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Review: ‘Puss in Boots: The Last Wish’ grants gift of laughter

Antonio Banderas returns as the swashbuckling feline who has now used up eight of a cat’s nine lives.

"Puss in Boots: The Last Wish" movie poster
"Puss in Boots: The Last Wish" stars the voice of Antonio Banderas as the dashing feline adventurer in a new computer-animated comedy from the studio that introduced the character in "Shrek." The new sequel is playing at Lakes 12 Theatre in Baxter.
Frank Lee / Brainerd Dispatch
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BAXTER — Some things are worth the wait.

“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” was recently released in movie theaters in time for Christmas and more than a decade after the adventurous feline first hit the big screen. And critics and audiences alike seem to agree the new sequel is even better than its source material.

The consensus from the critics at RottenTomatoes.com, a film and television review website: "Arriving more than a decade after the previous installment, the smart, sweet and funny ‘Puss in Boots: The Last Wish’ proves some franchises only get better with age."

“Smart, sweet and funny” is arguably the best words to describe the PG-rated film, which has a runtime of about 90 minutes, and the animation really pops, especially during the action sequences or fight scenes that rival “Kung Fu Panda,” another hit from DreamWorks Animation.

Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek return in the new movie to voice Puss in Boots and Kitty Softpaws, respectively, in the computer-animated comedy from those who were responsible for the popular “Shrek” film franchise, which was about an ogre and fairy tale creatures.

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Audiences were first introduced to Puss in Boots in “Shrek 2,” the sequel to the highly successful computer-animated fairy tale-based rom-com about an ogre named Shrek, who was voiced by “Saturday Night Live” alum Mike Myers.

There is something inescapably adorable about a pussy cat in boots and the sight is almost guaranteed to bring a smile to most moviegoers’ faces. But it’s not all catnip and sunshine in Puss in Boots’ world for the daring and perhaps reckless cat has used up eight of his nine lives.

With death personified hot on his (boot) heels in the form of The Big Bad Wolf — a menacing, relentless predator voiced by Wagner Moura that was almost frightening enough to give adults like me the chills with his glowing red eyes and sharp teeth — Puss in Boots decides to lay low.

The once legendary outlaw and romancer of females seeks refuge in a cat hoarder’s home where he settles into a monotonous routine of eating and sleeping and grows a beard that makes him unrecognizable to those seeking to kill or capture him for a reward.

At the home, the once-dashing figure encounters an endearingly earnest and lonesome dog among the hoard of cats who he calls Perro, which is Spanish for “dog.” Perro lives under the house by himself but disguises himself as a cat to feed with the other cats like Puss in Boots.

MORE MOVIE REVIEWS BY FRANK LEE
“Living” is a new drama starring English actor Bill Nighy a veteran civil servant who receives a terminal diagnosis from his doctor and decides to live it up with the help of a plucky young woman.

Puss in Boots comes out of retirement and flees the cat hoarder’s home when Goldilocks and the Three Bears break into the home looking for him. The odd couple of Puss in Boots and Perro go searching for a falling star they heard from their pursuers that grants the finder a wish.

But Puss in Boots is not the only seeker of the magical star. Kitty Softpaws wants to find it, too, and the duo becomes a trio. And along the way, Puss in Boots reckons with his own mortality, past mistakes and an uncertain future in a bittersweet movie that tugs at the heartstrings.

Joel Crawford directed “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” and is no stranger to family-friendly films, with his past hits including the “Kung Fu Panda” movie franchise, not to mention directing “Trolls” and the sequels to “The Lego Movie” and “The Croods.”

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“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” currently has an impressive (and almost unheard of) 95% approval rating among critics and a 93% approval rating among audiences at Rotten Tomatoes, the review-aggregation website for film and television.

FRANK LEE may be reached at 218-855-5863 or at frank.lee@brainerddispatch.com . Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchFL .

Related Topics: MOVIESTHINGS TO DOBAXTER
I cover the community of Wadena, Minn., and write articles for the Wadena Pioneer Journal weekly newspaper owned by Forum Communications Co.
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