Rob Reviews "Puss in Boots: The Last Wish"
Think about the fact that kids that were born when Shrek first entered our lives are now old enough to drink.
Go ahead. I’ll give you a moment there. I needed one myself.
All good? OK, let’s continue…
Since Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy first brought the story of Shrek and Donkey into our lives, their tales have taken a number of turns and even led to a spin-off for Antonio Banderas’ character, Puss in Boots. His take on the classic character rally paid off in a way due to both his velvety smooth tones brought as well as very sharp and witty writing to the tune of over a hall-billion dollars worldwide, and now the second feature with him at the character is upon us in “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish”.
This time around, Puss in Boots (there really isn’t a way to shorten his name without a Beavis and Butt-head type of reaction, let’s be honest) finds himself in a bit of a rough way after his latest scrap. He discovers that the reason for this is that he has spent eight of his nine lives, meaning that he is now fully mortal, and his level of recklessness needs to take a backseat if he wants to have a long life. As he brings himself to a cat rescue, he meets a cat-in-disguise (Harvey Guillen) that attaches himself to Puss in Boots, and as his past catches up to him he embarks on a quest to find a star that will grant him one wish… but he’s not the only one that wants it.
Salma Hayek Pinault’s Kitty Softpaws is the only returning character, and there is truly a reason for that which keeps the story moving at a nice pace. Avoiding as many spoilers as I can, know that there are also the voice talents of Florence Pugh, John Mulaney, Ray Winstone, Olivia Coleman, and Da-Vine Joy Randloph here, all of whom give great performances that had me laughing out loud more than once. There is even a nice conscious choice here to stray away from full-on CGI a bit by mixing in an animation style that I can only describe as like an oil painting was done in a graphic novel, which really worked for me as well. Getting away from the style that brought the character into prominence gave it a different flavor that actually fits the story nicely.
Here is the thing, though: Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is not necessarily a kids’ film. There are not only some fairly dark themes here as it pertains to greed, anger, and revenge but also some references that may confuse the younger crowd and in one specific case actually made me do a double take as to it being in there. This film seems to want to play more to at least the YA crowd that it does for the whole family. It is still incredibly entertaining and would go right up there with the best of this year’s animated films, but it definitely is not aiming to land with the soft-and-cuddly crowd.
There is no way that I will say to take the whole family for a day of wholesome fun, but if you have the teens with you, this is a film that will definitely have everyone laughing and cheering throughout. If this is truly The Last Wish, I am totally alright with that. However, if we get another generation of characters out of this (which we might), I will be first in line to see where we go from here.