- Running time:
- 90 minutes
- Antonio Banderas -
- Voice of Puss in Boots
- Salma Hayek -
- Voice of Kitty Softpaws
- Zach Galifianakis -
- Voice of Humpty Alexander Dumpty
- Billy Bob Thornton -
- Voice of Jack
- Amy Sedaris -
- Voice of Jill
Adorable outlaw hero Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) had all but abandoned his nearly lifelong quest for magic beans, until he learns that terrible twosome Jack (Billy Bob Thornton) and Jill (Amy Sedaris) may have discovered those very same legendary beans. Tailing Puss on his adventure to retrieve the treasure are mysterious cat burglar Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) and Puss’ devious former friend from childhood, Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis).
The buzz: A scene-stealer from the moment he first appeared on screen in “Shrek 2,” the plan to give Puss in Boots his own spinoff has been in the works for years—originally envisioned as a direct-to-video project and ultimately elevated to theatrical status. Other than Banderas, the cast and characters are entirely new, but director Chris Miller co-directed “Shrek the Third.”
The verdict: Reversing the downward spiral of the “Shrek” series, “Puss in Boots” has enough charm and visual delights to compensate for its own storytelling shortcomings. Puss himself is easily one of the best characters to emerge from the “Shrek”-verse—a diminutive swashbuckler with the oversized machismo of a distinguished fighter and lover and the distinctive tones of Banderas’ vibrant vocal work. Simply watching the character switch on a dime between pompous heroics and the instinctive behaviors of cat is a terrific joke that even a full-length film can’t wear out. Too bad credited screenwriter Tom Wheeler (of quickly cancelled TV series “The Cape”) fails to give Puss any characters worthy of their own spinoffs to bounce off of. Hayek’s slinky Kitty is a fine enough femme fatale and Galifianakis’ Humpty an OK foil as the bad egg buddy, but neither one surprises enough to make a strong impression. Even more disappointingly, ruthless hillbillies Jack and Jill are far too fleetingly used to justify the inspired pairing of Thornton and Sedaris. While the new characters and lackluster magic beans narrative tilt the film in the direction of second-rate spinoff-itis, the top-notch craftsmanship evens the balance. Most notably in the genuinely eye-popping 3D that demands to be seen on a big screen. For once, the technology truly enhances both major action setpieces and character detail alike. Puss’ wide-brimmed hat and duel-ready sword burst through the screen, while a succession of stunning sequences—a rollicking rooftop chase, a hilariously galvanizing dance-off, and the staggering growth of a magic beanstalk that lifts the leads into the sky—showcase the depth and beauty of expertly rendered 3D. It’s not quite enough to do the charismatic lead character total justice, but it’s close. And in a year filled with lackluster animated offerings, that’s a relief.
Did you know? In addition to the English language voiceover, Banderas also records two different Spanish language versions of Puss: one for distribution in South and Central America and another for Spain.
“Puss in Boots” is also playing in select IMAX theaters. Find local showtimes here.
“Puss in Boots” is also playing in 2D. Find local showtimes here.
Follow Metromix's Geoff Berkshire on Twitter: @geoffberkshire
Movie theaters and showtimes for Puss in Boots 3D in Ozarks.
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