The Shrek franchise began tremendously with its first two instalments receiving worldwide critical acclaim but then came along the disappointing Shrek The Third and to round it off, the fourth instalment Shrek Forever After fulfilled the warmth and the comedy that provided a very good ending to the series. However, having said that it had concluded, there was something missing as it didn’t seem quite complete just yet. One of the main characters in the series, Puss In Boots, first-appeared mid-way through the Shrek sequel and we needed a glimpse of his past which would name this a spin-off. Films of this particular kind are usually an absolute waste as they go totally out of hand and because this was a prequel as well, expectations were rather mixed. Despite this, Puss In Boots turned out a great surprise that feels like one on its own without almost no connection to the Shrek franchise at all.
From the likes of particularly DreamWorks Animation and Pixar Animation Studios, each of the feature films presented embark us all on different adventures and meeting new characters from different backgrounds that provides the enchanting magic, the hilarious comedy and the binding and close bonds between the characters. Within Puss In Boots, it consists of an adventure into the classic fairy tales that we’d have read in our younger lives, which is what the four Shrek films express. So, it is, in that particular way, still linked to the series but as far as dialogue, comedy and action, Puss In Boots is more a less a particular kind of film alone.
Although its animation and only consists of voice-acting, Spanish actor Antonio Banderas gives a performance that he really was destined to portray the title character. He already was brilliant in the Shrek films but more than ever, Banderas adds a more badass and more heroic cat that we hadn’t really seen previously and we witnessed a rather emotionally attached and thought-provoking Puss that we didn’t see all that much within the Shrek series. Plus, he presents a character a lot like Zorro/Alejandro Murrieta who Banderas is well-known for playing. Mexican Academy Award nominee Salma Hayek, who has collaborated with Banderas on more than one occasion in leading roles (e.g. Desperado, Once Upon A Time In Mexico) provides a solid performance who brings forth an unusually sexy nature towards Kitty Softpaws as she expresses a Catwoman-like personality even though she’s actually a cat. So, due to the voice acting performance and how Hayek made us feel about her, she would have made a strong candidate for the Catwoman character.
The Hangover and Due Date funny man Zach Galifianakis goes somewhere a bit different with this one, not only because it’s animation but because the Humpty Dumpty character is occasionally a rather dark character, so that provides a rather new side of acting to him as well as the vintage laugh-out-loud humour that he brings forth here and has done in the past. Humpty is rather different here to the original tales of the character, but it’s still a very nice treat to see him on the big screen. Even more fairy tale classic characters are added to the list – Jack and Jill, who are portrayed by Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris. Having said that these two are the biggest villains in the film and their appearances aren’t frequent, they aren’t the innocent ones like in the nursery rhyme and older tales. So, like Humpty Dumpty, it was a delight to add them into the mix. Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy director Guillermo Del Toro amazingly came into the blue and appears in a brief role as the Moustache Man.
Chris Miller, the director who gave us the massive let-down that was Shrek The Third, directs Puss In Boots and reluctantly makes up for the previous disappointment he bought forth. These being the only two feature films that he has ever directed and has provided a balanced point of view about him now, whatever he’ll decide to be part of in the future will go either way. The most important feature that was in Puss In Boots that was a vital miss in Shrek The Third was that it provided a lot more warmth and strong bonds between the characters, and quite honestly if any animated film for kids doesn’t have that, it’s not going to work. It took three screenwriters to write this intriguing spin-off prequel and the hats go off to them as two of the three provide solid experience in writing an animated film and the third has illustrated participation within the comedy genre. So, in the writing category of the film, it turned out a successful triumph.
Overall, Puss In Boots is a charming and dazzling adventure that has almost no part of the Shrek series at all. Whether you’re a huge admirer of Shrek and its sequels or not, Puss In Boots is a family film that is filled with exciting and enchanting aspects that mixes the innocence of the story for kids with the childhood memories of the tales featuring the characters that’ll no doubt make this appealing for adults to really enjoy too.