I tried to make it, but I never got to the theater to see DreamWorks’ “Puss in Boots” last year.
Then it got nominated for an Oscar, so I was extra happy to get my review copy of the recently released Blu-ray and DVD.
And while I did enjoy it, I can’t believe it got nominated over the absolutely delightful “Arthur Christmas.” What were they thinking?! (“Rango” still deserved the win, by the way.)
But what can I say about “Puss in Boots”?
He’s the best thing to come out of the “Shrek” sequels, and Antonio Banderas does a fantastic job giving him suave voice. Salma Hayek matches him as Kitty Softpaws.
And there are lots of great touches. Cat people, especially, will get some giggles out of sight gags with milk, lights and kitty hygiene. There are also some funny moments playing on Puss’ Don Juan side.
But I was never able to fully warm up to the story.
In this prequel, Puss tries to steal magic beans from Jack and Jill so he can go up to the giant’s castle in the clouds and steal some golden eggs to repay a past debt.
But he’s thwarted by a masked cat, and after a funny dance-off winds up teamed with Kitty Softpaws and his former blood brother, now enemy, Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis). Humpty also wants the eggs, so he convinces Puss the only way anyone will get what they want is to work together.
Am I the only one who thought Jack and Jill (of “Jack and Jill went up the hill”) were brother and sister in the rhyme? So to see them as a married couple with Southern hick accents added an unfortunate eww factor to the proceedings for me.
There’s some fun derring-do and witty back and forth between Puss and Kitty, but their development is too by-the-books and feels stilted. Humpty never fully jells as a character, and his motivations seem forced. And the golden goose is disappointing.
“Disappointing” is a good word to describe the movie as a whole, I think.
Puss, as a character, showed great potential in the “Shrek” movies. But as written here, he can’t quite sustain the film, and his supporting cast doesn’t give him enough help.
Is it worth watching? Absolutely, but it could have used a bit more of the creativity and oomph that went into the original “Shrek.”