Is it the awesome bloodthirsty kitty that the PUSS IN BOOTS story is just screaming for? You know, the film filled with sexually suggestive & explicit kitty story that... well it really can never be, because for it to be that badass, it'd have to be about a dog. BUT... if you have to have a film about a lovable pussy walking about in a pair of boots and a cape... you can't really do better than this.
I've liked Antonio Banderas' PUSS IN BOOTS character from the SHREK films since he was introduced... though I didn't like much more than that. That's mainly because I was tired of the schtich from Myers & Murphy - and Banderas seemed to actually have a sparkle in that kitty character.
In PUSS IN BOOTS - Banderas really gets to strut and own the film the way that most of us, that would still love that Robert Rodriguez/Antonio Banderas ZORRO film that I'm still bitter about losing to Martin Campbell... It is time I move on. I can let go. But seriously, Antonio really does a great job of getting his soul, charm and flair into this Puss. I really can't imagine not enjoying it. I mean, you have Salma Hayek playing Kitty Softpaws (but is really playing a feline version of Selena Kyle) as Puss' romantic interest. You have Zach Galifianakis as a really kind of freaky creepy version of Humpty Dumpty - who is all Fred C. Dobbs after magic beans so he can get the Goose that lays the golden EGGS... something, that if Humpty Dumpty was a fairy tale baddie - I absolutely believe in that being his master evil plan. BUT - then you have the incestuously ambiguous JACK & JILL played perfectly by Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris.
I mean, if you look at that paragraph and your eyes glaze over... fine. Perhaps this isn't for you, but the fact that the film has a very latin flavored dynamic score and sound, with ZERO POP MUSIC LAMENESS... and that Shrek and that universe doesn't intrude here... well that delighted me. This is a bit of an orgin adventure for Puss... and I found myself watching the film thinking... about the next film that sucks PUSS IN BOOTS out of the Shrek universe altogether and placing him firmly in a more realistic human world where Puss makes his real legend known.
This is a great first solo adventure for Puss, but the story engine of the film really belongs to Zach's Humpty, can you believe they didn't do a "HUMPTY DANCE" sequence? SO HAPPY!
OH - almost forgot to mention this. The 3D on PUSS IN BOOTS is easily one of my favorite films to hit the format. The character works to really take advantage of all the kinds of shots that Hitchcock mined for DIAL M FOR MURDER... the character is always low angled or perched before something in the distance. When his sword comes into play, it is fantastic in moody slow moments. 3D isn't something a lot of critics single out and praise, but when it works like this... There's just an extra 25% of awe dancing out there in front of my nose - and I love the effect.
The only real complaint that I have with the film is something that sort of gets leveled at the Dreamworks Animation CG world is that the Background Characters are just boring terrible designs lacking of any real worth. When they get tapped to come forward, they're embarrassingly plain. I'm just enough of an animation geek, that in all animated films - I tend to check those characters out - often times they're filling out the frames of an animated film, but in a PIXAR animated film, I never see just a wasted character. In this - the populaces just can't compare to the main 5 characters in this film. It is a nitpick, but one that I hope they address in future films.
The main thing is this film is one helluva fun family adventure. It's got some nice quirks and odd turns that you will have you on board for the whole thing. It isn't quite the awesome flick that KUNG FU PANDA was... but it's pretty close to KUNG FU PANDA 2, which I liked quite a bit.
One of the secrets of this character that the filmmakers haven't yet realized is this... The more intense the fighting scenes can get with Puss in Boots - the more powerful this character can be. Fighting in a maelstrom kitty fur drenched, but smiling and fighting... Puss could very well be Errol Flynn for an entire generation of kids raised by parents who have no idea who that is. Sniffle. But the more dramatic they go with this series, the better it will get. PUSS is an action god waiting to really explode.
I really can't believe I typed that. But I sincerely believe that this cat pulling Flynn, Power, Fat, style action - with Banderas' accent and that lovable kitty face? Absolutely. I doubt we'll see that. But I definitely liked this one enough to want to see them do not just another, but one that redefines the character in a very aggressive and action way. But I could very well be crazy. But I remember once, Gene Siskel got a little goofy on a goose. We film writers are allowed.