Not a bad film.

I originally had no intention of watching or reviewing Puss In Boots: The Last Wish, owing in part that I have a personal and for How About Notflix a general refusal to watch movies created specifically for children. What a mistake-a to make. What was I thinking? Puss In Boots of course is a spinoff of the Shrek series, films that while made with children in mind are written for parents to have a good time in the theater as well. So naturally Puss In Boots is bound to be a film even I can enjoy.

And it was.

Directed by Joel Crawford who directed and wrote a lot of kids movies I actually have no interest in as an adult like Croods and Trolls, Puss In Boots is a fantastically crafted animated movie about who else? Puss In Boots. Starring the ever soothing Antonio Banderas, The Last Wish is a film about the inevitibility of death, coming to terms with one’s mortality, and the question of when it’s time to hang up your hand and embrace the safety and boringness of retirement, if at all.

Puss has been on many adventures since we last saw him in Shrek, and he has admittedly died. A lot. So much so that he realizes he is on the last of his nine lives. While living out his days in retirement, Puss learns about the Wishing Star, a star that can grant any wish. Like giving him back his nine lives. So he sets out on an adventure to earn his wish and bring the old Puss In Boots out of retirement.

The Shrek series has never been stranger to a strong cast and Puss In Boots is no exception. Accompanying Puss is Kitty Softpaws played by the lovely Salma Hayek as the rival thief with a potential love interest between the two. Filling out the trio is Perrito played by none other than Harvey GuillĂ©n, Dick Grayson from the Harley Quinn show. Perrito’s role is the cute, adorable, stupid, kind-hearted goofball character who injects endless optimism to counter balance the two lead’s cynicism.

Hot on their tails are a group of villains. Goldilocks (Florence Pugh) is part of the crime family including the three bears (Olivia Colman, Ray Winstone, Samson Kayo). John Mulaney is here as Big Jack Horner who collects magical trinkets in order to lord himself over people who made fun of him as a kid. And finally we have Death played by Wagner Moura who is death but a wolf and stalks Puss endlessly in order to collect his soul and remind him of his impending death.

My favorite part of the characters is that despite the big cast the movie gives everyone their time in the sun. The villains aren’t just one dimensional mustache twirling no-goodniks, they have character arcs and stories that you can feel for. Even Big Jack Horner, who is motivated by power but also because in the world of Shrek it’s kind of an important thing if you become a fairy tale and Jack Horner didn’t become a well-remembered one because, you know, his tale sucks compared to the likes of the three little pigs or Goldilocks or Shrek.

The story is surprisingly mature and heartfelt, delivering characters that feel like real people despite being animated cats. It teaches good lessons without feeling preachy, and gives great character arcs that you want to see through to the end. It’s more grim than you might expect for a Shrek spinoff, given it deals entirely with death and aging, but with its musical numbers and uplifting attitude, it’s not exactly something inappropriate for small childrens.

Who is your favorite fearless hero?

I really like how the animation style changes for fight sequences. It’s hard to explain without watching the video above, but the smoothness of the normal scenes goes away and it reminds me of the sequences from Into The Spiderverse. The framerate drops and it looks really damn good because each frame is able to have more impact. Like you’re almost watching a flip book. In fact the whole aesthetic of this film is meant to feel like a story book, and it works. Very well.

It’s been thirteen years since the last Shrek movie. I’d love to see more spinoff films featuring characters we know and love off doing their own thing. Much like HBO Max and the Adventure Time spinoffs, I think Puss In Boots has shown that this universe has strong enough characters to pull their own weight.

Just don’t overdo it like Disney.

Rating: A