Aleasha Hintz — Staff Writer
“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” was a movie no one was expecting; at least, I certainly wasn’t. A decade after the release of the Puss in Boots film, DreamWorks resurrected the character for a second movie.
Honestly, I can’t complain. The movie is, of course, meant for children and families, so it deals with themes of death in an optimistic manner, but it wasn’t without its faults either.
The plot was straightforward but predictable. The premise was that Puss in Boots had, as all cats do, nine lives. In the opening scene, Puss dies, and when he wakes, he’s confronted with the realization that he’s in his final life. For the first time, Puss finds that he cannot laugh in the face of death. He is afraid.
Death is a character in the film played by a wolf and is a haunting villain for a children’s movie. While The Wolf follows Puss throughout the movie trying to take his last life, Puss strives to find The Last Wish, which would allow him to return to his fast and dangerous lifestyle as an outlaw and a hero of the people.
The catch is that Puss is obviously not the only one after The Last Wish. Also after the wish is returning character Kitty Softpaws, as well as a few new faces: Goldy and the three bears, and Big Jack Horner. Puss and Kitty team up, and a dog named Perrito joins them. The movie becomes a race to see who can reach the wish first.
On the way, Puss, Kitty, and Perrito grow closer together. The cats’ pessimistic and naturally distrustful outlook are softened by the dog’s optimism and genuine friendship. Perrito essentially teaches them what really matters in life, providing Puss with a new perspective as he gets closer and closer to facing Death.
As for the side characters, as funny as they were, they felt underdeveloped. Usually, this doesn’t bother me. Side characters do not always have to be well-rounded characters, but in this case, it was clear that they were supposed to be. And it was distracting from the main plot.
In the case of Goldy and her adopted bear family, the plot was supposed to be centered on family dynamics. Goldy had a loving nuclear family with the bears, but in her words, she wanted it to be “just right.” She wanted human parents, and even when she confessed it to the bears, they supported her, though it hurt them. To me, that just made Goldy unlikable, so I never really got on board with the idea.
Jack Horner’s character was similar to Goldy’s in that he was severely underdeveloped, and what he lacked in character, he made up for in jokes and visual gags.
Overall though, I think the filmmakers should have spent more time on developing the relationship between Puss and Kitty. It would have heightened the climax and made the resolution feel more earned.
Also, the final fight between Puss and Death was shorter than I would have liked, and I wish that it involved Kitty and Perrito more as well. The gang grows closer together when they fight Jack Horner, but they should have just done it with Death.
All that being said, I did enjoy the movie. It was fast-paced and has beautiful stylistic animation, with heavy use of saturated colors and fight scenes that drew influence from anime. The plot was predictable but pleasant, even with the issues with characters. The jokes were often surprisingly adult. And yet it still provided audiences with a fantastic original story with natural characters and a satisfying conclusion.