Saturday, January 21, 2023

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish – in which the hero comes out of a reluctant retirement for a spot of introspection and adventure (cinemas from 3 February)

After a lot of close shaves, there comes a time in a cat’s life when living up to the legend is no longer the main priority. Puss in Boots (voiced by Antonio Banderas) briefly considers hanging up his swashbuckling ways and settling down into retirement, before bounty hunting Goldilocks (Florence Pugh) and the Three Bears (watch out for Olivia Colman as Mama Bear) track him down and he becomes convinced that that course of action isn’t “just right”.

In this new animated treat, introspection hits the cocky outlaw feline like a rapier in the gut. Based “in the Shrek universe”, the film inherits the same cheeky style of dialogue from the popular franchise, but tones down some of the madcap Shrek storytelling to suit this band of furry musketeers who are on a quest to make their wish come true. Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) is back along with their originally-irritating-now-indispensable friend Perrito (Harvey Guillén).

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish catches up with some familiar, less-mainstream characters in a story. And then there’s the matter of Death who is on the title stars’ tail. True to the genre, there’s plenty of self-help advice covering the perils of dilly dallying, facing up to regrets, living as your true self, the benefits of therapy, commitment, and the joy of belonging. Wholesome stuff and a fine mix of Dora the Explorer and spaghetti western to boot. While there are a couple of lightly intense scenes, none of the little people in the Movie House Cinemas preview screening I attended sounded at all bothered by the on-screen menace.

A gorgeous trailer for Marcel The Shell With Shoes On was shown beforehand which promises to make 2023 a good year for the Dreamworks studio.

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is in UK and Irish cinemas from 3 February.

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