To be honest, I’m quite glad the Shrek franchise has finished. Even though the first and second films were very good, Shrek the Third and Shrek Forever After were a step too far. While I’m tired of the loveable ogre and his brood, a spin-off would by no means offend me. Good job really, with the release of Puss in Boots. Puss just happens to be my favourite Shrek character: he’s cute, plucky and voiced by Antonio Banderas. With no backstory to speak of, Puss is the character to benefit most from his own movie. But is it different enough to add a new edge to the Shrek universe?
Puss in Boots, set before Shrek 2, depicts Puss’ life pre-ogre and donkey duo; offering a background and depth to the feisty feline. We learn about Puss’ child (kitten?) hood, and relationship with friend and fellow orphan Humpty Dumpty (voiced by Zach Galifianakis from The Hangover films). Since they were young, both Puss and Humpty have dreamt about getting their mitts on some magic beans which would ultimately lead to owning the Golden Goose and therefore an unlimited supply of golden eggs. Whilst rekindling this friendship on the hunt of these magic beans, our furry protagonist meets Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek); a cat burglar after Puss’ own heart.
Directed by Chris Miller, director of my least favourite of the Shrek films (Shrek the Third), Puss in Boots has exactly the same formula that has made the Shrek movies so successful; fairy tales are drawn upon heavily for inspiration, there are jokes for all the family and the animation is faultless. Unfortunately, it doesn’t bring anything new to the table. Puss in Boots is fast paced and frightfully funny, but it’s not fresh. Whilst it is a welcome edition to the Shrek family, I think they may have finally all exhausted fairy tale inspiration available.