Puss in Boots (2011) – Film Review
Director: Chris Miller
Voice Cast: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis
by Nate Wisniewski
Puss In Boots hits the cinema in a strange position. Not literally, of course – I mean, the 3D isn’t that good. But the timing of Puss In Boots, with the whole Shrek franchise at its least popular, has more than a whiff of ‘rebranding a tired image’ about it.
Sure, we all loved Shrek. But in the way old hippies love Marc Bolan’s Tyrannosaurus Rex. They know where it all ends: a two dimensional cliché full of glam swagger and no substance. In the right hands, Puss In Boots could put the boat back on course. In the wrong hands, it could sink Shrek once and for all.
Closer to success than failure, Puss In Boots, lies somewhere between the two. And while it doesn’t recapture the magic of the first Shrek film, it is certainly the best instalment in the series since. As with any Dreamworks creation, the CGI is masterful. A group of skilled artists at the top of their game. Puss’s (Antonio Banderas) facial expressions, the movement of his hair and whiskers, the fact that somehow he has a charming smile – it’s all so well executed we almost don’t notice it.
“More than enough laughs”
Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis), Puss’s partner in crime, is also brilliantly handled. By blending a realistic, almost human, face into the centre of his… well, his egg, gave the character’s expressions a depth and contrasting absurdity that provides many laughs. In particular, a slow motion scene in which Humpty is carried away by birds (the penultimate play in a great sequence of sight gags) could well be one of Dreamworks’ greatest comedy moments. Humpty’s face, the intensity and absurdism of the image: it’s genuinely hilarious. In fact, I’m laughing again now just thinking about it. Sure, it’s not particularly ‘deep’ or thoughtful, but that’s not what you come to the film expecting. Or at least, you shouldn’t. And there’s more than enough laughs and fun action to make it worth a watch.
It starts superbly, in fact, throwing us straight into the action with good jokes and instantly likeable characters. Unfortunately, after about half an hour, it all falls flat.
It’s as if, guilty of the good time we were all having, the team decide to balance things out with a dull, overly explained ‘plot segment’ to compensate. The film recovers towards the end, and, thanks to a few interesting twists, you should leave feeling vaguely happy with it all.
But if you’re planning on watching the DVD release, perhaps the best advice I can give is to put some food on as it begins. Something that takes about half an hour to cook and a while to eat, like lasagna. Trust me, as the food is ready to eat, the film will start to drag and you’ll be glad of the respite. Once you’ve finished eating, you should have timed it pretty well for it all to start becoming interesting again.