DIR: Chris Miller • WRI: Tom Wheeler • PRO: Joe M. Aguilar, Latifa Ouaou • ED: Eric Dapkewicz • DES: Guillaume Aretos• CAST: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis

Swiping the series out from under the noses of Shrek and Donkey, Puss In Boots was a charming, adorable secondary character in the waning (yet still box-office record breaking) series, but is putting him front-and-centre a terrible, Evan Almighty-esque idea? For the most part, no. But as with all things in life, too much of a good thing…

The best thing about Puss In Boots, besides Antonio Banderas’ perfect, breathy voice work, was that he just was. There was no explanation necessary, but this spin-off is working as something of an origin story, giving the furry one an unnecessary backstory. But with the entire thing coming in at under 90 minutes, the boring parts never stick around for long, and it’s not long before Puss in tied up in a scheme to steal some magic beans from Jack (Billy Bob Thornton) and Jill (Amy Sedaris) with the help of love interest/larceny rival Kitty SoftPaws (Salma Hayek) and ex-best friend Humpty Alexander Dumpty (Zack Galifiankis).

Despite coming from the writers and director of Shrek The Third (by far the worst in the series), executive producer Guillermo Del Toro has his prints all over the movie, from the genuine latin flavour to the genuinely scary scenes involving The Great Terror at the top of the beanstalk. Even though they shared no actual scenes together, Banderas and Hayek’s cinematic history and natural chemistry bring real spark to the screen, and Galifiankis has a blast as the is-he-isn’t-he-the-villain role.

There are enough jokes in here to keep accompanying adults entertained, and the young ‘uns will gasp and squeal at the rare occasion of well used 3D, but putting Puss in the lead has left the gap for a scene-stealing secondary character, which this movie is sorely lacking. Aside from that one cat who goes ‘Oooooooooohhhh…..’ He’s awesome. Give that cat a movie!

Rory Cashin

Rated G (see IFCO website for details)
Puss in Boots is released on 9th December 2011


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