With Big Shoes to Fill, “Puss In Boots” Meets the Challenge

Photos courtesy DreamWorks Animation LLC.  Above, Anotonio Banderas at an event for the movie.
Photos courtesy DreamWorks Animation LLC. Above, Anotonio Banderas at an event for the movie.


We have all seen Shrek. And in his various misadventures, he has amassed quite a group of fairy tale friends to go with him on his adventures. One of the best characters he has befriended is Puss In Boots. And now we can see Puss’ backstory in the new film “Puss In Boots.”

He is more than just a supporting character with huge kitten eyes and a flashing sword that moves like lightning. He has his own issues and his own problems that he runs away from. He really is more than the one-dimensional character of the Shrek films – he is complex and dark and his story makes for a great movie.

Puss (voiced once again by Antonio Banderas) was an orphan growing up in the Orphanage in San Ricardo. He was a quiet kitten who had very few friends except for young Humpty Dumpty (voiced by Zach Galifanakis), who is a giant egg. They were like brothers and they always got into trouble together. Humpty always had a dream to find the magic beans and climb up to the giant’s castle to see the goose that lays the golden eggs. This became Puss’ dream too, and together they found and planted hundreds of normal beans, but never found those magic ones to take them up to the castle in the sky.

Several years later, Puss and his brother Humpty are estranged. They haven’t spoken in years. Puss is an outlaw, framed for a bank robbery by his jealous brother Humpty. Puss travels the land as a soldier of fortune trying to amass enough wealth to pay back his falsified debt and clear his name. As he is looking for another score, he hears of the magic beans – the real magic beans. But Humpty is hot on the trail. Begrudgingly, Puss agrees to team up with Humpty to nab the beans and plant them in the appropriate place, which only Humpty knows. What follows is a tale of adventure, intrigue, deception and redemption that only two brothers on a harrowing adventure can conjure up.

Along for the ride is Kitty Soft Paws (voiced by Salma Hayek), Humpty’s partner and master thief with the softest paws, allowing her to take anything unnoticed. The three must steal the beans from Jack and Jill (voiced by Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris), the meanest, nastiest thugs in the fairy tale world. With the promise of solid gold eggs looming in the distance, the story is a mad dash to the beanstalk, and then a race from the monster who guards the golden eggs with the fate of San Ricardo hanging in the balance.

This is a really good movie. With so many scary movies out from Halloween time, it is nice to see a feel good family movie that is great for parents to enjoy with their children. The film is not necessarily as good as the original “Shrek” film, but definitely better than Shrek 2 or 3. With so many fairy tale aspects to draw on in this new setting for the tale, there is no shortage of material or overuse like we see in some of the later “Shrek” movies because here nothing is established except for Puss.      Everything else is wide open to play with, so the writers – Brian Lynch, David Steinberg, Tom Wheeler and Jon Zack – are able to draw on whatever they like and whatever fits the part without having to worry about overuse of material. The best aspect of the film is that for the first time since the first “Shrek” film we have all new characters, stories and situations without any expectations. It keeps you guessing and makes for a really great film. Definitely not one to miss.

Rated PG, this movie is good for movie goers of all ages. And parents, don’t send the kids to this movie alone – you will want to see it, too.

I give this movie 5 out of 5 paws.