Genre(s): Animation, Comedy, Adventure
DreamWorks Animation | PG – 90 min. – $3999 | February 24, 2012
Directed by: Chris Miller
Writer(s): Brian Lynch, Will Davies and Tom Wheeler (story), Tom Wheeler (screenplay)
Cast: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis, Billy Bob Thornton, Amy Sedaris
Theatrical Release Date: October 28, 2011
Features: Animators’ Corner (PiP), Featurettes, Trivia Track, DVD Copy, Digital Copy
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (Dolby TrueHD 7.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.85
Subtitles: English SDH, English, French, Spanish
Disc Size: 41.3 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A, B, C
THE MOVIE – 3.5/5
Out favorite feline with a spiffy hat, stylish boots and a suave attitude is back now getting his own spin-off movie. Puss in Boots takes a look at the further exploits of Puss (ANTONIO BANDERAS) as he’s after three magic beans from the grasps of Jack (BILLY BOB THORNTON) and Jill (AMY SEDARIS). With the beans, it will give him access to untold fortunes and a way to repay a debt to his home town who, in a flashback, wrongly believed he had stolen from the local bank.
The theft was in fact orchestrated by childhood best friend Humpty Dumpty (ZACH GALIFIANAKIS) who, now an adult where the two have been estranged since the incident offers to join forces to get the beans together (it’s been a long time dream of Humpty’s to get these beans). They are joined by Kitty Softpaws (SALMA HAYEK) who was used by Humpty to lure Puss back in service after she too went after the beans.
After much reluctance, and an all too long flashback sequence, Puss agrees to go along with Humpty and Kitty as the trio track down Jack and Jill and try to steal the beans. Of course, they encounter much resistance but eventually prevail. Humpty buries these magical beans which soon grow into a beanstalk reaching into the heavens with the trio in tow. In this new world, and to which they can get all the riches, they encounter the golden goose and plan on taking it back to earth where the creature will lay golden eggs making themselves rich beyond their wildest dreams but it will also pay back the debt to Puss’ old town.
There’s a bit more to the plot, but that’s the basics. As somebody who was only a moderate fan of the Shrek movies (the first two, though were excellent), I wasn’t really sure what to expect from a spin-off prequel. No doubt the character was unique and, as far as I can remember, might’ve been the only good thing in Shrek the Third, but I wondered if he could carry an entire film. The answer to that is: yes. Thanks in part to a fun supporting cast, the story is at least passable entertainment.
I enjoyed the voice talents director Chris Miller (yep, he helmed Shrek the Third) brought together. Obviously just like Mike Myers was perfect for Shrek, Antonio Banderas was the only actor I could envision as Puss. Joining the suave cat are Salma Hayek as the standard, but fun, love interest and Zach Gali… whatever in the grayish role as Humpy Dumpty and does an OK job with his childlike persona which has carried the actor through two Hangover movies. Also contributing nicely, yet probably unnoticed since they’re really not in much of the movie, are Billy Bob “Where Have You Been” Thornton and Amy Sedaris as Jack and Jill. The pair is utilized nicely in the villain roles which is basic but just enough for their purpose.
The only drawback I have is after a great opening in which we get a fun dance off between Puss and Kitty, it begins to lag when Puss recounts his childhood where he met Humpty Dumpty at an orphanage and then takes us to his teen years where thing begin to fall apart for the two of them. I realize it was a necessary back story but it also kind of slowed any momentum down to a screeching halt. After the flashback (which, for a joke, even Kitty fell asleep to), it begins to pick up some steam as the plot continues to unfold.
All in all, I enjoyed Puss in Boots. It’s not a great movie by any stretch but the animation is beautiful, the voice casting pitch perfect and most of the jokes tended to land which is not always the cast whether or not its animation. If you have kids, they’ll probably immensely enjoy it and there’s enough humor that adults will at the very least like as well.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.75/5
This release comes with a glossy slip cover and the 2-discs contained inside a standard Blu-ray case.
Disc 1 (Blu-ray):
Puss in Boots: The Three Diablos (13:05; HD) again is a short animated film featuring the voice of Antonio Banderas in a new story where Puss is hired by a Queen to find a heart diamond stolen from her with the help of the Three Diablos (mischievous kittens).
A DreamWorks Fairytale is a Mad Libs game where you select different sections to get a “custom rhyme” for one of the several characters available. Yeah, it’s really not that fascinating. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Puss’ Paw Pouncing Challenge is a game for the kids to play as he/she help Puss pounce on the light. The object is to see how many lights you can capture before the timer runs out. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
The Animators’ Corner is a cool picture-in-picture feature as you get to hear (and see) from the filmmakers (2 producers and the director) as they talk about making the movie and often passing on to storyboards and checking out behind-the-scenes footage with interviews by others in the crew. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Trivia Track – With this selected you get some bits of information about the various characters and story. It’s really nothing special and pretty useless. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Purr-fect Pairing: The Voices Behind the Legend (9:21; HD) is your basic who’s who featurette where we are introduced to each of the major voice roles and get to see them record their lines.
Deleted Scenes (7:27; HD) – There are three test scenes that failed to make the final cut for various reasons.
Kitten to Cat (12:01; HD) – This featurette covers the progression of Puss from a kitten to what we saw in the Shrek movies and how they came up with the story for this prequel. It also gives more insight from Banderas and others in the crew about the voice.
Glitter Box Dance Off! (5:01; HD) shows how the dance sequence was created with a chorographer used as reference for the animation.
Klepto Kitty (3:43; HD) is an EPK featurette about the real cat, Dusty, that went through a neighborhood stealing from neighbors. If you haven’t heard about this story, you must’ve been living under a rock.
Lastly, we get a few interactive features: Kitty Keyboard, Fairytale Pop-Up Book and Kitty Strikes Again, none of which are really that interesting but might entertain little kids for a couple of minutes…
World of DreamWorks Animation shows off the various franchises (Shrek, How to Train Your Dragon, Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar and Megamind) within the studio.
Previews – Madagascar 3, How To Train Your Dragon Arena Spectacular, DreamWorks Dragons: The Television Series, Puss in Boots THQ Game and The Adventures of Tintin
Disc 2 (DVD)
This disc only contains the feature film.
Also included is a Digital Copy that you can either use UltraViolet or the old fashion way via iTunes.
VIDEO – 5.0/5
Puss in Boots comes to Blu-ray with a fantastic looking 1080p high-def transfer (MPEG-4 AVC codec). As with most high-budgeted animated features, they tend to benefit the HD format and here it’s no exception. Colors are bright without looking pumped up and detail levels such as cat whiskers or the feathers in Puss’ hat and such look great.
AUDIO – 4.75/5
DreamWorks once again contributes an excellent HD audio with a 7.1 channel Dolby TrueHD track. This movie has a wide range when it comes to audio from action-adventure sequences which bring the film to life with depth to the quieter, more dialogue driven moments that show off the front and center channels.
OVERALL – 4.0/5
Overall, Puss in Boots is a good entry in DreamWorks Animation catalogue, though I’d hardly call it a classic. Even so, the voice talents are all fantastic, the animation top notch and this Blu-ray release offers up a decent amount of features and excellent video and audio transfers. If you liked the character in his three previous appearances, then you’ll enjoy him here as well.