*SPOILER ALERT* If you haven’t seen “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” I suggest you watch it before proceeding.
Despite a lack of recognition in the first month of the film’s existence, “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” has captivated the hearts of many and is here to stay a bit longer. DreamWorks was recently given permission to extend its run in theaters due to recent popularity and overwhelmingly positive feedback.
The sequel, produced 11 years after its predecessor, depicts the crisis Puss (Antonio Banderas) faces when he discovers he is down to his last of nine lives. Puss decides to no longer be his venturous self and just relax, as another mission could end his life permanently. This is extremely difficult for Puss, as he places his life’s worth into being a boisterous hero; therefore, he makes it his mission to find a star that landed on Earth and contains a single wish.
This entire film is a masterclass by the director Joel Crawford, and one of the concepts he portrays best is the notion that the courageous hero still feels fear. One of the earlier scenes in the film shows Puss at the bar, lapping up his milk, as the Big Bad Wolf approaches with a “Wanted: Dead or Alive” poster with Puss’s image on it. Unphased, Puss unsheaths his sword and is immediately disarmed by the wolf. It’s at this point where we see Puss’s fur stand up and the fear engulf his eyes.
Throughout the remainder of the movie, Puss remains fearful of the Big Bad Wolf whenever he encounters him, and the Big Bad Wolf is a frightening character.
One of the strongest features of the film is its animation style. The colors and clarity of the characters and scenes are beautiful and portray the characters and action scenes phenomenally. The specificity that can be revealed with modern-day technology is incredible. Little things such as the fur standing up on Puss or the red eyes and evil glare on the Big Bad Wolf’s face contribute to the cinematic appeal.
The combination of the animation and the talented voice actors makes for more entertaining scenes and lovable/hateable characters. Though the voice actors are great, I think the voice of John Mulaney as the villain (Jack Horner) was a bit misplaced. Maybe I just watch and listen to John Mulaney too much.
The primary theme that one should “never take life for granted” is portrayed clearly in this film. Puss’s mood and attitude toward life continues to get better throughout the film while he’s searching for the star with Kitty and Perrito, the two characters he goes on this endeavor with. His mood continually gets better despite his initial fear of death.
In the beginning, Puss is a heroic figure with a big ego that often only thinks of himself. He sets out to find the star because he wants to continue to fight bad guys, avoid death and go on these exciting adventures, but by the end of the film, Puss is selfless and ultimately decides not to take the star for himself.
The same goes for a side-character, Goldilocks. Goldilocks and her family of bears try to track down Puss to get him to help them find the map that leads to the star because Goldilocks’ one wish is to find a human family, but by the end of the film she realizes how lucky she is to have such a great family that was willing to take her in and love her.
The themes within the movie, such as the presence of mortality and the idea of never taking life for granted, propel this movie greatly. Puss’s action scenes are enjoyable, especially when he fends off the Big Bad Wolf at the end of the movie. He shows that he isn’t trying to cheat himself out of death and is no longer afraid of it. The humor and light-heartedness (especially of Perrito) are apparent throughout the film and make the characters much more enjoyable. Overall, the film far exceeded my expectations and has solidified its spot in the top 5 animated films of the past decade.
Written By: Cade Michaelson