It is a testament to the quality of films that were released last year that a film like Puss in Boots: The Last Wish was not on the tip of everyone’s tongue. Make no mistake though, the film was one of the year’s best animated works.
A visual feast that blends various styles together in inventive ways, the film revitalized the Shrek universe while taking it in fascinating new directions. The premise finds everyone’s favourite fearless hero Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) experiencing true fear for the first time. Recklessly going through eight of his nine lives, the swashbuckling cat must finally confront his mortality. Complicating matters is the fact that death is hot on his tail in the form of a mysterious and lethal Wolf (Wagner Moura). As if that was not stressful enough, Goldilocks (Florence Pugh) and her three bears crime family (Olivia Colman, Ray Winstone, and Samson Kayo) are after the powerful Wishing Star and need Puss in Boots to steal the map leading to it from the fearsome “Big” Jack Horner (John Mulaney).
Believing that the star can give him more lives, Puss in Boots sets out to locate the star in the Dark Forrest with the help of his new friend Perrito (Harvey Guillén), a naïve therapy dog who only sees the best in people, and reluctant old flame Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek). Over the course of the adventure the boot wearing feline must learn that part of what makes life worth living are the people you share the journey with.
The best film set within this fairy tale universe, since the original Shrek film, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is a delightful mix of comedy and action. Refreshing and endlessly quotable, the film feels as vibrant as the visuals that anchor it. By having the map alter the dynamics of the Dark Forest depending on who holds its, director Joel Crawford and co-director Januel Mercado infuses the film with several stunning set pieces.
While a visually inventive work, the glue that holds the film together is not the action but rather the characters. Having death represented by a fearsome and relentless wolf adds an intriguing layer to the film. One genuinely feels the sense of fear that is suffocating Puss in Boots. This not only raises the stakes of his journey, but successfully adds an eerie undercurrent that few family films are able to master. This allows the film to really hit home the message that it is better to confront one’s fears than run from them.
The Blu-ray is packed with bonus content that will satisfy fans and entertain viewers of all ages. There is a new short film called “Trident” which tells the tale of one of Puss in Boots many deaths. The disc also features a few craft related ideas for younger viewers. One extra teaches kids how to make a “paper Perrito” and another finds director Crawford and Mercado giving instructions on how to draw the characters from the film.
Endlessly enjoyable and full of charm, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is a must-add to any Blu-ray collection.
Bonus Features: The Trident, Deleted Scenes, A Cast of Characters, In the Beginning, Jack Horner’s Line-O-Rama, “Fearless Hero” Lyric Video, How to Draw the Purrefect Pawtrait, How to Make a Paper Perrito, Kitty Cam, Feature Commentary with Director Joel Crawford and Co-Director Januel Mercado