REVIEW – “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish”

The Shrek franchise is one of the longest-running animated franchise in film history, and as the third and fourth film showed some repetition within the formula and stories from the Kingdom of Far, Far Away – Puss in Boots found some room to explore an original corner of the universe with a stand-alone story for the titular feline. Was the 2011 film as good as the first two Shrek films? Not necessarily. But it warranted some room for a sequel, which is where this year’s Puss in Boots: The Last Wish comes into play. The film follows Puss (once again voiced by Antonio Banderas) as he discovers his passion for adventure has taken an unexpected toll on him; he has finally burnt through eight of his nine lines, leaving him with only one life left. Puss goes on an epic journey to the mythical Last Wish, and restore his nine lives.

While Dreamworks animation may not be to the same caliber as Pixar, I still commend them for consistently trying new things and soaring to different highs than their competitors. The How to Train Your Dragon franchise in particular are excellent examples of the studio on their best day and when they put their full-force into story and characters. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is another example of the studio on their best-day, with some of their most impressive and unique animation to date. From the opening moments of the film, it has such an original sense of style and energy unlike anything they’ve put out before. And as the film continues, it only takes more and more advantage of the medium and experimental style, delivering some truly incredible set-pieces and sequences that are absolutely visually ravishing.

Another big win for The Last Wish is the heart and story of it all. While there is nothing terribly complex going on here, it finds a lot of room for character development for Puss as a character when it comes to him reflecting on how he seemingly wasted his other eight lives. Through his journey with Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) and Perro the Dog (Harvey Guillén) – the film tells a surprisingly tender tale of what matters most in life and what it truly means to live a life worth living. The supporting characters like Goldilocks (Florence Pugh) and the bears, The Big Bad Wolf (Wagner Moura), and ‘Big’ Jack Horner (John Mulaney) all elevate the entire film with great vocal performances, and their individual stories being as equally compelling to the main storyline. All of this helps the film feel fully-rounded by the end.

The most simple praise I can give The Last Wish is also not one that should be undermined, and that’s simply the fact that it is a ton of fun. While claiming that this is the best film in the Shrek franchise since Shrek 2 isn’t exactly the highest bar in the world, I’m surprised how close it gets with sheer style, humor, and adventure. While I can’t quite call it a masterpiece, I don’t think there’s a moment or singular flaw that really sinks the experience at all. The film is simply incredibly entertaining, heartwarming, and has some truly gorgeous animation that should put it heavily into considering for awards next year. It’s truly the perfect film to see with your family this holiday season.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s