Friday, February 17, 2012

Nine Lives. One Destiny.

Puss in Boots (Shrek)
Being a parent, I know that children need to be entertained. My son, for instance, has a short attention span, so finding something to keep him occupied has many advantages. I have found that cinema offers an attractive outing for the whole family. Rather than stare at the small flickering box in the living room, you get to share the experience with strangers in front of a much larger box. At least I don’t have to contend with him arguing with his sister about what they’re watching. A box of popcorn and they’re content until the credits.

Puss in Boots was the preferred choice, the computer-animated film acts as a prelude to the Shrek franchise. After his success as a supporting character, Puss (Antonio Banderas) gets his own self-titled movie. We learn that Puss has been known by many names; Diablo Gato, The Furry Lover, Chupa Cabra, Frisky Two Times and then The Gingerhead man. But to most Puss in Boots, outlaw! Based years before he meets Shrek and Donkey, the story follows his early adventures at an orphanage in San Ricardo. We’re introduced to lifelong companion Humpty Alexander Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis), and love interest Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek).

Those familiar with the Shrek lineage will know what to expect, there’s the fairy tale characters parodied and popular culturesaturated, plot points, and conventions. Through much of their childhood, Puss and Humpty grew up in the orphanage. However, as they grew older, the harmless pranks they performed as children soon turned into crimes. They eventually drift apart, their dreams of finding magic beans abandoned through betrayal. But, Humpty returns with a plot to achieve their lifelong goal, and with Kitty Softpaws plan to steal the magic beans from Jack and Jill, grow a beanstalk, and find the golden goose of legend. Naturally, there are complications along the way! Jack and Jill for instance aren’t the cute kids from the nursery rhyme; they’re angry outlaws with domestic issues. Humpty the long-estranged childhood friend has questionable intentions. Whilst Kitty Softpaws, one of the most feared and well-respected high-end thieves, takes on the role of the femme fatale.

Banderas, as he proved with the Shrek franchise, was born to play this role. He’s much better than any visual effect and the advantage is that you don’t need to use fancy glasses to appreciate him. All you need are your ears! Salma Hayek does well as Kitty Softpaws, while Galifianakis gets so into character that I didn’t realise it was him. He doesn’t have the same impact as Walt Dohrn’s, Rumpelstiltskin from the Shrek series but he’s still likeable. Overall this is a pleasant story for the character that felt like the best part of the original movies. The beginning has decent pace and originality, even if the ending does become predictable. Children and adults will really enjoy this movie and even though this was intended to be a straight to DVD release, I’m hoping there will be more from Puss in Boots.

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