Most people know what sequels are. Or prequels. Or remakes. But when they hear the term ‘spin-off’, there’s a sense of confusion as to what exactly it means.
Well, it’s quite simple. A spin-off means you take a single character from the original movie and give that character its own movie. Like Wolverine from the X-men. Or Minions from Despicable me.
After the success of Shrek, it was to be expected that one of the many colorful characters would find its way into its own story. And the filmmakers chose rightfully so. They chose: Puss in boots!
To say Puss in boots is funny is like saying a rainbow has beautiful colors. Everyone knows it to be true, and no one suspects any different.
There are both jokes for the adults – beautifully hidden within the script (e.g.: ‘That’s a lot of heel for a guy, don’t you think?’ suggesting that Puss in boots might be a little gay) – but the majority are of course on-screen gags for kids. There are soldiers who lose their pants, adorable kittens who fight with swords … and even the great Puss in boots sees the wrong end of the stick from time to time, for example, when someone throws a boot in his face.
The story of Puss in boots takes us on a wild adventure, but it also goes back to the past where we learn more about how the Zorro-like cat came to be an outlaw.
In the main story however, Puss in boots (the character, not the movie) is searching for three magic beans. He teams up with a sexy kitten who’s named Kitty Softpaws, because she can steal the boots from under your legs without you even noticing.
And there’s also a fat egg who goes by the name Humpty Dumpty who used to be friends with the hero-cat … ‘used to be’ is key to how the story develops.
The female kitten is voiced by none other than Salma Hayek who – as you may or may not know – has starred along Antonio Banderas many times before, most notably in Desperado and its sequel Once Upon a Time in Mexico.
This time they’re only virtually together, sharing voices in Puss in boots.
Also quite unrecognizable is Mexican director Guillermo del Toro as the Comandante of the local town. This man, normally super-gifted behind the camera of such wonderful movies as Hellboy and the fantasy-classic El laberinto del fauno doesn’t generally do any voice work. I guess his Mexican roots have something to do with the fact that he was asked to join the wonderful cast of Puss in boots.
Lastly there’s comedian Zach Galifianakis as the eggheaded Humpty Dumpty who also plays a major part in the movie.
Puss in boots has strokes of wonderful humor and is therefore the perfect movie to relax on a hard day’s work, or to begin the weekend with. Most jokes are found in the first part of the movie, since the 2nd part is more about the action and less focused on the comedy – this is truly a damn shame!
Also a flaw is how none of the original Shrek-cast makes an appearance. This is a missed opportunity as this would’ve certainly provided a few laughs.
But the biggest problem of Puss in boots is the character Humpty Dumpty.
Zach Galifianakis may be a certified comedian – as proven in The Hangover – but he’s out of luck for having to support a character that ranges from being only mildly funny to flat-out annoying. The animation overall is very good, including how Humpty Dumpty was brought to life, but there’s something about this character that doesn’t blend well with the rest of the movie. It’s like he tries too hard to be funny.
Fact is that – if you left this character out from the story – Puss in boots would’ve been so much better. Perhaps they could’ve chosen a different character, because Humpty Dumpty is more noisy than entertaining.
So, Puss in boots is certainly a funny movie for young and old.
Some of the characters could’ve perhaps enjoyed better writing or more frequent telling of jokes (the two bandits Jack & Jill are never funny, for example) but all ends well. There’s far worse ways of spending your free time. There’s far worse animated movies out there.
did you know?
The animators did not need to bring in any real cats to the studio to study their movements; they simply looked at any of the millions of cat videos on YouTube.
Give it to me short:
Puss in boots is a spin-off of Shrek which means one of its major characters gets its own story.
The animation is very well done, and some of the best jokes can be found in the first half of the movie. The second part is more about the action, and although you’ll enjoy it plentiful, it’s a pity that the jokes dry out towards the end. That way Puss in boots is more an action movie and less a comedy.
The cast is rich with great actors including Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek who’ve shared the screen twice before. Their onscreen connection brings about a certain charm that transcends the animated characters. Some of the best scenes are between them, whether it’s when they have a romantic moment or go at each other’s throat.
The one character that unbalances the delicate charisma of Puss in boots is Humpty Dumpty. It’s hard to tell whether it’s due to the writing or the voice-over work, but there’s something about a fat egg with a stupid face who serves no real purpose in the story – meaning that any other character could’ve replaced him – that makes it hard to enjoy his presence.
The first five minutes you’ll enjoy him … after that you wish someone would turn him into an omelet.
But don’t let this one flaw keep you from watching this movie – Puss in boots is great leisure for young and old!