Puss in Boots: The Last Wish arrives in UK cinemas on February 3rd.
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is a thrilling and surprisingly heartfelt new animation from Dreamworks. The sequel to 2011’s Puss in Boots, a spin-off of the Shrek franchise, sat in development hell for a number of years before finally arriving in cinemas. But was it worth the wait? The answer is simple. Yes! In fact, it might be DreamWorks’ best outing since the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy.
Antonio Banderas returns as the nifty feline with a sword, hat and boots. Puss has been living fearlessly for years, but when he learns that he has used up eight of his nine lives, he starts to feel the weight of his mortality – and this isn’t helped by the presence of a Wolf bounty hunter (Wagner Moura) who seems intent on killing him.
When Puss learns that a magical Wishing Star has crashed nearby, he realises that he can use it to reset his nine lives and thus live fearlessly again. He is joined on his quest by a stray dog named Perrito (Harvey Guillen) while also being reunited with Kitty Softpaws (Selma Hayek Pinault), who also wants to make a wish upon the star. Meanwhile, also gunning for the celestial object are fairy tale characters Goldilocks (Florence Pugh) and Jack Horner (John Mulaney), both of whom desire the Wishing Star for their own ends.
In its stunning animation, The Last Wish is more akin to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse in style and energy than previous DreamWorks films. Fairy tale pictures leap from the screen with a vivacious energy bathed in luscious colours and chaotic imagination, making this one of the best-looking DreamWorks pictures we have seen. The characters require a map to lead them to the Wishing Star, yet this map changes the landscape around the Star in order to create obstacles specific to each character who desires the Star. Not only does it add such beauty to the visuals, but it cleverly reveals something about each character’s inner world every time it is used.
(from left) Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas), Papa Bear (Ray Winstone), Goldi (Florence Pugh), Mama Bear (Olivia Colman) and Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek Pinault) in DreamWorks Animation’s Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, directed by Joel Crawford.
Chaotic would be a great way to describe the comedy too. Much like Shrek 2, this film throws as many jokes as possible at its audience, and nearly all of them land. If they don’t, then it is because you are too busy laughing at the last joke and thus miss the next one. The timing, slapstick comedy, wordplay, and character interactions are among the most humorous elements of the picture. The voice acting enhances this greatly, with Florence Pugh, in particular, demonstrating impeccable comedic range with her gritty and often irritated interpretation of Goldilocks. In addition, the numerous parodies of popular media are wildly inventive and funny. Alongside the plethora of fairy tale parodies, you also have references to Sunset Boulevard, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, and Mad Max: Fury Road.
There is a briskness to the action and pacing that would be worthy of the titles mentioned above. The editing is especially terrific in showcasing the chaos on screen without ever feeling as though the film is overstuffed. There is a kinetic energy to the narrative and action that leaves you on the edge of your seat. Yet what makes its creative, exciting sequences so captivating is the continuous consideration of characterisation. Puss in Boots is an arrogant swordsman whose overconfidence is confronted and deconstructed alongside his morality. Meanwhile, other characters, such as Kitty Softpaws and Goldilocks, have their own sense of loss to address through their respective quests for the Wishing Star. Here each character has something to lose if they don’t achieve their desires.
Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) in DreamWorks Animation’s Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, directed by Joel Crawford.
There is a welcome sense of maturity to the film. It deals with heavy themes, including death, greed, and existentialism, yet it doesn’t simplify them or talk down to its family audience. Instead, it tackles its topics with sincerity, taking its time to explore its characters and the messages of its story. That being said, it would likely suit audiences aged eight and upwards. Audiences at the younger end of the spectrum might find themselves scared by the material, be it the weighty subject matter or the genuinely scary portrayal of certain scenes and characters – the wolf, in particular, is the fuel of childhood nightmares.
Add it all up, and we get DreamWorks’ best film in a long time! Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is funny, exciting, dazzling, genuinely smart and compelling. Children not terrified by it will love it, and even adults will find themselves reflecting on the film’s messages. Whether you come for the comedy, the colours, the thrills or the themes, it is a brilliantly entertaining trip to the movies!
RON’S GONE WRONG
United States | 1hr 42mins | 2022
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is funny, exciting, dazzling, genuinely smart and compelling. Children not terrified by it will love it, and even adults will find themselves reflecting on the film’s messages. Whether you come for the comedy, the colours, the thrills or the themes, it is a brilliantly entertaining trip to the movies!