Thursday, January 12, 2012

Puss in Boots (2011)

When Shrek first arrived on the silver screen, it was a brand new take to the traditional fairy tale. It moved away from the classic Disney line of storytelling and set the tone for how Dreamworks will continue to do animated features. They stuffed Shrek full of popular/cultural references. The protagonist is very far from princes and princesses in fact. It worked.

Now they've followed up with a spin-off from the series starring one of the main characters of the Shrek films, Puss in Boots. I finally got around the watching it the other night. It really wasn't bad, albeit it had a bit too much of that Spanish/Latino-ness with it for my taste. Then again, Puss was voiced by Antonio Banderas.

The movie follows the story of how Puss, an orphaned kitten, starts out to eventually become one of the most wanted in the land. It takes us through his kittenhood and how he and Humpty "Alexander" Dumpty became best friends and later rekindling that fondness for each other.

Funny thing, Jack (of beanstalk fame) in this movie looks a bit like the nasty old bugger in the jail cell in Aladdin. It was, of course, Jafar in disguise. Come to think of it, Jack was also in a jail cell with his arms tied up. Now... Who was running Disney animation in 1992 when Aladdin came out? Oh! It was Jeffrey Katzenberg. Yup, he is the "K" in "Dreamworks SKG". Coincidence? Hmm... And no, you can't plant this as a cultural or popular reference!

It felt a bit long to be honest. But that could have been me. I suffered from chronic insomnia the night before so I was quite exhausted after yet another 12 hour day at the office. But the essence of the character Puss was kept alive through the movie. How could one ever forget the way he burst into the Shrek series?

It's quirky, it's funny and it's a long way away from the normal failures or series and spin-offs - something which Dreamworks has been able to stay away from which is an achievement on its own. If anything, it proves that Pixar is not the only good animation studio out there. Might not be so suitable for younger kids though...

Image source: Dreamworks

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