For a movie that centers on the unlikely friendship between a talking boot-wearing feline and a sentient bank-robbing egg, as they search for a golden egg laying duckling who lives in a castle in the clouds, Puss in Boots is incredibly straight forward in its narrative. You have seen this story before, and if you were born pre-Y2K, you might have heard a few of the nursery rhymes it amalgamates. There are no surprises and it pretty much plays out the way you expected it from beginning to end. But it remains good harmless fun within tradition of DreamWorks’ double entendres.
As already mentioned, the story focuses on Puss (Antonio Banderas), who we already know from the Shrek films. Like any good western hero, Puss is an outlaw running from a mistake he made in the past. So far being an outlaw has worked for him, as it seems to get him laid with quite a few kitty-gals, but it doesn’t take long before the past to catches up with good old Puss. After a failed heist, Puss runs into an old friend, Humpty Alexander Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis), and the seductive Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek). The egg and the she-cat have a proposal for Puss: team up, steal the magic beans from Jack and Jill, climb the beanstalk, steal the golden goose, pay their debts, and live like kings the rest of their lives. The plan sounds great but Puss can’t shake the feeling H. A. Dumpty is hiding something.
Whether this story takes place before or after Puss’ adventures with Shrek is unclear; for all we know the Shrek films might have been a peyote-induced trip that happened during one of Puss’ escapades. Or vice versa. But the story stands on itself, and judging from the opening weekend numbers, it will not be a surprise when the next installment of the Puss in Boots adventures appears in theaters.
To be honest, Puss stole the spotlight in the Shrek movies since his introduction in the second film; it is actually surprising it took this long for his spin-off to be released. And once again the strong point here is Antonio Banderas’ voice acting, or lack of thereof (I think this is just his regular voice), as he speaks in a highly seductive Spanish accented voice. Salma Hayek does her best to keep up, but for some reason she doesn’t quite have the same spark in her accent, like her Iberian compatriots.
Nevertheless, an accent is not enough to lift up what is otherwise a predictable, at a Saturday morning cartoon level, movie. The animation, and the visuals are nice as well, but that is pretty much expected from a Dreamworks movie anyway. Try harder.