Review: New Puss in Boots movie is a wish granted for “Shrek” fans

Review: Puss in Boots movie is wish granted for “Shrek” fans

The movie’s heartfelt message and animation revamp make “The Last Wish” the shining star of the franchise’s past spin-offs.
Published: February 7, 2023

In The Last Wish, Puss in Boots is facing a dilemma — something the orange kitty can’t fix with the adorable eye bit that people, and ogre’s alike, can’t seem to resist. This fearless bandit-hero is on the last of his nine lives, and Death (a wolf in a black hooded cloak) is hunting him down, two sickles in hand.

When Puss (Antonio Banderas) is advised to halt his dangerous adventures, he moves in with local cat lady Mama Luna (Da’Vine Joy Randolph), at her sanctuary for strays. Puss isn’t retired long before he trades scratching posts and knitted booties for a new quest: traversing through the Dark Forest to find the wishing star that will redeem his past lives. 

The Last Wish introduces characters new to the “Shrek” universe, like Little Jack Horner (John Mulaney), Goldilocks (Florence Pugh) and the family of three bears who adopted her. Grown-up Jack Horner uses pie factory profits to buy magical trinkets — like glittery unicorn horns that turn impaled enemies into confetti explosions — which set up unforeseeable and amusing battles as these characters race Puss to the wishing star. Puss and his accomplice Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) add additional flair to the action with effortless sword fighting and occasional flamenco dancing. Heitor Pereiera’s upbeat score only elevates the excitement of these scenes, and also adds a chilling effect whenever Death taunts Puss. 

Magical plot aside, its newfangled animation style and profound message make The Last Wish shine brighter than other movies with Puss in the starring role. 

Watching The Last Wish is like experiencing the illustrations in a fairytale book come to life. Colorful, flower-filled scenes and the brushstroke details that illustrate characters make this movie somewhat reminiscent of an impressionist painting. But when dashing white lines appear to amplify the “clang” of swords or stomping of dancing Puss’s boots, it also has this comic book feel that enhances the thrill of the cat’s quest. It’s a marketable revamp for a franchise with excessive sequels.

At the movie’s heart, the boastful cat encounters self-development as he learns to trust, team up with others and appreciate life. Puss’s friends, like the aspiring therapy dog Perro (Harvey Guillen), foreground a more vulnerable side of him. Perro comforts Puss during a panic attack, giving an honest portrayal of mental health acceptance through kindness and empathy. The Last Wish offers a classy balance of heartfelt moments and the adult humor “Shrek” movies are known for but is still giggle-provoking for younger audiences, alike.