‘Puss in Boots’

| Managing Editor

Director
Chris Miller
Starring
Antonio Banderas

Puss in Boots (voiced by Antonio Banderas) only needed one long stare with his large marble cat eyes in “Shrek 2” to attract a legion of fans. After a one-year hiatus from the “Shrek” films, he makes his return in spin-off movie “Puss in Boots,” which is sure to increase his following.

As the first movie to star Puss (and, if the “Shrek” series is any indication, the first of many), “Puss in Boots” acquits itself admirably of the “Shrek” franchise, reinventing classic fairytale characters in an animated Western style. “Puss in Boots” is a welcome addition to the “Shrek” line-up, though it doesn’t quite match up to the hilarity found in “Shrek” and “Shrek 2.” People who haven’t seen the “Shrek” movies won’t feel left out, as “Puss in Boots” stands on its own two feet.

The plot follows the back story of Puss before he met Shrek. Drawn to the legend of the magic beans, Puss tries to steal the magic beans from the two thuggish outlaws Jack and Jill. The beans, when planted under the right conditions, produce a giant beanstalk that leads to a castle in the sky, which houses a goose that lays golden eggs.

Foiled by Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) in his attempt to steal the beans, Puss reunites with Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis), an old boyhood friend with whom Puss had a falling-out a long time ago. Humpty’s delicate eggshell exterior disguises his hardened delinquent side. Together, Puss and Humpty, along with Kitty, craft a plan to steal the magic beans and capture the golden goose.

The film has a good mix of humor for the kids and jokes for the older crowd, including a hilarious scene at the beginning of the film that will hopefully fly over the head of anyone 12 and younger. Puss’ chemistry with Kitty is sizzling while never being overtly sexual.

The animation itself is gorgeous, with attention given to each whisker on Puss’ face and every last floating dust speck.

While the plot itself is fairly predictable, younger audiences will still be entertained by the fast-paced, action-packed antics of Puss, Kitty and Humpty, whether it’s the dance battle between Puss and Kitty or one of them freefalling down a giant beanstalk.

But the gem of the story is ultimately found in the unlikely pairing between an egg and a cat. Their friendship encapsulates how relationships are at times both a burden and a blessing, but the true meaning of brotherhood comes out when it matters most.

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