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Puss in Boots (3D)


Stars: Voices: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis, Billy Bob Thornton, Amy Sedaris

Director: Chris Miller

Who says you don’t learn anything at the movies. Thanks to this splendidly skewed fairytale, I now realise that Jack of Jack and Jill fame became a psychotic after breaking his crown falling down the hill and know eventually-to-end-up-scrambled Humpty Dumpty’s middle name was ‘Alexander’.

Ginger-haired Catanova Puss in Boots entertainingly escapes from the kingdom of Jolly Green Giant Shrek and embarks on a odyssey of his own. But not before the feisty feline almost meets his match in a loony dance-off followed by a swordfight with a feisty cat who, unmasked, turns out to be sexy and street-smart Kitty Softpaws. Puss and Kitty then set off to find the magic beans that will grow the giant beanstalk and lead them to the Golden Goose that lays the Golden Eggs, a mission that pits them against malign outlaws Jack – who shoots a guest dead in order to obtain a hotel room – and Jill…

Clearly this will be 007’s film of the year since it features pussy galore. It should do well with all the youngsters who fed the ‘Shrek’ franchise. And accompanying adults shouldn’t be too bored since there is enough cynicism, surreal scenes and snappy dialogue (Humpty says of his time in jail, “It ain’t over easy” and much of the time the yolk is on him) to keep them watching.

The direction is brisk and sustained, the animation shines, Miller's use of 3D is good and the blend of action – there’s a splendid rooftops chase – is well balanced. Best of all, vocal casting is spot on with Banderas (“You don’t want to make the cat angry”) turning Puss into a sexy but strong and spiky Spanish bandit in the best foreign film star tradition. Hayek is purrfect as Kitty Softpaws, Thornton and Sedaris enjoy themselves as the bad bandits while Galifianakis is eggcellent.

All in all, the cat’s whiskers as fun family entertainment.

Alan Frank

USA 2011. UK Distributor: Paramount. Technicolor.
90 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: U.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 09 Dec 2011