Puss in Boots: The Last Wish  (PG) Close-Up Film Review

Dir. Joel Crawford/Januel Mercado, US/Japan, 2022, 102 mins

Cast:  Antonio Banderas, Selma Hayek Pinault, Florence Pugh

Review by Carol Allen

When Puss in Boots first appeared in one of the Shrek movies, a swashbuckling, scene and heart stealer with a wickedly mischievous face was born.   Seductively and joyously voiced by Antonio Banderas, he was a Douglas Fairbanks among cats.  

And that’s how we meet him at the opening of The Last Wish, his long overdue second starring movie in a dazzlingly animated sequence where he battles with and defeats a big scary tree monster.

After that though this cat who walks by himself is alone in the milk bar knocking back shots of leche.   And that’s when things get dark.  Enter the Big Bad Wolf (Wagner Moura) a lupine version of Death, the Grim Reaper from many films (Seventh Seal anyone?).  Turns out Puss’s devil may care lifestyle has used up eight of his nine lives – and Death is waiting with slavering jaws for him to use up his last one.

For the first time in those many lives, our insouciant hero feels fear.  He takes refuge in the feline equivalent of an old people’s home, grows an unbecoming beard and tries to settle for a safe and dull life of shared litter trays, dry cat food and boredom.   He is shaken out of that though by a sweet natured though irritatingly overfriendly, flea-bitten little dog, Perrito (Harvey Guillén), who is disguised as a cat because he has nowhere else to go, and the reappearance in his life of his old flame, the sexy, sassy Kitty Soft Paws (Selma Hayek Pinault). So Puss gets his mojo back and off go the trio in search of the life saving Wishing Star.

Apart from the central trio, there is a host of other wittily conceived fairy tale characters after that same prize.   Brit actors Florence Pugh, Ray Winstone, Olivia Colman and  Samson Kayo voice the cockney crime family Goldie and the Three Bears.  They are in rivalry for the prize with greedy gang boss Big Jack Horner (John Mulaney), who has a Jiminy Cricket style ethics advisor (Kevin McCann) sitting on his shoulder, totally wasting his breath trying to make this bad guy be good.   And let us not forget – that Big Bad Wolf is on our hero’s big bushy tail.  

This is a great film for children, though the Wolf might be a bit too scary for tinies.   But its wit, style and gloriously colourful, fast moving animation also make it quite sophisticated fare for adult audiences too.  

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