PUSS IN BOOTS: THE LAST WISH might be the best animated film in a very long time


Jackson Piercy 
Staff Writer


Puss (Antonio Banderas) admonishing a foe. Photo from imdb.com

When we see studios reviving IPs many years after the last installment, it’s easy to be cynical about the product that rears its ugly head over the horizon. Especially in the case of children’s films. The studio phones it in and gets their quick buck. To be entirely honest, I can’t exactly blame them. If you build it, they will come. On the other side of that coin, however, studios can see films in these circumstances as almost freeing. The weight of the last film isn’t exactly in the In that, there’s also an opportunity to revive something long-dormant and just wait for the fat paychecks to roll on in. What I’m saying here is that Dreamworks did not have to go as hard as they did here, but I am so glad that they did.

The titular Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) has still been up to his thievery and romancing, the kitty casanova going from town to town partying it up and fighting ne’er-do-wells, until he runs into a hitch. After his last escapade, Puss is down to the last of his nine lives. With this information, Puss decides to go into retirement, where he meets a prospective unnamed therapy dog (Harvey Guillén). That is until Goldilocks (Florence Pugh) and the three bears (Ray Winstone as Papa, Olivia Coleman as Mama, and Samson Kayo as Baby Bear) come looking for Puss’s services in searching for the mythical Last Wish. On the way, Puss meets his old flame in Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek), former pie mascot Jack Horner (John Mulaney), and a mysterious wolf (Wagner Moura) who follows Puss’s every move.

I cannot put into words how beautiful this movie is. This is Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse levels of visual ingenuity. On top of that, there are many more elements that are taken from live-action films, editing and cross-dissolving techniques that are absolutely astonishing to see on the big screen. On the surface, this seems to be a movie for the kiddos, something that parents can turn on so they can turn their brains off. Now, I’m not saying that people aren’t going to use this film to do that very thing. What I am saying, however, is that this may be a film for younger audiences, but this film is much more respectful of its audience. This isn’t a movie that talks down to you to get themes across, and that’s really what put this movie over the top for me. Not only that but the chemistry of the cast, the near-constant stream of both verbal and visual gags in this film, and the fact that it’s juggling as much as it is so very well, it’s just an incredible package. The Shrek franchise, despite a few minor setbacks in the past, seems to be back on track, and I don’t think it’s going anywhere for a very long time if this film is any indication.

You are doing yourself a major disservice by not seeing this film. I can’t say this film is perfect, but I will tell you that it is extremely hard to find things wrong with this film. Many of these characters could carry movies on their own, and there are some overarching themes that could very easily be their own films, but I’m very glad that I don’t have to go to too many places to get this nearly perfect package.