Puss in Boots

As warm and loveable as Shrek was, many aficionados of the franchise will tell you what they really wanted was more cat.

With Puss in Boots, they get it. Big, cute kitty cat eyes, cats lapping milk with their little pink tongues, cats trading coulés with rapiers made of forged steel…

And while it’s not quite on par with its smelly, green predecessor, Puss in Boots still has more than enough action and adventure to keep all ages entertained.

Antonio Banderas returns to voice the cat we first met in 2004’s Shrek 2, and he’s joined by Salma Hayek as trusty sidekick Kitty Softpaws and Zach Galifianakis as Humpty Alexander Dumpty.

Billed as a prequel to the Shrek series, the movie finds Puss, Kitty, and Humpty on a quest to find those magical beanstalk beans of yore, which they hope to plant in order to reach the goose with the golden egg… which we all know is kept in the giant’s castle at the top of the beanstalk. They need the goose, you see, to help repay a debt that Humpty owes to the fair village of San Ricardo. The villains whom they must avoid? Jack and Jill, of course… who are presented here as beefy, short-tempered thugs.

Director Chris Miller (Shrek the Third) does an admirable job with first-timer Tom Wheeler’s funny script, but something’s missing– and it’s a supporting cast. There’s not enough of a sideshow to put Puss in a league with Shrek or even this year’s other (and superior) Dreamworks Animation feature Kung Fu Panda 2.

Banderas is perfectly wonderful reprising Puss (and giving him his long-needed moment in the sun), but the fun of the movie essentially begins and ends with him. Kitty and Humpty don’t bring a whole lot to the table, and Jack and Jill, though scene-stealers, are too seldom used.

Yes, Puss is hilarious in parts, swashbuckly in parts, and generally fun throughout, but this is just a case of falling a few whiskers short of being the cat’s meow.

3.5/5