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Film Festival Today

Founded by Jeremy Taylor

Film Review: “Puss In Boots”

Written by: FFT Webmaster | November 1st, 2011

* **OUT OF 4

Dreamworks Animation may not have the storytelling prowess of Pixar, but there is no doubt they have launched another successful franchise with this Shrek spin-off.  Antonio Banderas plays the eponymous hero in the lead voice actor role. Puss in Boots also features voice actors Zach Galifanakis (“Humpty Dumpty”) and Salma Hayek (“Kitty Southpaws”) as buddies of the “bad- ass swashbuckling feline” as he tracks down the murderous duo of Jack and Jill.

Puss made his debut in “Shrek 2” and then made appearances in the subsequent less humorous iterations. The film is exquisite in color and imagery and uses its 3-D with immersive effect. Banderas accents his delivery with a heavily pronounced Spanish and the writing is both revisionist and irreverent. That stated, the dramatic complexity of the story leaves something to be desired with a series of events that are often one dimensional.

It begins with a touch of Zorro and a clever imaginative flourish as we ease into the story of an orphaned cat who is on the run from a mistaken association with a bank robbery  carried out by childhood friend Humpty Dumpty.  Puss meets up again with Humpty after he served hard time for the crime and they decide to work together pilfering three magic beans from Jack and Jill (two hideous, morbidly obese thugs voiced by Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris)

Thus begins an epic quest wherein they climb up a corkscrew-shaped beanstalk and reach a castle in the sky where they encounter a baby golden goose that lays huge golden eggs, a giant mother goose with the disposition of Godzilla and Kitty Southpaws,   a cat burglar (Salma Hayek), who picks pockets with a stealthy touch and. steals Puss’ heart on the dance floor with a flamenco infused dance extravaganza.

It’s a pleasure to watch this film for its brilliant animation and set design and director Chris Miller, a franchise veteran, brings a tone and ambience that entertains in a fresh new way that is different than Shrek. The characters are drawn from nursery rhymes rather than fairy tales. The screenplay which has a few bumps along the way is credited to Tom Wheeler (creator of TV’s “The Cape”), with story credits for Brian Lynch (“Hop”) and Will Davies (“Johnny English Reborn”). The ninety minute running time is a bit of a stretch but nevertheless score another success for Jeffrey Katzenberg of SKG and the Dreamworks Animation Studio!

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