Plot Summary: Puss In Boots gets his own spin-off. Some stuff happens with characters that don’t appear in the Shrek films. The end.
Director: Chris Miller
Key Cast: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis, Salma Hayek, Billy Bob Thornton, Amy Sedaris.
Five Point Summary:
1. Antonio Banderas: perfect casting
2. Humpty Dumpty – surprisingly good.
3. Jack and Jill went up the hill and suddenly became quite evil.
4. Salma Hayek: Also perfect casting
5. Good egg/bad egg?
Out of all the myriad fairy tale creations to emerge from Shrek’s rather sizeable shadow, I think the best character to come out of the franchise was our eponymous feline hero. Combining the swashbuckling element that made Zorro what he is today (you know, somewhat marginalised) with the characteristics of a cat, it was only a matter of time before he ended up with his own cynical cash-in. Sorry, spin-off movie. Whilst the story and the overall plot are typical of what ultimately happened to the main Shrek franchise, there’s enough here to keep people entertained. I know I’m not the target audience for this so obviously from a kids perspective it works on a lot of levels, but whilst the story didn’t always hit the mark, the numerous parts where Puss did his “cat thing” worked well, even if they’re still exactly the same things he’s done since his introduction in the Shrek universe. The big cat eyes, chasing after a light moving around on the floor, even lapping milk out of a glass.
The character of Humpty Dumpty, played to near perfection by Zach Galafianakis, adds a welcome element of grey – specificallly the “is he good or is he bad?” aspect, and Salma Hayek teams up with Mr Banderas yet again. Their movie partnership seems to be the Mexican equivalent of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp (not that it’s a bad thing). Hayek plays Kitty Softpaws, a name clearly yanked from the James Bond Lead Female Character Random Name Generator.
The story, such as it is, sees Puss, Kitty and Humpty joining forces to steal magic beans from Jack and Jill (not the cute little kids you would imagine, far from it in fact), which when planted will allow access to the golden goose and untold wealth. There’s a couple of twists and turns as Kitty and Puss go from rivals to friends, all of which kicks off initially with a dance-off in a bar. Club? Disco? Not sure. That scene also introduces a cat that makes a surprised noise when a particular bit of news is divulged (it’s worth watching the film just for him, trust me). By the end of the film it all ends up falling a bit flat as a giant goose terrorises the town. This wouldn’t be so bad if we hadn’t already seen a giant Gingerbread Man in the Shrek films, but it gives Puss chance to show everyone what he’s got, after spending much of the movie on the run, and also allows room for sequels if it made enough at the box office – Wikipedia indicates it cost $130 million but made $507 billion, so I would say another one is likely.
If a sequel does emerge, I would only ask that they spend a bit more time on the story – Puss as a character needs no work and he’s entertaining enough on his own. Puss plus an engaging and compelling story that offers a stronger moral than good egg/bad egg would be a bonus.
Favourite scene: Puss chasing after the beam of light.
Quote: “You have made the cat angry. You do not want to make the cat angry!”
Silly Moment: Several, actually. The cat that goes “ooooh!”