So uninspired was the Shrek franchise by the time it hit the finish line with the fourth (and very tired) chapter, it’s easy to forget what a great character the series initially had in Puss in Boots. Not that I figured the feline’s big screen spin-off, Puss in Boots, would be a great movie, but I do recall — now, that is -— just how many laughs I got out of the little fuzzball when he first appeared alongside Ogre and Donkey.
See, ‘cause with the swashbuckler’s big solo outing, Puss in Boots, fearlessly standing on its own, I’m ready to admit that I was wrong in thinking this wouldn’t be fun. This is a good family outing. Good laughs. Good 3-D … good kitty.
In Puss in Boots, the Antonia Banderas-voiced, sword-wielding lothario cat is a fugitive from justice. Teaming with Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) and his former partner Humpty Dumpty (Zack Galifianakis), the trio attempt to wrestle away some magic beans from Jack and Jill (played out here as slobbering bullies, voiced by Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris) in an effort to ride the magic beanstalk and track down the goose that lays the golden eggs.
Sound like a collision of children’s classic literature? It should. This ain’t old whisker’s first time to the rodeo, after all.
Surprisingly, Puss in Boots is a pretty fresh, spunky movie. With a distinct western flavour (director Chris Miller really loves the Sergio Leone ‘70s-style split screens), grown-ups will get as big a kick out of this one as wee ones (and take it from me, don’t even attempt to explain the cat’s comment about needing cat nip “for his glaucoma” to your kids, just let them enjoy the cute critters). Spoofing fairytales hasn’t been this much of a hoot since the original Shrek.
Out of a possible five stars, I’ll give Puss in Boots a three and a half. The feature is currently playing at the Pen-Mar Cinema Centre in Penticton.
Jason Armstrong is a movie reviewer living and watching in the Okanagan.