Puss in Boots is the cat’s meow
Who knew there was life in the previously pronounced-dead “Shrek” animation series? Well, actually, anyone and probably everyone who saw the last several installments and witnessed the scene-stealing hi-jinks of one suave kitty named “Puss in Boots.” Dreamworks no doubt saw the potential and gave the dashing gato (voiced by Antonio Banderas) his own full length film, and to say the least, its muy bueno.
The other inspired decision the studio made was to stray far away from the pop culture dependency of the “Shrek” series as well as the over-reliance on potty humor that grew so tiring, oh, about halfway through the first film.
Instead, the talented team of writers put “Puss” as the furry hero of his own spaghetti western and provided him with a cast of fun co-stars and gorgeous canyonland backdrops.
As for Banderas, his voice and attitude are a perfect match for this feline protagonist, capitalizing on the charismatic Spaniard attitude from his two “Zorro” films.
A purrfectly natural rival and, of course, love interest is cat burglar Kitty Soft Paws (Salma Hayek).
Early in the film the two square off in flamenco-scored dance fight that is as inspired a few minutes as you are likely to see this year from an animated film.
Also well cast are the vocal talents of Zach Galifianakis as Puss’ childhood friend “Humpty Dumpty,” and Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris as the burly and angry couple Jack and Jill owners of the magic golden goose-yielding beanstalk beans.
Just about every cat cliché is thrown into the mix, (much like this review) from affection for a saucer of milk or moving lights, to the old adage of kitties always landing on their feet. And just try and resist Puss’ enlarged eyes that could disarm even the most ardent dog lover, especially with a plot so quick-witted and fast-paced.
The 3D treatment is fine, but not necessary to enjoy this most cuddly of kitty concoctions.
Rated PG for some adventure action and mild rude humor.