Though the Shrek series is incredibly popular, I was never much of a fan. In fact, my reasons for seeing the sequels can be summed up in three words: “Puss in Boots.” I’m a cat lover and I also have an appreciation for Antonio Banderas, so one look into Puss’ huge adorable eyes had the effect of drawing money out of my pocket. Alas, Puss remained a secondary character until this year when he FINALLY got his own spin-off movie. That I would see it was a given, but luckily it also had a promising story:
Legendary outlaw Puss in Boots teams up with his female counterpart and Humpty Dumpty to pull off the ultimate heist: stealing the golden eggs from the castle at the top of the beanstalk.
… not that you got that much from the trailers. Animated trailers are notoriously bad for forgetting to actually say what the movie is about. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the most objective of reviewers when it comes to movies about kitties, but I’ve seen it and you haven’t, so you have to listen to what I think. I think that this movie is much better than any of the Shrek films. AND it’s SOOOOO CUTE!!
Puss in Boots is a prequel to the Shrek films, so the Shrek mainstays (Shrek, Fiona, Donkey, etc.) do not even make so much as a cameo in this film, for which I am profoundly grateful. In fact, the only link between the two films is Puss himself, and also the golden goose (which was in Shrek Forever After) but it was in a different form then so I think it was incidental. The movie set entirely in Spain (fairy tale Spain) so we are therefore free to enjoy Puss’ extreme cuteness and Spanishness without annoying distractions of the British persuasion.
I am a lover… of milk.
In this movie, Puss (Antonio Banderas) is a notorious outlaw who easily terrifies even the toughest human criminals. He’s after a big score – the magic beans that notorious assassins Jack and Jill (Amy Sedaris and Billy Bob Thornton) have somehow managed to get ahold of.
Probably by killing somebody and ripping the beans from their internal organs.
But when he goes to rip them off, another kitty thief interrupts him and spoils the job. Enraged over the interference, he follows the other thief to a cat bar called the Glitter Box (LOL) where he challenges his opponent to a duel that turns into a dance fight because it’s Tuesday (don’t ask).
I’m also not asking about the fact that the other kitty’s mask looks like it came from an S&M shop.
Puss discovers that the other thief is a female named Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek). Most other males would be angry that a girl got the best of them, but Puss is drawn in. He immediately turns on his charm and starts trying to woo her, but stomps off in a huff when he learns she’s working for Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis).
There’s history there, but I’m not going to go into it.
In a very long flashback that puts Kitty to sleep and almost made me forget what the movie was supposed to be about, we learn that Humpty and Puss were BFFs because they grew up in the same orphanage, until Humpty betrayed Puss and made him into an outlaw. Humpty professes to be sorry about it, which is enough when combined with the Kitty Softpaws factor to make Puss take the job.
Hey Puss – I stole your boots again!
Now, I’m not a fan of heist movies, largely because when you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all, but the bean heist is different. They have to steal from other thieves in a wagon train, escape, plant the beans, climb the beanstalk, find the castle, and then steal the eggs from a vigilant monster, all while avoiding the police and the vengeful Jack and Jill. You’ve still got your typical lock picking scenes and high speed chases, but the cloak of fairy tale elements makes it different enough that it’s not boring.
Let them try THIS in Ocean’s Four Million.
The twists in the story are pretty obvious, but I was so blinded by cuteness that I didn’t really care. Puss and Kitty have big, luminous eyes and soft fur that you know an animator spent a lot of time on. They’re tough outlaws, but they’re also cats who do typical cat things, like drink milk, kick litter, lick their bums, and chase spots of light, and the contrast made me laugh out loud often.
Oooh! A spot! Must have the spot!
I didn’t really like Humpty, mostly because he wasn’t cute, but he is essential to the story because he’s the one with the plan, the ambitions, and the gadget skills that are always an essential element in any heist. He can also be pretty funny, by dint of being egg shaped and wearing a squeaky golden set of egg-shaped tights to help him camouflage himself among the golden eggs.
This is the only time I have ever heard tight outfits squeak in a movie.
The ending is happy, of course, happier even than any of the Shrek movies where the villain necessarily has to have something bad happen to them. I won’t give you specifics, but everyone gets something that they want and no one dies… much… for long. Okay, so that aspect is a little confusing. You’ll know what I mean when you see it.
But it’s okay, because there’s a dance scene at the Glitter Box after that.
So should you see it? Heck yeah! It’s cute kitties doing cute kitty things! What more could you want? There’s no reason for you to pay three extra dollars to see it in 3D, but even if you’re not a cat person, you should be able to appreciate when they make jokes about cats or at least enjoy the action/adventure/heist element of the movie. Take your kids. Or just go by yourself. It’s that kind of movie.