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Shrek has been a phenomenal hit over the years, but it has definitely run its course. So what does Dreamworks do? Drag the series out even longer by using one of the popular characters and letting Puss in Boots have his very own film! I was sceptical when my girls said they would like to spend a little pocket money they had buying this new release on DVD. Having been there done that with all the Shrek films, I didn't think it could possibly have anywhere else to go (in fact Dreamworks originally intended for this film to go straight to DVD), but Puss in Boots has managed to go it alone and produce a funny, cute and laugh out loud film perfect for little ones and big ones alike. The film follows Puss in Boots before he met Shrek and the adorable Donkey, from his roots (it turns out he was an extremely cute orphan kitten) which see him grow up into a tough and independent kitty with the full support of his adoptive mother. After sticking up for Humpty Dumpty, they become firm friends but when Humpty goes too far and basically becomes a criminal, he takes Puss in Boots along for the ride. Puss is of course innocent and spends many years trying to prove he is the honourable Puss in Boots he was named when his mother gave him his boots and hat. Along the way we are introduced to Kitty Softpaws, Jack and Jill, Jack and the Beanstalk and of course the golden goose. In order to prove their worth and save the village they love so much, Puss in Boots must pull of a grand plan which involves making enemies of some very large and scary characters!.... The film has a variety of well known tales and nursery characters along the way, so children will be fairly familiar with certain parts of the story (although some of the nursery characters have a definite twist on the original - Jack and Jill spring to mind here!). The film is really funny in places, and although it doesn't contain quite so many innuendos as Shrek did (which made adult viewers love the film as much as the children did), it definitely has some laughs along the way and some jokes that may go above the heads of little ones. The effects are nothing that you wouldn't expect, even down to the detail of the fur on Puss in Boots. Kitty Softpaws is voiced by Salma Hayek, while Billy Bob Thornton voices Jack (of Jack and Jill), and of course Puss in Boots continues to be voiced by Antonio Banderas. The characters are all likeable and have their own funny little quirks. The film continues (as do most Dreamworks productions) right into the credits with Puss returning to the Glitter Box where he and Kitty Softpaws dance together and the other cats spell out the actors' names with their bodies. Although my girls both absolutely loved this film and have watched it twice already in just a few days, they both burst into tears in one particular part when Puss in Boots was feeling fairly sorry for himself. My eldest is particularly sensitive and she was quite upset, but once I explained that things would be ok in the end (aren't they always in kids films?!) she seemed to be ok. So... if you have sensitive children, expect tears! Thoroughly recommended. Another thumbs up to Dreamworks. Runtime: 90 minutes.
While I feel that this movie will be entertaining for children and young teenagers alike, I do not believe that it holds much in the way of entertainment for adults. Antonio Banderas is as ever excellent in the role of Puss but the movie does not hold together very well with the other characters and Humpty Dumpty as a fat round turning evil egg didn't seem to or do the movie any good overall. The premise of the story moves around the fact that Puss in Boots is alienated somewhat from his home town (mainly because of Humpty's volatile behaviour) and when Puss saves the day as a young kitten, Humpty takes offence and will not speak to him or have anything further to do with Puss. Puss's love interest comes in the form of Kitty (Salma Hayek) and the chemistry between them is good but not outstanding. All the one liner jokes are a little on the corny side to say the least and when they challenge each other to what initially appears to be a fight but instead is a dance, then it lost most of its appeal to me. Although the animation in the film is absolutely astounding (and to be fair it gives a stunning visual experience to the movie) it is not my favourite dream works movie. I found myself wishing that the script writers had given more thought to the plot and character building and despite Antonio's excellent performance the movie fell a little short for me.
Puss in Boots is a wanted fugitive in his hometown of San Ricardo thanks a mistake several years ago with his so-called friend Humpty Alexander Dumpty. Humpty tricked Puss into something he didn't want to do, and now Puss is paying the ultimate price. When Humpty reappears in his life complete with new cat sidekick Kitty Softpaws begging for his help to steal some magic beans from murderers Jack and Jill, and Puss decides to go along with it to make Humpty happy. When they get up the beanstalk, they decide to steal the Golden Goose but this leads to problems they didn't see coming. Will Puss be able to save San Ricardo and its residents once and for all, or is he going back to prison for the rest of his nine lives?! Harry absolutely loved the character of Puss in Boots from the later 'Shrek' movies so when this film was able at KidsAM sessions at Vue cinemas, of course I decided to take Harry along, I rather fancied seeing it too! It's made by Dreamworks who always produce really good quality children's films so I knew we were onto a winner with this one. Although Puss is from the Shrek quadrilogy, this film is entirely a stand-alone so you can watch it without having watched any of the Shrek film as the storyline isn't at all tied in to those films. The cinema was completely packed for the Saturday morning showing, and judging by the reactions of the children coming out at the end, they'd enjoyed every minute and Harry told me he wanted to go the next day too! Antonia Banderas reprises his role of Puss in Boots, and I'm so glad that he did this film because the character of Puss simply wouldn't be the same without his Spanish dulcet tones over it! He somehow perfectly encapsulates this cat and I couldn't imagine him sounding any other way. His voice is quite deep in parts and I did struggle to hear him over the soundtrack in parts, but for the most part it was fine and I really enjoyed listening to him perform as Puss once again. His female vocal sidekick is none other than the lovely Mexican actress Salma Hayek. I find for me she can be a bit hit and miss but I thought she was great as the blue eyes pussycat Kitty Softpaws. Her and Banderas have a good chemistry from what I heard on the film, and I think they were the perfect actors for these parts, and suited the roles really well. Humpty Dumpty is voiced by actor Zach Galifianakis who I best know from the Hangover films as the hilarious but dim Alan. I thought he was really good as the greedy and strange Humpty, intent on stealing the magic beans and climbing the beanstalk at any cost, and making Puss pay for his running away years ago. I will say now that I didn't know who he was throughout the film, his voice wasn't as distinctive as the main stars but I liked not picturing Zach every time I heard him, I just took him as Humpty! Billy Bob Thornton was fab as the evil Jack, I did recognise his voice too. Overall though, I felt the voice cast did a really good job with the film, they all put a lot into their roles, in particular Banderas and Hayek, and I found it an easy watch in that respect. The animation in the film was of a brilliant standard, no less than you'd expect from a company like Dreamworks to be honest, and they really did well with this one. I feel that cats could possibly have been hard to animate because of the fur and movements, but they did a really good job and the cat characters really are "cat-like". I particularly enjoyed some of the more action type scenes as well, especially the scenes with the birth of the beanstalk, a great combination of animation and soundtrack were used here to create a really great scene. As for the soundtrack, it had a great Spanish feel all the way through, the music suited each of the scene's requirements, and I loved the use of Lady Gaga's "Americano" at the end too. The story itself wasn't the strongest I've ever seen, but it makes good use of fairytale characters as we have seen utilised before in the Shrek series, and in this film we see Humpty Dumpty, Jack and Jill, and Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk, but manages to make sure Puss and Kitty are the main characters on show here. I really did enjoy watching this film, and even though I felt it had a bit of a slow start that took a little too long for my liking to get going, especially for a children's film, it took off well and by the end, I was enjoyed every minute. There are a few jokes in there just for the grown ups that will fly over the head of the younger audience, but are much appreciated by the grown ups having to sit through it too. A good story, loveable main characters and plenty going on ensures the target audience are well catered for, and I have to say the humour was aimed perfectly too, with Harry laughing out loud throughout, he really did find it funny which was great. It's a great off spin off film from a successful franchise that really does work well alone too, and if you have children aged 4 and over, then I'm sure they will enjoy Puss In Boots, we certainly did, and I'm sure it'll be making its way into our DVD collection sometime soon! Directed by Chris Miller Written by Charles Perrault and Wililam Davies Certificate: U Running Time: 90 minutes Main Cast: Antonio Banderas ... Puss in Boots (voice) Salma Hayek ... Kitty Softpaws (voice) Zach Galifianakis ... Humpty Dumpty (voice) Billy Bob Thornton ... Jack (voice) Amy Sedaris ... Jill (voice) Constance Marie ... Imelda (voice) The DVD is due for release on 2nd April 2012, although no price has yet been set (February 2012). Thank you for reading.