Recipe for removing stress:
Take a weekend morning and head to the St. Lukes Vmax cinema to relax watching Puss n Boots 3D with your wife and two children in a theatre full of parents and primary age kids. This was the result I came away with after sitting through the preview of the latest offering from the team who brought us the Shrek franchise.
Now that reference to the green ogre is where it ends. This movie stands alone as a backstory to the lovable rogue we have come to know again through Shrek’s introduction. Antonio Banderas returns to voice the feline Casanova and captures the humour and charisma of this sword wielding kitty. The Spanish accent proves they are one up on the French when it comes to the sound of love. This was a true cinema experience where the world fell away and you were able to enjoy a world where cat’s dance, fight and romance while a talking egg can roll your eyes.
The new storyline is ignited by characters like Salma Hayek’s Kitty Softpaws who provides both the love interest and the damsel in distress. Even director Guillermo del Toro makes a cameo as the Commandante. Zach Galifianakis fresh out of Hangover 2 and Due Date gives Humpty Dumpty a fresh approach with some eggcellent vocal talent. OK, I did it once and I apologise. No pun intended it was an eggception! But two of the ‘way out’ characters are how the movie interprets Jack and Jill the nursery rhyme favourites. In this setting Jack and Jill come across as country bumpkin trolls rather than the cute brother and sister who went to fetch a pale of water. The roles are perfectly voiced by Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris as they drive their stagecoach tank pulled by seven red-eyed hogs through the dusty sunsets and cow poke trails.
The movie itself has a great storyline which has enough happening to keep the adults guessing and the kids wondering. While we may traditionally know Puss in Boots as an Englishman’s tale of a cat in London this movie works the Spanish angle in order to Americanise the classic with a set that could have been 18th century California or down Mexico way. Along the way the writer allows us to experience betrayal and forgiveness in order to prove what real friendship is all about. We see each of the main characters come to terms with the fact that their past doesn’t define their future and tomorrows choices start with today’s decisions.
Director Chris Miller has moved into the commanders chair well and does a superb job on this production as well as throwing in a few voices like Little Boy Blue. It’s a big move from being a voice over artist however he obviously has learned his craft well since directing of Shrek the Third as this is a step up. The influence of New Zealander Andrew Adamson continues to feature in his capacity as Executive Producer.
This movie was probably the best quality 3D animation I have seen and with a 130 million dollar budget it obviously used all the right toys. Lighting is superb and the use of 3D effects in line with the story creates just the right ride with the occasional roller coaster loop. The clarity of detail in the production was both beautiful and impacting. What you take away when the special effects end though is a story and the characters in Puss in Boots live on for another adventure. From my first Toy Story experience in 1995 to this production we have come a long way in animated story telling and I’m excited where we are heading.