Director: Chris Miller
Starring: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Zach Galifinakis
After four films the Shrek franchise may have run out of steam, but luckily there was some life left in one of the series' break out characters, the eponymous swashbuckling cat. A delightful if thematically slight film, Puss In Boots is a terrific addition to the much-loved franchise.
Set in the time before Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) met Shrek, the film finds him a wanted man. Duped into participating in a robbery by his best friend, Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifinakis), Puss goes on the lam for fear of being imprisoned and finds adventure. When he learns that the outlaws Jack (Billy Bob Thornton) and Jill (Amy Sedaris) are in possession of the magic beans that once obsessed him and Humpty as children, he decides to steal them but his plan is foiled by Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek), who is also after the beans and, it turns out, working with Humpty.
Humpty and Puss agree to put the past behind them and work together with Kitty to get the beans. After getting the beans and gaining the top of the beanstalk, the trio abduct the Golden Goose, expecting that they'll be on easy street thanks to its eggs. However, after making their way back down to earth, Jack and Jill catch up with them and, after getting knocked out, Puss finds himself alone in the desert. He tracks Jack and Jill down and then discovers that, once again, he's been duped by Humpty and the result is that he's finally arrested for their youthful exploit. While Humpty celebrates, Kitty feels guilty and decides to break Puss out of prison so that things can be made right - although it won't matter unless they can stop Mother Goose from rampaging through the town in search of her baby.
Like the Shrek films, Puss In Boots is witty and charming, even if it doesn't reach terribly deep. There's a long chase scene involving the central three characters and Jack and Jill that runs through a mountain pass and the film makes reference to a number of classic Westerns, both of which result in some inevitable and unfortunate comparisons with Rango. Comparing the two films, it must be said that the action scenes in Rango are superior, as is the quality of its references to the Western genre, as Rango opts for well-constructed homage, whereas Puss In Boots settles for easy jokes. That being said, Puss In Boots definitely has a more adorable protagonist and the character is certainly winning. Although it's ultimately a rather slight entertainment, Puss In Boots is a fun and funny film.