By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
DreamWorks Animation and Netflix‘s marriage produced an adorable Puss in Boots with a perchance for courting danger. He’s also a rogue, a scoundrel and a dim-wit. Though he tries his best to be a hero, sometimes the actions he makes are not without consequences. For example, in the first episode of The Adventures of Puss in Boots, “Hidden,” his skullduggery destroys an enchantment that shielded the rich town of San Lorenzo from thieves.
Eric Bauza is the new voice of the title character, and he does a respectable job of instilling the same panache into the cat that Antonio Banderas put into the theatrical version. Jayma Mays, in comparison, is almost like a spitting image of her Glee character, Emma Pillsbury, but only rendered in feline form. As Dulcinea, she’s oblivious to the dangers of what the bigger world entails. After what Puss did, she better be ready and she shows it by the fifth episode, “Adventure.”
Viewers will find the quality of the episodes a bit of a mixed bag. Not all of the stories works. “Sphinx” felt like a misguided attempt at showing how much of an idiot Puss in Boots is even though he manages to, through dumb luck, turn the tables on the mythical creature at the end. “Brothers” certainly has a well-meaning message and “Duchess” has to be best with its weird west vibe that combines mysticism with the spaghetti western. As silly as most of the episodes are, some viewers might have to wonder how much carte blanche Bardel Entertainment is given to compose the graphics for the series since the quality is not altogether very consistent.
Viewers who have seen both The Adventures of Puss in Boots and All Hail King Julien may well wonder if the writers employed to create the screenplay are ever going to stay consistent. When Doug Langdale (Book of Life) set the bar in the first episode, other writers like Jesse Porter is the only person from the pool who can match him for comedic quality. With more talents from the animation world like Luther McLaurin (Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness), Lane Lueras (Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness) and Doug Langdale (Dexter’s Laboratory) involved, at least the talent recruited are of recognizable pedigree.
With director and writer roles different in each episode, there’s no consistency in what’s presented. At least viewers know where the talent behind Kung Fu Panda have gone. Hopefully Legends of Awesomeness will return because that’s a sorely missed franchise. While both series play with the Spaghetti Western motif in different ways with a similar crew of anthropomorphic characters, there’s most likely more love for the panda than the cat in this case.
Unless Netflix can release episodes in regular frequency, the DreamWorks flavour of the month is going to vary greatly. Dragons is next in this streaming service’s timeline and that’s tentatively set for Spring 2015, perhaps in line for more kitty booty and kingly hijinks at the same time.
3 Stars out of 5