Puss in Boots The Last Wish – Bright, Easy, and Frisky (4*)

Puss in Boots The Last Wish Is a terrific animated feature that will be enjoyed by children of all ages and their elders! It is the story of a legendary cat who faces his ninth life and discovers what is really important. (4*)
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

Puss in Boots The Last Wish – Snapshot 

Puss in Boots The Last Wish is a terrific animated feature that will be enjoyed by children of all ages and their elders!  It is the second chapter in the story of a legendary cat who, like many of us, faces his ninth life and discovers what is really important. (4*)

Where to Watch:

Stream: Netflix

Rent: Prime/Apple/Redbox/Vudu/YouTube ($4)

(Note: Some scenes might be a bit too intense for younger children!)

Puss in Boots The Last Wish – The Oscar Buzz 

Oscar Nominations:

Animated Feature Film

Puss in Boots The Last Wish received a single nomination for Animated Feature Film, putting it in our “special interest” list. (Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio won the Oscar!) The voice cast includes Oscar nominees Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek, and Oscar Winner Olivia Colman.

Puss in Boots The Last Wish – The Movie’s Family Tree

The Following Movies Share Talent with This One (and if you like these films, you might like this one):

The Croods: A New Age (20): Director (Crawford); Writer (Fisher); Editor (Ryan); Production Design (Wragg)

Puss in Boots (11): Writer (Wheeler); Production Design (Davis); Acting (Banderas/Hayek)

Desperado (95): Acting (Banderas/Hayek)

Puss in Boots The Last Wish  is an animated feature film from Dreamworks Animation, the studio responsible for 47 feature films that have lead the way in computer animation.  The crew for this movie derives heavily from The Croods film mentioned above and, of course the characters are largely taken from the original Puss in Boots movie, completed eleven years earlier.  The Puss in Boots character, voiced by Antonio Banderas, was originally introduced in Shrek 2 (04). Banderas and Salma Hayek, two of the three leading characters in The Last Wish, acted together in the western Desperado, nearly 30 years ago, where their infectious chemistry first caught fire.

Puss in Boots The Last Wish – What Others Think

Puss in Boots The Last Wish is an unqualified hit with general viewers, placing it at the top of this year’s animated films, first among all fifteen special interest films, and fourth of all 39 of this year’s movies.  Audiences loved this movie and for good reason.

Critics, well, they have a bit of a hard time with animated films anyway – especially when they are more family oriented.  Major reviews of Puss in Boots The Last Wish are hard to find, but overall the critical ranking puts this film at the bottom of the year’s animated films and all fifteen special interest movies, tied with Sea Beast.   Sometimes, though, the critics end up letting their admiration slip through.  Christy Lemire (RogerEbert) notes that Puss in Boots is “…a dashing adventurer, a charmer with the ladies, feared and renowned throughout the land – but he’s also unbearably adorable as he laps up milk from a shot glass with his pink, sandpaper tongue.”  Glenn Kenny (New York Times) grudgingly calls it “a tidy charmer”, compares it to the Fractured Fairy Tales of the old Rocky and Bullwinkle TV show (one of my fond childhood memories) and admits “It contains amusing jokes and has an old-fashioned impulse to tug at heart strings.”  (Still, though, for Kenny it remains just a family-oriented cartoon.)

Puss in Boots The Last Wish – Special Mention

Little Jack Horner – Puss in Boots The Last Wish makes reference to all kinds of nursery rhymes and fairy tales, most of which I can remember, even after almost seven decades!  But a central character in this film is “Big” Jack Horner, patterned after his earlier, smaller incarnation.  Maybe, like me, you don’t remember that one well, so to help us both out, I looked it up.  The rhyme, in its entirety is:

Little Jack Horner

Sat in the corner

Eating his Christmas pie;

He put in his thumb,

And pulled out a plum,

And said, “what a good boy am I!”

After a bit more research, I found that the rhyme has been used repeatedly starting in the 1800s as a metaphor for social criticism, talking about political opportunism.  Now maybe it’s just because of my particularly skewed political perspective, but if you look at the Horner character in the movie, in both his physical appearance and in his behavior, I can’t help but wonder if this isn’t a reference to a certain political figure of our time.  He’s fat, huge, dresses in a blue suit, and has light colored, almost orange hair.  He berates and abuses those that work for him, and is self obsessed to the point of narcissism.  And has to constantly note “what a good boy am I”.  Hmm.  Who does that remind you of?

Puss in Boots The Last Wish – Michael’s Moments

Puss in Boots The Last Wish is a terrific animated feature the entire family will enjoy.  From the storyline, all the way through to the final credit scenes, the movie demonstrates the highest qualities you can expect from an animated film.

The animation is all by computer and results in nearly seamless integration between characters and backgrounds. When Puss’s hair stands on end, due to an unusual emotion of fear, we see each of his hairs stand out, and might even get a rise out of yours.  When his eyes widen in adorable cuteness, we feel entranced.  When he battles the mountain man, we engage with him, knowing, like he does, who will emerge victorious.  (Well, somewhat!)

The characters are perfectly matched.  Puss pairs up with Kitty Softpaws, and we come to understand why they seem so comfortable with each other. They bond with, of all things, a kitten-imposter, Perrito (actually a small dog in disguise) and the developing relationship between the three of them reinforces important themes of friendship, love, and loyalty.  

They are on a mission but have to deal with two opponents who present obstacles of different kinds.  There is Big Jack Horner (see above) and he is the most difficult obstacle, but even he is endowed with a grab bag of images and skills from so many nursery rhymes and fairy tales, that he develops a certain fascinating persona.  But the trio also must compete with Goldilocks and her three bears, who, in a very different telling of the tale, are on the same quest as Puss, Kitty, and Perrito.  During the journey, the bears and Goldilocks discover that maybe they have more in common than they thought.

So there are several intriguing characters, but, unlike so many super-hero films, not so many that you can’t keep track.  And the story line incorporates many references to older stories ensuring that this film will entertain both younger audiences and the older family members that watch it with them.  And did I mention that the animation is terrific!

Relax, and enjoy the diversion, Puss in Boots The Last Wish. (4*)

Animated Films

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