Reel Rating: 4 out of 5 Reels
MPAA Rating: PG for some adventure action and mild rude humor
Released in Theaters: Oct. 28, 2011 (2D, 3D)
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Prequel
Runtime: 90 minutes
Directed by: Chris Miller
Cast: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis, Billy Bob Thornton, Amy Sedaris, Constance Marie
Official Site: http://www.pussinbootsthemovie.com/
SYNOPSIS: That suave feline from the popular Shrek franchise gets a backstory in this new tale. Antonio Banderas voices the swashbuckling Puss in Boots, as we learn of his humble origins and checkered history with the vengeful Humpty Dumpty (that egg has issues).
Sex/Nudity: The opening scene finds Puss in Boots tip-toeing out of a female cat’s house after donning his belt, hat and signature boots. The female kitty sighs as he leaves. Puss calls himself a “lover” and flirts with female cats throughout the movie. He and Kitty Softpaws flirt, dance, trade barbs, and rub noses. The humans Jack and Jill are shown in bed together. They discuss starting a family and agree to practice on their pet pigs. A reference to “golden eggs” has a man starting to unzip his pants (but then he stops and sits down).
Violence/Gore: Scenes of sword-fighting, cannon battles and peril. A few characters are injured, but no blood is shown. One character is forced to let go of another character, who presumably plummets to their death. There’s also an elaborate “dance-off” that takes the place of what could have been a destructive brawl.
Profanity: A few mild insults (Humpty is called a “rotten egg”). The townspeople turn on Puss in Boots when they think he’s done them wrong.
Drugs/Alcohol: A few scenes set in a pub, where men are presumably drinking beer out of steins. Puss in Boots drinks “leche” (milk) in the pub.
Which Kids Will Like It? Kids 6 and older who like the Shrek movies or adventurous tales with animal characters.
Will Parents Like It? There’s a little too much adult content (do we really have to see Puss leaving a female cat in the morning after what appears to be a night of lovemaking?), but this movie also contains lots of positive messages, including the importance of unconditional friendship, the power of redemption, and the fact that everyone can choose to make the right decision.
REVIEW: I realized while watching Puss in Boots how much I’ve missed that Shrek-type animation – you know, where the characters are so detailed they practically jump off the screen. Then again, that’s easy to do with Puss in Boots, who makes full use of his adorably huge eyes to get what he wants.
The story is actually a Shrek prequel in which we learn of Puss in Boots’ humble beginnings. Puss (voiced by Antonio Banderas) begins life as a cast-off who’s taken in by a kind woman named Imelda (Constance Marie) who runs an orphanage. There, he befriends Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis) and earns his signature boots as a thank-you for saving the town from disaster.
Puss and Humpty meet the beautiful cat burglar Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek, who has tons of chemistry with Banderas even in animated form – they worked together in Desperado). The trio team up to steal magic beans from the conniving Jack (Billy Bob Thornton) and Jill (Amy Sedaris).
When planted, the beans produce mammoth vines that grow into the sky, where Puss, Humpty and Kitty find the golden goose and her magical golden eggs. But not all of the friends’ motives are pure, and they each must decide whether to take the path of righteousness. Something happened between Puss in Boots and Humpty early in life, and Humpty’s been dragging that baggage around with him forever.
Unlike the ensemble Shrek movies, this one is really all about the character Puss in Boots. Director Chris Miller has a long history with the franchise; he directed Shrek the Third, voiced the characters of Geppetto, Magic Mirror and others, and served as writer and storyboard artist. The success of Puss in Boots drills home how important it is to have someone in charge who really knows a franchise’s characters and stories.
Antonio Banderas milks his Spanish accent to the max and, in the process, fleshes out the charming but roguish character we first met in the Shrek movies. Yet the supporting characters add enough freshness and fun to make you forget this is indeed a prequel. Sedaris and Thornton are hilarious with their Southern drawls, and Galifianakis is perfect as Humpty.
Puss in Boots is one of those entertaining kids’ movies that adults will like, too. The filmmakers aren’t just phoning it in – they’re creating interesting characters and meaningful storylines with good pacing. The great takeaway for kids (and yes, adults) is that even though Humpty and Puss have some baggage in their friendship, there’s always a chance to make things right.
JANE’S REEL RATING SYSTEM:
One Reel – Even the Force can’t save it.
Two Reels – Coulda been a contender.
Three Reels – Something to talk about.
Four Reels – You want the truth? Great flick!
Five Reels – Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.
Jane Boursaw is a family entertainment writer specializing in movies and TV. Syndicate her family movie & TV reviews in your publication; visit her at ReelLifeWithJane; follow her on Twitter; become a friend on Facebook; email firstname.lastname@example.org.