‘Puss in Boots: The Last Wish’ Review: Antonio Banderas in Fine Feline Form

‘Puss in Boots: The Last Wish’ Review: Antonio Banderas in Fine Feline Form

Kids, would you like to see a movie about an elderly male character who is facing a mid-life crisis and is terrified of his impending death? Just in time for Christmas

Maybe not so much. I didn’t think so. What if I said it was a Pussy in Boots movie?

Puss in Boots – The Last Wish

The Bottom Line

Darker, but no less funny

Release date: Wednesday, Dec. 21
Cast: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek Pinault, Olivia Colman, Harvey Guillen, Samson Kayo, Anthony Mendez, Wagner Moura, John Mulaney, Florence Pugh, Da’Vine Roy Randolph, Ray Winstone
Director: Joel Crawford
Screenwriters: Paul Fisher, Tommy Swerdlow

Rated PG
1 hour 40 minutes

It’s been nearly two decades since the adorable Puss made his screen debut in Shrek 2 and 11 years since his starring debut, and he’s worse for the wear. He is killed in an elaborate action sequence that opens his animated adventure Puss Boots The Last Wish ,. This would normally not be a problem for a cat that has nine lives. But Puss has lost eight. That prompts Puss to visit his doctor (Anthony Mendez), and he advises him to make lifestyle changes. He recommends that he retire and not die anymore. He also tries to take Puss’s temperature, but not orally. The feline naturally snorts, assuring his doctor that he is hot.

Puss (Antonio Banderas), has a solution that is more immediate to his problem. He is accompanied by his ex-girlfriend and foil Kitty Softpaws (Salmahayek Pinault, reprising her role), as he ventures into the Black Forest to search for the mythical Wishing Star. This will help him restore the lives he has squandered.

In a hilarious montage, Paul FIsher (screenwriter) and Tommy Swerdlow (screenwriter) vividly explain how he lost so many in a hilarious montage. It also highlights the wit that DreamWorks Animation offers. His grueling losing battle with a severe shellfish allergy is proof that not all deaths are heroic.

Puss and Kitty set out into the forest with Perrito (Harvey Guillen), an aspiring therapy dog who Puss met when he sought refuge in the home of Da’Vine Joy Randolph, an obsessive cat lover. The trio are faced with many challenges, including a teenage Goldilocks (Florence Pugh), a shady, evil Jack Horner (John Mulaney), who, through the magic and engineering, sounds large here), now an underworld kingpin. There is also a crime family that includes Momma Bear (Olivia Colman), Papa Bear, Ray Winstone, and the diminutive Baby Bear, (Samson Kayo). Puss is being pursued relentlessly by Wolf (Wagner Moura), a fearsome bounty hunter who symbolizes the terror and mortality that haunts him.

The film is darker in tone, but still very funny. It also resorts to the fast-paced action sequences that are apparently designed for children’s short attention spans. Those exhausting episodes pale in contrast to scenes like the raucous face-off between Puss and a saucer-eyed feline, in which Puss tries to prove that he is the most adorable.

The scenes featuring the tiny, Jiminy Cricket-inspired Ethical bug, who unsuccessfully attempts to be Jack Horner’s conscience, are also very amusing. DreamWorks Animation story supervisor Kevin McCann voices him, doing a fun riff of Jimmy Stewart.

The film, which makes frequent, if not overdone, allusions to Sergio Leone’s spaghetti westerns in the spaghetti western genre, is directed by Joel Crawford The Croods and features a painterly animation style. It feels richer than standard computer graphics.

Puss in Boots looks great. But what makes it really work is Banderas’ silky-voiced voice. He conveys all of the character’s outrageous feline suavity and makes it clear that he’s in on the joke. Many animated films feature overpaid, overqualified voice actors that children and adults can’t care less about. Banderas is, however, worth every penny.

Full credits

Production companies: DreamWorks Animation, Pacific Data Images
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Cast: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek Pinault, Olivia Colman, Harvey Guillen, Samson Kayo, Anthony Mendez, Wagner Moura, John Mulaney, Florence Pugh, Da’Vine Roy Randolph, Ray Winstone
Director: Joel Crawford
Screenwriters: Paul Fisher, Tommy Swerdlow
Producer: Mark Swift
Executive producers: Andrew Adamson, Chris Meledandri
Production designer: Nate Wragg
Editor: James Ryan
Composer: Heitor Pereira
Casting: Christi Soper

Rated PG
1 hour 40 minutes

THR Newsletters

Sign up to receive THR news directly to your inbox each day


Subscribe

Sign Up

Read More