Friar Review: Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

Puss in Boots: a legend who will never die. Both in a literal sense as a cat has multiple lives and cannot die on the account of their nine lives and metaphorically as in returning to theaters with a sequel almost 13 years after the original Puss in Boots movie.

For quite sometime the character Puss in Boots has tagged along with pop culture icon Shrek for a majority of the Shrek franchise, only having his own spin off movie in 2011 which received mixed reviews. It was after the release of the Puss in Boots spin off that the Shrek franchise came to an end as the last two Shrek films were considered disappointing to mildly interesting at best. With this in mind, some may ask why would DreamWorks decide to continue a moderately received spin off franchise? The Shrek universe is beloved by many as it tore down the standards of cliché fairy tale stories set by Disney and deserves to be laid to rest. However, money may say otherwise. As of 2016, Comcast purchased the financially struggling DreamWorks animation studios, in order to continue on its film properties. If you purchased famous franchises like How to Train Your Dragon, Kung Fu Panda, and Shrek for that amount of money you’d most likely want your money’s worth from box office sales. So, the question is not how many remakes, sequels, or spin-offs will be made, but rather what quality should we expect?

As stated before, it seemed like Puss in Boots (the legend himself) couldn’t die, well at least until now as the film decides to take on the mature topic of one’s eventual mortality. Puss in the beginning of the film is very much in character as he conquers his enemies effortlessly all while singing about how great of a fearless hero he truly is. That is until he is crushed by falling debris from his last battle which causes him to “die.” After recovering from his “death” Puss recounts the amount times he’s “passed” which totals eight deaths, meaning as a cat he is on his last life. It’s here Puss is met with a bounty hunter who effortlessly strikes fear into the heart of Puss. The scene of their first fight is an unexpected tone coming from DreamWorks as Puss is cut by the Bounty Hunter’s sickles. The tension and anxiety coming from Puss as the blood from his cut drips down between his eyes as the bounty hunter steps closer is a moment to remember. Never before has a villain struck fear into the hearts of viewers as he is a force to be feared. The event was so traumatic that it prompts Puss to run away from the fight and retire from his hero work in fear of dying. However Puss’ retirement is short lived as he springs back into action with his new found friend Perito, and Kitty SoftPaws. Puss hears about a magic star that can grant his lives back. However the
task isn’t so easy as the crime family: Goldilocks and the Three Bears and Big Jack Horner attempt to beat Puss to the wishing star. Overall, the takes on fairy tales were done well compared to the original Puss in Boots. A factor that made the Shrek movies so successful was their comedic and satirical adaptation of fairy tales. Specifically with Goldilocks being a leader of a crime family, and with lesser known nursery rhyme Big (Little) Jack Horner being a purely evil antagonist. The storytelling as a whole is simple and straightforward, with the humor being enjoyable to both adults and children. What truly stands out is the animation style which is very reminiscent of Into the Spider-Verse with a similar art style which contrasts the somewhat realistic animation of the other Shrek movies. Overall, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is a phenomenal movie that deserves the praise it’s getting. As of now the film has been nominated for best picture, with a slight
chance of actually taking home the Oscar. Whether or not Puss in Boots takes home the win, praise from movie goers and critics is enough of a signal to studio executives to continue the Shrek universe. One can only hope for more of deeper themes, and beautiful art style from the studio. To believe Puss in Boots who was once a side character to a pop culture legend has now become the signal of hope for not only DreamWorks, but animation as a whole.