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This legend of the Puss in Boots,
Who some may know from Shrek,
Is of a lover and outlaw
Who’s on a lengthy trek.
 
He hears the tale of magic beans
That Jack and Jill will use
To grow and climb the famed beanstalk
And steal the Golden Goose.
 
He tries to steal them from the pair
Of outlaws. Nonetheless,
Another skillful cat with boots
Prevents him from success.
 
They fight with dancing and with swords,
But Puss is shocked to find
He fought one Kitty Softpaws, who
Can swiftly steal him blind.
 
He learns she works for Humpty Dumpty,
Quite a crooked egg,
Who wants his help to steal the beans
And isn’t shy to beg.
 
Puss then tells Kitty of his past:
The egg and he were pals,
Two orphans seeking magic beans
To boost their low morales.
 
Puss was the toast of San Ricardo,
Future looking bright,
But Humpty tricked him into helping
Rob the bank one night.
 
So Puss abandoned him to jail
And has been running since.
The two get Puss to help their plan,
Though he’s hard to convince.
 
They snatch the beans from Jack and Jill
And fly where Humpty knows
They’ll sprout into the tall beanstalk
And up, up, up it grows.
 
They find a golden gosling, plus
A giant unseen beast,
And take the goose back down to earth,
Their fortunes now increased.
 
But Jack and Jill attack that night
And leave Puss all alone.
He follows them to San Ricardo,
Where the truth’s made known.
 
It all so far was Humpty’s plan
For vengeance on his friend,
And everyone from Jack and Jill
To Kitty helped pretend.
 
While Puss in Boots is locked away,
The city celebrates,
For Humpty’s bought it with the gold
The giant goose creates.
 
The goose’s even bigger mom
Attacks, as Humpty’d planned,
But Puss convinces his old friend
To help him save the land.
 
Reuniting mom and child,
Humpty’s death’s implied.
He plummets from the city bridge,
Revealing gold inside.
 
Once San Ricardo’s safe and sound,
Puss gains respect once more.
Though wanted still, both he and Kitty
Seek their next big score.
__________________
 

The Shrek universe got a welcome addition in 2011’s Puss in Boots. It already had a number of memorable characters, such as Donkey, Fiona, Gingy, Prince Charming, and so on, but none deserved their own film like the big-eyed feline that stole the show in Shrek 2. Puss in Boots is an imaginative origin story that plays up the similarity between Puss and Antonio Banderas’s role as Zorro. The Hispanic tone makes the setting feel a little more like the real world, even though no one is surprised at talking feline outlaws or anthropomorphic eggs.

Several more interesting characters are introduced, from the conflicted Humpty Dumpty to the sultry love interest Kitty Softpaws, played by Zach Galifianakis and Salma Hayek, respectively. Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris are also memorable as the pig-loving ruthless killers Jack and Jill. The animation is also marvelous, and the story itself is much more original, intricate, and entertaining than the awful Shrek the Third. Plus, it’s very funny with a number of jokes intended for adults, including a Fight Club reference and even a drug joke.

While there’s nothing really objectionable, I can’t help but feel that the story gets a bit too weird in its imagination. The filmmakers at times fracture the fairytale to the breaking point, so to speak, turning the giant’s castle into a humongous lost world, the Golden Goose into Godzilla, Little Boy Blue into a literal blue-skinned boy, and Jack and Jill into evil hillbillies. Sometimes, the action becomes so frenetic that a blink can cause you to miss something. Still, combining Humpty Dumpty with the Goose that lays the golden eggs was inspired, even if his ultimate fate is rather open-ended.

Also, the ending is good for this film, but it’s unclear how it ties into Shrek 2. In some ways, Puss in Boots is akin to Prometheus, offering a prequel of sorts that can stand alone but doesn’t connect with the next installment quite the way we would expect. What happened to Kitty Softpaws? How did Puss end up in Far Far Away where the king found him? Perhaps DreamWorks is planning a Puss in Boots 2 to answer questions like these.

Best line: (Puss in Boots, leaving his latest conquest) “I will never forget you… Margherita.” (annoyed cat meows) “I mean, Rosa.”

 
Artistry: 5
Characters/Actors: 7
Entertainment: 7
Visual Effects: 8
Originality: 7
Watchability: 6
Other (some weirdness and unanswered questions): -7
 
TOTAL: 33 out of 60
 

Next: #282: Fireproof

© 2014 S. G. Liput

 

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