A funny and fun adventure that makes you wonder why it took 11 years to make a meowquel, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish stands on its back legs as one of the better animated movies of the year. Antonio Banderas returns to voice the smug feline, who must face death both literally and figuratively as he discovers he’s used up eight of his nine dingers.
In this Puss in Boots, a return to the broader, zany world of Shrek, clever references to just about anything abound, from nursery rhymes (the primary villain is Jack Horner, derived from a forgettable two-line rhyme, though other baddies include Goldilocks and her Three-Bear crime family) to Terminator 2.
Yes, Terminator 2.
The movie is swimming with fun little details, many of which I’m sure flew right over my head. The filmmakers’ inventive storytelling is both amusing on paper and absorbing visually; the movie is a rush of color and stylish, ever-evolving animation that brings every moment to life in unpredictable ways.
My four-year-old enjoyed it too, though she had her eyes covered anytime the Big Bad Wolf was on screen; understandably so, because the Big Bad Wolf is actually just a little fucking scary for a kid’s movie. But she was won over by just about everything else, especially the sequence set in the “cat home” and Perrito (voiced by Harvey Guillén, from What We Do in the Shadows).
One thing I appreciated about Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is that it largely stays away from Disney’s sometimes-overplayed formula of heavy-handed messaging (something that drowned Disney’s recent flop Strange World). While it still has a wholesome lesson to be learned at its core, it prefers to use cat biscuits instead of claws to deliver its message.
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is a catnip-packed tale stuffed with furry fun. It will make you laugh, cry (okay, it won’t make you cry… at least I hope not), and meow for another adventure. Let’s not hope The Last Wish isn’t the last we see of Puss in Boots.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.