Puss in Boots – movie review
by TheAge on Dec 05 2011, 10:06AM
Post-Shrek, the challenge for the filmmakers of Puss in Boots was to create a persuasive world for the sword-toting feline that stole our hearts in the land of Far Far Away, and with some inspired little touches, a lively script and a seductive performance from Antonio Banderas, this a charmer.
Chris Miller, who co-directed Shrek the Third is in control, introducing audiences to what could well be the start of a new feline-helmed franchise.
While not quite as good as Shrek, it establishes the origins of the loveable green-eyed ginger puss within a fairytale-infused reality involving a conniving Humpty Dumpty, a subversive Jack and Jill, a beanstalk that sprouts beyond the clouds and an oversize golden goose. Audiences of every age can delight in the antics, adventures and ”cattitude” of Puss in Boots.
Character is established by the first sprinkles of humour, succinctly shown in the opening scenes when Puss in Boots flashes his saucer eyes, bids a memorable farewell to a glamour puss reclining on a cushion and orders a glass of milk, which he laps up noisily.
The plot quickly gets under way when Puss hears about some magic beans in the possession of Jack and Jill (Billy Bob Thornton, Amy Sedaris), an unattractive couple who collect baby pigs. But there is competition to get the beans: in the shapely, seductive form of the black and white Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek), who knows only too well how to meow her way out of any situation and uses her big blue eyes and pink nose to good effect. The dance fight, when the two cats click heels and show their moves, is nicely done and watch for the sideline cat that strums a musical instrument resembling a fish skeleton.
With a Spanish accent so thick you could carve with a knife, Banderas injects his charm from the outset. ”What can I say? I was a bad kitty,” he purrs, recalling the events that landed him on a wanted poster. In the back story, we learn about an orphaned Puss who became blood brother to a two-faced bad egg by the name of Humpty Alexander Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis) in the town of San Ricardo.
Humpty is a rather irritating character; I kept wishing he would hurry up and have a bad fall, but that is not in the storyline. Smeared with the blame of a bank robbery engineered against Puss’s wishes by Humpty, there is now some bad blood between them, although Humpty tries to persuade Puss he can be trusted.
Climbing up the beanstalk high in the clouds, Puss, Kitty and Humpty find themselves a little portable pot of gold – a cute little yellow chick that lays golden eggs. Leaving the world of the beanstalk with the little chick involves multiple hazards and I like the scene when the protagonists cling desperately to a champagne bottle cork at the very moment it is popped – to be propelled over a giant chasm.
There are a few double entendres for the adults but the moral is for everyone: it is never too late to do the right thing.
– Three stars
Puss in Boots opens in cinemas on Thursday, December 8.