Mild Spoiler Alert
What can a cat do when he runs out of his nine lives? In Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) latest adventure, The Last Wish, he has to seek a force beyond nature to grant him a new set of regenerations, like Doctor Who, to continue adventuring. Instead, his goal is to find a wishing star in true fairy tale fashion to regain those he lost in years prior. This simple premise keeps the story going forward because, throughout Puss’ adventure, he has to be careful in everything he does. Thus, any wrong step he makes might be his last. And along the way, there’s enough danger so he’ll have to consider taking that road more travelled. He never realised how reckless he’s become and all he ever wanted was to be remembered.
What makes this second outing better is that it delivers a fantasy not completely driven by concepts from Lewis Carrol and Aesop’s fables. As a result, this movie feels more like a good ol’ fashioned Pirates of the Caribbean style adventure, complete with some crazy encounters along the way. And what I enjoyed more is that I love the bad guys featured in this film! Here, we get a narrative that understands why Goldilocks stayed with the three bears. To see them become her henchmen makes sense even though we don’t know their whole story about turning into a crime family.
As for who can help Puss, Kitty Softpaws (Selma Hayak), a street-savvy Tuxedo cat, is back! Also joining in the adventure is Perrito (Harvey Guillén), a canine who thinks he’s a cat. They’ll need a map, and only the person who recites the incantation will have their fondest desire come true.
Also, Puss in Boots has to look back at all he’s done wrong. He has to weigh in if he’s truly deserving to receive those lives he’s lost in the past, because they were times he was behaving selfishly. It’s a signature moment for many DreamWorks animated movies. What makes this kitty acknowledge that he’s done good is when he faces “Death” head on. To have no regrets is important, especially when he might not get the last wish.
Production-wise, the animation style looks ripped from a Renaissance painting. That’s because DreamWorks’ last film, The Bad Guys, also helped revolutionise the animation world. The look works well in the action scenes.
Also, the larger world that Puss in Boots lives in is realised in a broader context, since he’s travelling between countries. This movie affirms the fact this realm is based out of Europe instead of the American Wild West. And yes, the phrase, “Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?” is wonderfully played up! This motion picture has the feel of the writers and directors thoroughly going through every storytelling instance which used this line to bring to life the enemy this cat has to face.
Although The Adventures of Puss in Boots feels more American, the Hispanic influence was a lot more prevalent in this dry countryside. As I recall, the cat faced a lot more cowboys there than in this work. In this movie, I’m speculating where locations like The Valley of Incineration and Abyss of Loneliness are in relation to our realm. Could Mount Etna in Italy be Morder here? Whatever the case, The Last Wish is well worth the wait. Production wasn’t rushed and we got an excellent expansion of the fairy tale world past films to explain where everything lives in, Shrek included. Also, most of the original team returned to executive produce if not write the sequel. The delay is because of the revisions to tighten the narrative. That is, I thought the first film tossed in nearly every single fairy tale in-joke into the presentation and it certainly slowed the story down. As for the future, that depends on how often Puss in Boots is willing to take risks. What he got is not exactly what he wanted, and somehow, I think he’s feline with it.
5 Stars out of 5