia Cronembold, Paul Fisher, Miguel Gabriel, Cameron Hales, Januel Mercado and Al Rodrigo.

Screenplay by Paul Fisher and Tommy Swerdlow.

Directed by Joel Crawford.

Distributed by Dreamworks. 102 minutes. Rated PG.

It’s been 11 years since the first Puss in Boots movie, which was very cute if no real masterpiece. It’s been 18 years since the character was introduced into the Shrek franchise in Shrek II. Even adding in a 2012 short called “The Three Diablos,” it’s been a long while since we’ve heard from the swashbuckling feline, so there was no real reason to expect very much of this belated return to the Puss in Boots legend.

Which makes it all the more surprising to find that Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is actually pretty fantastic. It’s better than the first Puss movie, and arguably the best movie in the Shrek universe since the first Shrek.

Talk about regaining lost lives.

Because, of course, that is exactly what The Last Wish is about. The heroic fairytale gato Puss in Boots (again voiced by Antonio Banderas) has been living life as an adventurer and hero for so many years that he has often cheated death. However, he hasn’t always. Being a cat he is limited to nine lives, and he comes to learn that he has used up eight of them.

An encounter with a wolf-like grim reaper (Wagner Moura) makes the fearless Puss suddenly doubt his own mortality. He slinks off to an unassuming retirement in the crowded home of a cat lady, refusing to perform any dangerous acts for fear of losing his last life.

Of course, Puss in Boots was not made for a crotchety retirement, and soon he and his new therapy support dog friend (Harvey Guillén) are drawn back into action by Goldi (Florence Pugh) and the Three Bears (Olivia Colman, Ray Winstone, Samson Kayo), not-so-little Jack Horner (Jordan Mulaney) and his former amor Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek).

They head out on the road to find the legendary “wishing star” – which will grant one wish to the person who finds it. Puss hopes to use the wish to restore his lost eight lives.

The Shrek family of films has always specialized in mining classic fairytales for both its structure and its humor, and happily Puss in Boots: The Last Wish finds some deep veins of gold. (Kevin McCann’s Ethical Bug – who looks like Jiminy Cricket and sounds like Jimmy Stewart – may be worth the price of admission alone.)

However, the real stunner is how far computerized animation has come in the 11 years that have passed since the last Puss in Boots adventure. This film looks stunning, from the shimmering colors of the forests, to the truly disturbing darknesses, it is a technical triumph.

The fact that it is also a very well-written and often funny movie is just a little extra leche on top.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2022 All rights reserved. Posted: December 23, 2022.

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