Puss in Boots: The Last Wish hits theaters December 21, 2022.
Puss in Boots has always been a little weird in the Shrek movies; Darker, more serious, but still matching the tone of soft films when needed. The first Puss in Boots solo movie seemed like a breath of fresh air, a proper adventure rather than a mere pastiche, and now, more than a decade later, Puss in Boots is back again to breathe new life into the Shrek franchise with one of the best animated films of the year. There are pop culture references and drops of needles, but it’s in service of a mature and somewhat complex story about facing death and embracing life as it follows an adventurer at the end of his life. Make no mistake, this is the Logan of Shrek franchise we didn’t know we needed.
After countless death-defying stunts and adventures, Puss in Boots is at the top of its game. Cat feels invincible and constantly brags about his exploits in song, putting himself in needless danger – that is, until he finds out he’s on his last life and it could all end at any moment. Even worse, he’s being stalked by Death incarnate, the Big Bad Wolf (the wonderful and terrifying Wagner Moura). His only salvation? A legendary wish star who can give him back his life, if he reaches it before a group of fantasy characters defeat him to reach the treasure.
Likes LoganPuss in Boots: The Last Wish is heavily inspired by Westerns in its depiction of an aging cowboy facing his own mortality after a life of great tales and adventure. Plainly plain, the use of Spanish in both the music and the dialogue – with the film’s use of a heavily Hispanic cast adding to the authenticity – you could easily swap Puss’s sword for a gun, his head in the coat and thinking it’s a kids’ version of Clint Eastwood’s The Man With No Name .
It’s one of the darker, more mature films DreamWorks Animation has made in years, with themes about facing death and dealing with some hard truths – like the fact that the people you love can betray you, and that you can end up alone. But it’s not all doom and gloom, as the story comes across as rather life-affirming with an encouraging message about embracing each day as if it were your last.
Compared to Logan not only in tone, but in action as well, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish has some of the best action you’ll see in an animated Western. The camera movement is dynamic, not afraid to switch to innovative situations or give us unusual angles to put us in the middle of the action, which sometimes feels like a big budget anime. The movie even plays with the same frame rate as Into the Spider-Verse, switching between 24 and 12 frames depending on Puss’ confidence. In the first action scene in the movie, where Puss fights a stone giant, the animation is smooth and fast-paced, with Puss feeling invincible. Later, when he fights the Big Bad Wolf, he is animated in twos (12 frames per second), slows down, and loses his confidence, realizing that he can be defeated. also like In the spider verseThe Last Wish is a technical marvel, that uses a graphic style to give the movie a fantasy look.
It’s also the rare American animated movie where the stakes feel real. Anytime Mora’s Big Bad Wolf is on screen, you’ll be on edge thanks to his bloodshot eyes, ominous whistling, and black robe. It really is death incarnate, and it’s scary.
This is certainly still a DreamWorks movie, so there are still plenty of jokes going on. Fortunately, Shrek 2 never drags with a montage of movie references that were already a few years ahead of the time of release. Instead, The Last Wish has a few contemporary references – a kid rejoicing that Puss has stepped on his face – while most are just timeless jokes and jokes, most of which concern Harvey Guillén’s Perrito, the real star of the movie. If you were expecting more Shrek-like humor, you may be disappointed. But if you realize that hearing Antonio Banderas deliver his own eulogy with no one else around sounds hysterical, then this is the movie for you.
Speaking of actors, Western studio animated films tend to focus a lot on big-name actors who seem more like the actors themselves than the characters they play. Here, however, the cast doesn’t distract from the story, but rather adds to it. From Wagner to Florence Pugh, Olivia Colman, and even John Mulaney—arguably the most recognizable voice of the group—work within the context of the story and justify their A-list selection. In true Shrek fashion, they play fairy-tale characters you might recognize, but in uniquely twisted ways, with The best of them being a small role for The Talking Cricket from Pinocchio, who tries to be a bad guy’s conscience but fails miserably to convince him to. Not just killing people.
Best reviewed movies of 2022
With gorgeous visuals that pop right off the screen, animation that blends 3D and 2D in exhilarating ways to deliver thrilling action scenes, and a poignant yet life-affirming story, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is one of the best animated films of the year, and a great comeback for the franchise.
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