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‘Puss in Boots’ a magical revival

If it seems like a long time since audiences have been transported to the Kingdom of Far Far Away. That is because it has been exactly 13 years since the last ‘Shrek’ film and 11 years since the ‘Puss in Boots’ spin-off hit our screens. Given the raging success of the franchise at the box office it is hard to believe that DreamWorks has left it so long between outings into Far Far Away, but now at last the wait is over as Puss returns in ‘Puss in Boots: The Last Wish’.

By David Griffiths

Saturday 7 January 2023, 11:00AM

Antonio Banderas in ‘Puss in Boots: The Last Wish’ (2022). Image: IMDb

Antonio Banderas in ‘Puss in Boots: The Last Wish’ (2022). Image: IMDb

Directed by Joel Crawford (The Croods: A New Age) and Januel Mercado (Harvey Beaks), the film opens with Puss (voiced by Antonio Banderas – The Mask of Zorro) at his swashbuckling best. In a daring raid he has managed to steal from the rich and deliver to the poor all while singing and dancing one of the catchiest tunes Hollywood has ever heard, but it all comes crashing down when Puss once again dies.

Once he has resurrected he is told by a doctor that he is now on the final of his nine lives. Unwilling to face his mortality, Puss decides that it is time for him to retire from his life of crime and soon he finds himself unwillingly living as a cat in a home for retired cats.

Here, he befriends Perrito (Harvey Guillen – What We Do in the Shadows), a cute dog pretending to be a cat. Their rocky friendship begins but soon they find themselves in danger when the criminally minded Goldilocks (Florence Pugh – Black Widow) turns up with Papa Bear (Ray Winstone – The Departed), Mama Bear (Olivia Colman – The Lost Daughter) and Baby Bear (Samson Kayo – The Bubble) turn up looking to kidnap Puss to take him on a daring mission to steal from the murderous Jack Horner (John Mulaney – Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse).

At first Puss and Perrito hide from Goldilocks, but once they learn the item they plan on stealing may lead them to something that can grant them wishes Puss sees the opportunity to have his nine lives restored. Soon he begins his own mission but finds that he must work with the heart-broken and angry Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek – Wild Wild West) all while trying to outsmart Jack Horner as well as Goldilocks and her crew.

Credit really must be paid to screenwriter Paul Fisher (The Croods: A New Age) for his work on this film because it is his ingenious screenplay that has led to one of the most enjoyable films of the year. And this is not just a film that the kids are going to love, this is a film that is guaranteed to become a favourite for the entire family – even the adults.

If you thought that there was no way there could be any more creatives juices left in this franchise, then think again… because Fisher’s ideas turns Jack Horner into a Joker-esque character that is almost too dark for a children’s film while Goldilocks and The Three Bears become a family of British gangsters that wouldn’t be out of place in a Guy Ritchie film. And while all those ideas sound totally absurd, they all work so well that this film is going to become an absolute classic.

What else makes this film so special is that in amongst all the laughter, singing and dancing, Fisher has also created an amazing story that explores what it means to be a family, especially touching on whether Goldilocks can accept that she is adopted yet still loved, and the impact of facing one’s mortality may have on someone. The thoughts and emotions that Puss has when he discovers that he is on his last life are no different to what someone would feel if they find out that they are terminally ill.

The great thing about the way that Fisher’s screenplay has been brought to life by the co-directors is that those serious topics are in there for adults and older kids to think about but are cleverly disguised in such a way that younger children can enjoy the film without being exposed to topics that they are too young to be thinking about.

Many may dismiss this as simply a money-grab seeing it has been so long between drinks in this franchise – but nothing could be further from the truth. To be honest, this is perhaps the best film to date in the Shrek franchise and shows that there are plenty more stories left to be explored with these characters – that may become important seeing the ending of this film suggests another Shrek film is not far off. Thought-provoking yet fun, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is one of the best films to be released this holiday season.

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is currently screening in Phuket.

4/5 Stars

David Griffiths has been working as a film and music reviewer for over 20 years. That time has seen him work in radio, television and in print. You can follow him at www.facebook.com/subcultureentertainmentaus 

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Galong | 10 January 2023 - 14:45:55

It was much better than I expected. Another, completely different movie that's out now is 'The Menu". A bit weird, but at least it's original.


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