- Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Harvey Guillén
- Joel Crawford and Januel Mercado
- Action, Adventure, Children, Comedy, Family
- Release date
- December 21, 2022
- Where to watch
- Vudu (rent or buy), Amazon Prime (rent or buy)
Puss in Boots The Last Wish takes audiences on a wild ride through a land of magic and mystery as the titular character goes on a journey to reclaim his nine lives. Voiced by Antonio Banderas (The Mask of Zorro), the film is a visual masterpiece with a stunningly beautiful and unique design that perfects the storybook-in-three-dimensions style that began with 2001’s Shrek. It is a work of art that should be watched if for no other reason than to lose yourself in its ambiance.
Puss In Boots The Last Wish
Boasting fun and engaging vocal performances that are artfully brought to life by Dreamworks animators, Puss in Boots The Last Wish will keep audiences of all ages involved and entertained. That being said, it is not a perfect film, nor a perfect film for children. The filmmakers made a number of inappropriate choices for a children’s show that will jolt some viewers out of the moment (see below). Furthermore, the far more interesting storyline of an aging swashbuckling hero who has never given his own mortality a second thought, now finding himself literally running from and confronting the physical manifestation of death is relegated to a secondary position. Instead, what has become fairly standard fair in the last few years, the much-overplayed hero must acknowledge his selfishness and learn that friendship is worth more than laurels storyline is the film’s focus.
Puss in Boots The Last Wish is a slick and masterful piece of animation with good vocal performances, terrific pacing, and breathtaking animation that all help to overshadow its rather mundane plot and recycled jokes.
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INAPPROPRIATE ELEMENTS FOR CHILDREN
The most egregious instance of inappropriateness is all of the implied, interrupted, blatantly said, and repeatedly bleeped-out cursing. This is a children’s movie and the cursing was out of hand. Each time, it was played for a laugh, but no laugh that it could have produced outweighed the inappropriateness of it being in a kids’ film. Quite frankly the cursing jokes weren’t funny, and I’m not saying that because I’m a prude. If anything, I curse far too much in my private life, but I keep it away from my children. I know that many will argue that the film’s violence is far worse for children than its cursing. However, the violence (while inappropriate for the very young) is fictional while the cursing is real, even if the situation in which it is being used is fictional.
So let’s talk about the violence. This movie is many things, and violent is certainly among them. The character of Death/Wolf is menacing and the combat scenes are frenetic and intense, much like the cursing, I felt that the movie went too far in this. The moment that Puss gets cut by his enemy’s weapon and we see his blood dripping from his head into his palm, the filmmakers jumped the shark and made it impossible for me to let my young daughters watch this unedited. It’s not even the violence that’s the problem per se, it’s the intensity and the character’s reactions to the violence. In 1999, the movie Fight Club was panned by critics who found it to be gratuitously violent with bloody and disturbing fight scenes. They were partially right, the fight scenes were disturbing, but (for the most part) the fights themselves were not particularly bloody. In fact, most of the blood was seen on the faces of the combatants after their fights. Virtually all of the most violent interactions happen just off screen where the audiences in and out of the movie hear the brutality being visited upon someone, and we see grown and hardened men wincing and looking away in horror as their comrades pummel one another. While none of the fighting in Puss in Boots comes close to this level, Puss’s reactions and his palpable level of fear of the potential violence being threatened upon him is made visceral by the incredibly skilled animators and sound artists, and it’s too much for young audiences.
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Puss has always been portrayed as a charming braggadocio, but he’s also always been the best of the best, except in his own movies. In those, he has to be upstaged and put down by a superior and more intelligent female counterpart. I thought that The Last Wish did an ok job of keeping the two relatively balanced, but in all instances when one of them must come out on top in skill and intellect it’s always the female.
The film’s moral is being dumb, oblivious, and without ambition is good, and those with goals are selfish. The film has three main characters, Puss, Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek), and Perrito (Harvey Guillen). Perrito is a small and comicly stupid mutt with no friends, and whose goal in life is to become an emotional support dog. He latches on to Puss by virtue of Puss acknowledging his existence and ends up going on the adventure with him. He is the heart of the film and it is his banal postulations of the supreme importants of friendship at the end of the movie that the filmmakers want to teach the audience, in lieu of things like bravery and self-sacrifice.
In the midst of a fairytale realm based on European folklore, and specifically on the outskirts of a town full of Latin-inspired architecture, clothing, and art, with citizens who speak in deliciously rich Spanish accents, there is a crazy cat lady who for some reason is black with a stereotypical sassy black American grandma voice and accent. It is jarringly out of place. It felt like someone said that black people were under represented in the film and then forced this character upon the movie.
James Carrick is a passionate film enthusiast with a degree in theater and philosophy. James approaches dramatic criticism from a philosophic foundation grounded in aesthetics and ethics, offering insight and analysis that reveals layers of cinematic narrative with a touch of irreverence and a dash of snark.