Let’s Talk About Movies: Puss in Boots

Although “Puss in Boots” is not going to set the cinematic world on fire, the movie presents an enjoyable story with likable characters in a family-friendly atmosphere.

Previously a supporting character in the “Shrek” series, Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) steps into a leading role with a stand-alone tale that goes into his back-story.

Mysteriously abandoned at an orphanage in San Ricardo, Imeda (Constance Marie) takes our hero into the orphanage where he meets Humpty Alexander Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis). After becoming fast friends, the two begin searching for the legendary magic beans, which allow access to the Giant’s castle in the sky. Should they reach the castle; the two intend to steal some golden eggs laid by the golden goose held by the Giant.

As the characters grow older, their focus on finding the beans wanes. Puss becomes a town hero while Humpty engages in increasing nefarious acts. Eventually, one night Humpty tricks Puss into robbing the San Ricardo Bank, an event that leaves Puss as an outcast of San Ricardo.

Fast forward to the present, Puss learns that Jack (Billy Bob Thornton) and Jill (Amy Sedaris) possess the beans. Concocting a plan to steal the beans, Puss thinks that if he can bring back some of the eggs to San Ricardo, he will exonerate himself. However, while attempting to lift the beans, a fellow thief, Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek), interrupts the heist, which sets Puss down the path of adventure and betrayal.

“Puss in Boots” contains a charming storyline with a good mix of entertainment for children and adults. Providing a nice alternative to the kiddie-joke heavy plot, certain moments solicit chuckles from older audience members without disrupting the overall children-first vibe of the movie.

Contributing the vibe of the movie, slick animation throughout “Puss in Boots” brings the various scenic Spanish locales to life. I was really impressed by the settings in this movie. Careful design and thoughtful layout of the environments really appealed to me throughout “Puss in Boots.”

I found most of the characters enjoyable with the exception of a few minor characters. The voice acting was superb, especially Banderas, who seems to have found a renewed vigor from the previous films in which the character appeared.

Paramount to the fairy tale genre, the storytelling was sublime and elegant. The story flowed logically from point to point, pacing the film excellently.

“Puss in Boots” breaks away from the rut in which the later “Shrek” films found themselves while presenting a refreshing return to that fairy tale universe. Providing enough uniqueness, while keeping enough familiarity, “Puss in Boots” is an enjoyable romp for every moviegoer.

At the end of the day, “Puss in Boots” is what it is: an expendable family-fun film that excels in many aspects. I fully expect this movie will remain in theaters through Thanksgiving, so I recommend seeing “Puss in Boots” with the family.

I don’t think “Puss in Boots” is going to win any Oscars. But, with Pixar laying its first egg in “Cars 2,” I do think the field is more wide open than in recent years. Regardless, if you like to laugh, check out this film.

Final Grade: B+       MPAA Rating: PG