Watch me, if you dare

“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” didn’t have to go so hard

Marissa Getschman, Arts and Entertainment Editor

1hr 40m
★★★★★★★★★ 9/10 


From the pages of the 1690s Italian fairytale to the big screens in “Shrek,” the ginger feline known as Puss in Boots is a well known and beloved character around the world. Fans of the “Shrek” franchise were absolutely delighted with the release of the 2011 “Puss in Boots” film. Now, 11 years later, fans are delighted once more by the release of “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish.” 

Directed by Joel Crawford, the film follows Puss in Boots, voiced by Antonio Banderas, through the last of his nine lives on a dangerous journey to try and get them back through a wishing star. Joined by the merciless Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) and the joyous Perrito (Harvey Guillen), Puss enters the Dark Forest on a quest to find the Wishing Star. The trio is closely followed by criminals Goldilocks (Florence Pugh) and the three bears (Olivia Colman, Samson Kayo and Ray Winstone) as well as Jack Horner (John Mulaney) who each have a wish of their own. 

Puss in Boots comes face to face with Death. (Photo courtesy of Dreamworks)

To make the story more interesting and engaging, writers threw in a number of obstacles and subplots. Perhaps the most intriguing obstacle occurs in the fact that whoever holds the map to the wishing star alters the setting through which the adventurers must travel. Those with pure intentions supply an easy, lighthearted path to travel, while those with selfish dreams pull everyone within the dark forest into their own nightmarish plane. The story is filled to the brim with deceit and lessons to be learned. 

The writers don’t shy away from real life issues like anxiety and the importance of therapy. As Puss is on his last life, he is hunted by the big bad wolf, revealed to be Death, with the evil desire to see the cat meet a vile demise. Naturally, the ‘fearless hero’ is terrified but feels like he can’t tell anyone for fear of ruining his heroic image. His anxiety builds and builds until finally he breaks and confides in his found-family in a series of wholesome scenes that work to relieve the tension in a healthy and satisfying way. 

The stellar voice cast for “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” includes a number of big names that fit their animated counterparts perfectly. Antonio Banderas returns as the iconic voice of Puss in Boots. The actor has voiced the ginger feline since 2004 and has only become more attuned to the swashbuckling timbre that makes him Puss in Boots. Salma Hayek joined the franchise in 2011 with the release of the first film devoted to Puss in Boots. Voicing Kitty Softpaws, the deuteragonist of the film series, Hayek returns and matches Banderas’ energy with a mischievous cat-itude to her voice that defines the character. 

Among the big name stars lie several new voices to the series. The villains in particular bolster immense star power with names like Olivia Colmen, Florence Pugh and John Mulaney studding the cast list. All three are perfect for their roles and add their own unique flair to the voices of their individual characters. 

To support a brilliant story line and phenomenal cast, the art and animation style complete the film’s charm. Featuring whimsical flowerscapes and petrifying forests, the artists hold nothing back. Even the most gruesome characters come across as pleasing to the eye thanks to the art texture of the film. 

While most of the movie is animated smoothly and on a clear, high budget, the fight scenes are animated in a choppy, frame-by-frame manner. The scenes are masterfully crafted to come across as chaotic and slightly out of focus. A fight in real life would happen in the blink of an eye, so the change in animation styles feels necessary and adds a unique touch to the style of the film. 

“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” is a refreshing tail (pun intended) that will leave viewers, both children and adults, feeling as though their time was well spent. The film is packed with action and fun, making it a worthwhile addition to the “Shrek” franchise.