Starring: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis
Director: Chris Miller
Running Time: 95 mins
Puss In Boots is an American film about a swashbuckling cat that sets out on a quest to find the legendary Golden Goose along with a former childhood friend and a fellow feline thief.
Shrek and Shrek 2 are two of the funniest animated comedies out there (and we won’t mention 3 and 4). One of the most beloved characters in the series was always Puss In Boots, so it’s easy to see why he’s got his own movie here. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stand anywhere near the best of the Shrek series, thanks to a generally underwhelming sense of humour, a dull story and too family-friendly an atmosphere. It’s a perfectly passable movie to show the kids, but there’s nothing really there to have you laughing as much as you’d like.
If there’s one thing that the film does do quite well, it’s the voice performances. Antonio Banderas is as cool as ever in the lead role as Puss In Boots, taking the cute kitten to even more ridiculous lengths, whilst Salma Hayek impresses alongside in an equally slick and funny role. Zach Galifianakis plays Humpty Dumpty, who isn’t the most well-written character, and although Galifianakis gives a fun enough performance, he’s not up there with the lead two.
Another good thing about this movie is the animation. It’s a very vibrant and slick film to look at, particularly when we go back to Puss’ roots in a comically Hispanic pueblo, as well as some of the action sequences that come off a lot better than they did back in the days of the first two Shrek movies.
With all that said, however, this is a very far cry from what made Shrek such a hit in the first place. Whilst the main series took a dive in its third and fourth instalments due to poor comedy and an overly family-friendly vibe, the original two are still lauded for their rapid-fire, self-aware and brilliantly parodic humour that had kids and adults splitting their sides together.
Puss In Boots doesn’t do the same, and comes off far more like a run-of-the-mill kids’ movie than anything else. It’s less disappointing given that it’s not a Shrek movie in name, but it’s still a shame to see a classic character that was hugely funny in Shrek 2 wasted in a film that utilises some very predictable and light comedy, rather than the same sort of brilliant humour that made the originals so great.
And of course, along with that overly family-friendly vibe comes a pretty poor story. The stories in Shrek were meant to be totally predictable, because they were poking fun at classic fairytales, but Puss In Boots is a far more standard and dull quest story, and its attempts to emulate the same sense of parody really don’t pay off.
Overall, whilst there are some fun things about Puss In Boots that will make it an entertaining watch for young kids, it’s not the sort of film to remind you of how good the original Shrek movies were, thanks to very poor comedy and an average story, and that’s why I’m giving it a 6.4.