Wednesday, November 23, 2011

PUSS IN BOOTS - Sexy, Swashy and Fun

PUSS IN BOOTS (animated comedy in 3D)
Cast: Antonio Banderas, Zach Galifianakis, Salma Hayek, Billy Bob Thornton, Amy Sedaris, Constance Marie, Guillermo del Toro, Rich Dietl, Ryan Crego and Tom Wheeler
Director: Chris Miller
Screenplay by Tom Wheeler
Time: 90 mins
Rating: * * * (out of 4)

Humpty (Galifianakis), Softpaws (Hayek) and Puss (Banderas)

PREAMBLE: The Shrek franchise ends and the Puss In Boots saga begins... This is how it should be even for blockbuster movie ideas like Shrek - to fold when the going is at its best so that the fans will always have fond memories of it.

If there is any doubt that Antonio Banderas' swashbuckler kitty is going to be another big hit at the cineplexes, it gets slashed away just 10 minutes into the show. Okay, okay, Banderas is merely reprising his Zorro persona here, but as Puss, he has a wider comic range and a lot more hilarious lines. With Salma Hayek's support as Kitty Softpaws and Zach Galifianakis as Humpty Dumpty, we have an almost purr-fect fantasy adventure nicely enhanced by 3D.

Puss and Softpaws

WHAT'S IT ABOUT? Of course, it is about the quest by Puss, Humpty and Softpaws to find the magic beans and the Goose that lays golden eggs up in the giant's castle. The other nursery rhyme characters include Jack and Jill (played by Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris) and Mother Goose itself.

There is a little 'origin' story about how little Puss befriends the inventive and scheming Humpty at an orphanage, and how the feline turns into an outlaw with a price on his head.

HITS & MISSES: Like the earlier Shrek films, Puss In Boots also works on many levels. The visuals are stunning, creating the mood and feel of Mexican villages and deserts; the main characters are interesting and captivating, with Hayek's Softpaws evoking sexual allure and dangerous feline charm; the narrative is loaded with engaging twists and turns, and there are loads and loads of gags and puns about cats and eggs to last us a lifetime.

As mentioned, Banderas provides Puss with his 'own' screen characteristics - like the love 'em and leave 'em Casanova-type; the Zorro-hero who is adept at swordplay as well as wordplay, and the animated tom cat who melts hearts with its pitiful round black eyes. As Jack & Jill, Thornton and Sedaris paint a rugged Wild West picture of a Bonnie & Clyde couple but the most interesting role belongs to Galifianakis. The Humpty character is the most developed in the entire film and Galifianakis is at his whiny best.

THE LOWDOWN: Puss In Boots looks like another Golden Goose for Dreamworks.


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