The words, ‘This is a fairy tale‘ are writ large across screen at the start of belated sequel Puss in Boots The Last Wish, a phrase that should preface the start of every party political broadcast. But it’s been 11 years since we had this Shrek spin off and it’s great to see the self-aggrandising cat again, one moment an heroic ladies man, the next making big doe eyes and kittenishly affectionate, all brilliantly voiced by Antonio Banderas at his most charismatic.
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Puss in Boots is only too keen to soak up the adulation of his swashbuckling exploits from the local villagers he saves once again from the latest monster only to find himself regaining consciousness at a Doctors surgery tending to his wounds who tells him that he only has one of his nine lives left and should retire from adventuring. But Death already stalks him in the form of a terrifying red eyed wolf armed with a pair of lethal sickles – it’s one of several moments that might be a little too intense for very young ones- with the grim reaping wolf only too happy to take him. Faking his own death Puss in Boots takes up with a mad cat lady and her dozens of other cats finding himself reduced to eating dry food, wearing woolly socks and using a kitty litter, his former life as a hero seems a lifetime or actually eight lifetimes ago. He befriends a well meaning but loopy Chihuahua that pretends to be a cat as he has nowhere else to live – it’s a character that recounts a darkly funny back story in a similar vein the Santa story in Gremlins that is both hilarious, poignant and, for young ones , maybe even upsetting.
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But respite comes in the form of The Last Wish, a mythical icon that might give Puss his nine lives back. But he’s not the only one in pursuit of it – there’s a cockney gang in the form of Goldilocks and the three bears, and also in pursuit is a morbidly obese Little Jack Horner now Big Jack Horner who collects rare objects from fairy tales and nursery rhymes. Lastly there’s Kitty Softpaws a former love and now rival of Puss in Boots who begrudgingly team up when they get hold of a magic map that gives the holder their own treacherous path to the last wish location.
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Co –Directors Joel Crawford & Januel Mercado pay stylish homage to anime and even the spaghetti western in what is a hugely entertaining feature length film aided no end by famous face actors lending their vocal talents that include the easily identifiable Florence Pugh, Olivia Colman, Ray Winstone, Salma Hayek. Fleshing out the packed talent is John Mulaney who is superb as the glutinous man mountain Big Jack Horner. Writers Paul Fisher & Tommy Swerdlow have plundered many facets of the world of fairy tales and nursery rhymes to excellent effect and Puss in Boots The Last Wish is a throwback to the very best Pixar films where both children and adults can enjoy on their own level. Oscar nominated for 2023’s Best Animated Feature Film this one of the two leading contenders that are in with a chance of winning but either way to the studio we ask please don’t leave it another 11 years before a follow up sequel ( although there’s a very heavy hint that a Shrek 5 might be on its way).
Watch the Puss in Boots The Last Wish trailer HERE