TL;DR – A fun delight of a film that goes hard thanks to the charisma of Antonio Banderas
Post-Credit Scene – There is something after the credits, but you do not need to stay for it
Disclosure – I was invited to a screening of this film
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish Review –
When I think back, there will always be a soft spot in my heart for the Shrek series, even the later films that did not quite hit the same mark. The characters and world were always a delight as they took what was familiar and made a modern twist to it. One of those characters that shined was Puss in Boots, and today we see if they hold a whole film together with the sheer force of will that is Antonio Banderas’ charisma.
So to set the scene, Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) is galivanting around the world and is having a ball drinking, dualling, and having many musical interludes. In one such town, he usurps a Governor’s mansion and would have gotten away with it had it not been for a forest giant and a misplaced bell. Puss is on his last life, which should not be a problem until the Big Bad Wolf (Wagner Moura) arrives, wanting to take that final life. Running from the threat, Puss becomes an average lap cat which almost works until he hears of a fallen star and a hope that the one final wish could restore his lives. But he is not the only one out for that wish.
The significant shift in this film is in the animation style that takes a step away from the visual hallmarks of the Shrek franchise. There are still all the hallmarks of what has come before, so it is not a complete departure, but a new vibe is going on. It blends the old visual style and what we saw earlier this year with The Bad Guys. This blend creates a striking visual design that helps support the action sequences and makes parts of the film, including the big third-act show stopper, pop off.
Another strength of the film comes from the cast that all bring their a-game to bringing their characters to life. It was entirely unsurprising that Puss and Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek Pinault) had the chemistry that they did, which made their several encounters a delight to watch. Harvey Guillén hit the perfect line with Perrito, being a comedic sidekick that also had core drive and arc themselves. This is also true of Goldilocks (Florence Pugh) and the Three Bears, Mama (Olivia Colman), Papa (Ray Winstone), and Baby (Samson Kayo).
We get a mixed bag in the many villains the film throws at us during the run time. The good comes in the form of the Big Bad Wolf, whose combination of character design, hallmark whistling, and fighting style creates one of the most compelling villains that I have seen in an animated film. While on the other side of things, we have Big Jack Horner (John Mulaney), who was just dull. Beyond the joke of his name and an excuse for easter egg listicles, I am not sure he added much to the proceedings.
Finally, I was impressed to see that the film tackles some more mature themes in an accessible way. The first and most noticeable theme is the fear of death and the impact that it could have on people. We explore fear, anxiety, and coping mechanisms. There is also an exploration of addiction and how that can have consequences for your relationships with others. Finally, and the thing that always gets me is the exploration of what family means.
In the end, do we recommend Puss in Boots: The Last Wish? Yes, yes, we do. I honestly had a fun time here, even though it was honestly scary in some parts. If you liked Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, we also recommend Turning Red.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
Directed by – Joel Crawford
Story by – Tommy Swerdlow & Tom Wheeler
Screenplay by – Paul Fisher & Tommy Swerdlow
Based on – Characters from Shrek by DreamWorks Animation & Puss in Boots by Giovanni Francesco Straparola
Music by – Heitor Pereira
Edited by – James Ryan
Production/Distribution Companies – DreamWorks Animation & Universal Pictures
Starring – Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek Pinault, 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
Rating – Australia: PG; Canada: PG; Germany: 6; New Zealand: PG; United Kingdom: na; United States: PG