"Puss In Boots" (2011)

Rating: PG
Genre: Action, Animation, Comedy, Family
Directed By: Chris Miller
Written By: Chris Miller, Tom Wheeler
Released: December 9th, 2011
Runtime: 90 minutes
Studio: Paramount/Dreamworks

Long before meeting Shrek, Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) -- just named a hero for saving a woman from a charging bull -- is run out of town on suspicion of bank robbery, even though the real villain is Puss' friend, Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis). Though there is still animosity between them, Puss and Humpty reunite to steal a goose that lays golden eggs. Joining them for the adventure of nine lifetimes is notorious cat burglar, Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek).

If you were a fan of the Shrek movies, you’ll love this. Even if you for some reason have never watched Shrek (if you haven’t, remedy this immediately!!) it still holds its own.

The characters are all new to us bar Puss In Boots, whose character is expanded and developed very well. Aside from Donkey, of all the characters Puss In Boots seems like a great choice to make a spin off movie about. He’s one of our favourites in the Shrek universe. A crafty, cunning womanising feline with a warm heart. I would love a movie made about Donkey though! I live in hope! 

The new characters we meet along the way in this movie are all engaging too. As with Shrek, they are all taken from famous and much-loved Fairy Tales. Humpty Dumpty serves as our eventual antagonist, with him and Puss going back a few years. Personally, I found his character extremely irritating but I think we’re supposed to!! The backstory between him and Puss is plausible and quite touching. Jack and Jill serve as our other villains right the way through. I always thought in the rhyme these two were siblings – I just took this for granted. But I guess having them in a non-familial relationship offered more jokes and opportunity for development in the story.

Kitty-Soft-Paws is the only character not taken from a Fairy Tale – that I know of at least. She seems to be created to serve as a romantic interest for our hero. She’s just as sassy and cunning as Puss and makes for a great heroin. Her not having claws, while sad, makes for an interesting character attribute.

The plot overall revolves around the search for magic beans to find the golden eggs, referencing the Fairy Tale, Jack And The Beanstalk. It’s a plausible opportunistic choice to source a plot. It all adds to the humour. 

Speaking of the humour, much of it comes from spoofing clich├ęd film moments and/or plot ideas. The film knows they’re cheesy and exploits them for our amusement. This is why it works. More of the humour comes from the simple fact that Puss is a cat…and no matter how bad-ass a cat he is, a cat is still going to do what a cat is going to do. Dainty little licks from a jar of milk in a bar, forgetting himself playing with a bauble or piece of yarn, having cat-nip in his belongings. Sometimes these moments made for the funniest in the film.

This is a great family film with something for everybody of all ages.