Reviewed by Kevin Finnerty
“Fear me, if you dare,” says Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) to a foxy feline hooded thief who has bungled his latest attempt to steal the magical beans from the notorious outlaws Jack and Jill in the animated adventure, Puss in Boots.
After trying to out dance the thief, Puss discovers she works for his old friend-turned-enemy Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis). Dumpty wants Puss to team up with him and his henchcat, Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek), to go after the magic beans, steal them from Jack and Jill, and plant them just in the right spot to create the magical giant beanstalk so the three of them can go after the goose that lays the golden eggs. However, Puss has no interest in teaming up because of the haunted and hurtful past he and Humpty have between them.
Determined to fulfill his childhood dream, Humpty Dumpty sends Kitty after Puss to convince him to change his mind. Puss then begins to relate the long story of how he and Dumpty became best friends and how it all went wrong, even with Kitty pleading with him not to tell her his life story. Dumpty and Kitty finally convince Puss that it will take all three of them working together to pull off this caper of the fairy tale century.
Puss in Boots is an animated action, adventure, prequel that is short on action and long on talk. The film’s pacing is very uneven, starting with a fast, fun opening sequence only to slow to a crawl as some of the key characters are introduced. The entire backstory between Puss and Dumpty takes up way too much time in the film, bogging it down and causing its key audience, the children, to lose interest about what’s happening on the screen and start to ask Mom or Dad for more popcorn or a bathroom break.
The actual heist involving the classic beanstalk, the castle in the sky, and the golden goose is far too brief to ever have the chance to become exciting. And the 3D effect, which should have the audience feeling as though they are traveling upwards to the castle in the sky with Puss and his comrades, fails miserably. The Disney classic short Mickey and the Beanstalk is far more original, funny, suspenseful and entertaining.
The voice talents do a solid job delivering their lines and bringing the fairy tale characters to life for this, the very first adventure of the cat with a hat, sword and big boots. Antonio Banderas is puuurfect as the voice of Puss, the playful, cute, cunning, suave, and loyal cat bandit who’s really a hero underneath his furry coat. Salma Hayek is effective as the voice of Kitty, the female thief who might just be Puss’ match, and Zach Galifianakis is adequate as the voice of Humpty Dumpty, the egg criminal mastermind who seems to be playing all the angles and has much more on his shell than just a big heist.
Being an origin story of one of the best characters in the Shrek films, Puss in Boots lacks the creativeness, the humor, and the action fans will be expecting to see up on the big screen. There’s also no reason to see it in 3D due to the fact the 3D effects seem to disappear after the first 20 minutes of a 90 minute movie.
Puss in Boots was directed by and hits theaters on October 28, 2011.