Puss In Boots Directed by: Chris Miller Cast: (voices of) Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis Running Time: 1 hr 30 mins Rating: PG Release Date: October 28, 2011
PLOT: Puss in Boots (Banderas) is a sword-fighting cat. He and Humpty Dumpty (Galifianakis) are in pursuit of a golden goose, in order to clear their names. This adventure takes place before meeting the ogre Shrek.
WHO'S IT FOR?: For those under the political persuasion that dogs rule and cats drool, they'll have more evidence to support this passion with this underwhelming spin-off. Adults will not be amused by this humor, and movie fans will be disappointed the casting of Hayek and Banderas (and Galifianakis, even) isn't being put towards another Desperado movie.
Years ago, in a land Far, Far Away, we lapped up the charm of Puss In Boots, immensely enjoying his brazen small-world machismo, and the fact that he was voiced by Spanish superstar Antonio Banderas.
The fact that this character was simply a cat likely didn't hurt his crowd-pleasing potential either. Since especially in our Youtube era, we LOVE cats. They maintain a type of innocence that dogs sometimes apparently lose when they grow out of their puppy stage. Even though dogs are more heroic (cats are factually selfish and super lame), we can easily enjoy watching a cat's dexterity, and their moments of cuteness when they're on the big screen. If I remember correctly, the "innocent eyes" of Puss were especially a big hit (even though that trick feels botched here).
Thankfully, as a product of pop culture's fixation (next to zombies and Betty White jokes, all of which need to die immediately), this cat doesn't delve into any "Can I Haz Cheezborger?" humor, but such low references don't seem out of reach for a dull spin-off such as this, that tries to spin a character's two minutes of "comic relief" from the usually abysmal Shrek humor into a full-length feature that can't stand on its own.
In some strange tactic to speak to the inner 'lil thugs and thug-ettes within movie's audience, Puss is even more of a troublemaker; a lost child who only has himself and his community to set him straight. But we are still introduced to him as a man (cat)whore, as he slinks away from his latest feline domination. Later on, there's a joke that references his "cat nip" to be akin to marijuana ("It's for my glaucoma," he says). Even if this is an attempt at striving to entertain all ages, it's an awkward one, and unnecessary. Puss In Boots makes its side character even more unlikeable, and not just because he has his own useless film to his name.
As one could probably say about a lot of movies that put in the extra effort to be more expensive, the 3D here is not necessary to whatever experience "Puss In Boots" has to offer. The animation does provide a more natural look to the format, as it doesn't completely remove its subjects from their settings like last week's The Three Musketeers. 3D ultimately loses its charm with Puss In Boots when it is used for action that becomes redundant. There seem to be a lot of moments in which Puss and friends slide off of things, (such as the beanstalk), or fall. Visually, Puss in Boots is exciting in a few spare shots, in which Puss is being chased through a building complex. We witness bits of this chase in an exciting first person perspective.
Puss In Boots is a spin-off with little magic; it's as if it was constructed from the scraps of whatever dumb humor dust was left on the writing room floor from the aggravating Shrek Forever After. Thankfully it doesn't delve into anachronistic pop culture gags like Shrek, but then again, it is still very stale. Humpty Dumpty even makes a reference to Fight Club. (Since I didn't see a DVD player in the land of Puss In Boots, I'll just assume Dumpty is a fan of Chuck Palahniuk's original novel).
To give a better sense as to the originality that Puss In Boots is able to dish as an animated 3D film, it has at least three sequences in which its characters are dancing. Usually, movies of this ilk seem to contain their foot loose impulses until right before the end credits, but Puss doesn't have much to rely on other than making things look happy and more lively than they are.
Fresh giggles aren't just laughing from Puss In Boots, it's also any of the action, which feels just as tiresome as any of the "jokes." Chase sequences meet their abrupt end at climatic cliffs. There is generally no surprise to behold from this movie's start to finish. Except for the fact that the first sequence was actually a "dance fight" sequence. I didn't see that coming.
Puss In Boots is a sourpuss piece of entertainment, proving that the character can't fully woo audiences with his kitty-eyes and Rico Suave charm alone.
FINAL SCORE: 3/10