To me, one of the biggest surprises in the Academy Awards nominations for this season came in the form of a short, orange, boots-wearing feline that hasn’t been seen since DreamWorks’s classic Shrek films. To me, the clear animated winner would be Marcel the Shell or Turning Red. But when I saw that Puss in Boots: The Last Wish was getting so much critical acclaim and great reviews from friends and fellow students, I knew I had to take a special trip to Regal Theatres to see it.
This spritely animation focuses on the titular cat, Puss in Boots, as he realizes that he’s spent eight of his nine lives throughout his heroic journeys. With one life left, Puss is thrown into an adventure amongst other fairy tale characters and friends (one being his former lover and unwilling companion in the film, Kitty Softpaws) to search for the fabled “last wish” to restore his lost lives. What happens along the way is a journey of self-discovery for the entire cast of characters, but mostly for Puss as he faces his most feared enemy-death. While it’s technically a sequel to a movie from 2011, you don’t need to watch the first one (I didn’t).
The film is visually impressive, with a high frame rate being used during some of its action scenes. For those who aren’t movie or film buffs, this basically means they use more pictures a second to make the action feel smoother and faster. This effect replicates fast, handheld camera shots, increasing the tension and making the viewer feel as if they are in the battle right alongside the characters.
To be frank, this movie was much more real than I thought it would be. From the first time Puss encounters the Wolf (who is, ultimately, a clear symbol for death), his reactions are unlike anything we’ve seen from the hero before. He’s afraid. For a character who is usually not fearful of an enemy that is quite literally more than ten times his size, seeing the true terror in him is jarring – and in a good way.
I’m not sure that children (considering that they are a huge chunk of the intended audience) will fully understand what the film is doing here; they’ll likely just see it as the scary big bad wolf. However, the teenagers and parents will find something unexpected amidst all the colors, fairy tales, and fights; they’ll find a beloved character facing anxiety. They’ll even find him having what’s not dissimilar to a panic attack – something much of the modern world is, unfortunately, too familiar with.
While some will argue Puss in Boots: The Last Wish doesn’t stand out in the grand scheme of things, and they may even be right, I’d argue that it provides for a good time at the movies amidst the chaos of the world. Hell, it might even have some scenes that leave you thinking on the way home.
Overall, the movie is a great time, and not just because I’m a cat lover.
Meg Handley is a Senior Television-Radio major who has a newfound respect for Puss in Boots, and will likely rewatch Shrek just for him. They can be reached at [email protected].