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Puss In Boots

Submitted by MBergeron on November 7, 2011 – 2:15 amNo Comment
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Here is a list of 18 animated films being considered for Oscar this year: The Adventures of Tintin; Alois Nebel; Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked; Arthur Christmas;
Cars 2; A Cat in Paris; Chico & Rita; Gnomeo & Juliet; Happy Feet Two; Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil; Kung Fu Panda 2; Mars Needs Moms; Puss in Boots; Rango; Rio; The Smurfs; Winnie the Pooh; Wrinkles.

That kitty in Paris, a French animated film, looks interesting, mainly because I like cats in films. I like the Aristocats natch. I love The Three Lives of Thomasina, although that’s a live action Disney film from the 60s. As far as I’m concerned All Dogs Can Go To Heaven because I’d rather worship El Gato Diablo. Puss In Boots, which in its second week showed one of the best week-to-week percentage drops in a  non-holiday movie, had me at the beginning but soon wandered off into kid’s stuff.

Antonio Banderas voices the titular feline and I couldn’t help but think throughout how Banderas has the right inflections and vocal nuances to bring this CGI cat to life. Also, Banderas currently stars in the non-rated, very adult (and very good) The Skin I Live In, and it’s one of his best career roles. So is Puss, posterity wise, although the actual film, a prequel of sorts to the Shrek films, would be best left to babysit short attention span pre-teens. Puss In Boots starts off at 100 mph but after the first reel evolves into a traffic jam of clichéd fairy tale adaptations. Even for DreamWorks Animation, Puss in Boots seems like a weak link compared to their better films.

Puss begins with wily humor and a couple of wry jokes. We view split screen images that emphasize the space that Puss inhabits. Look at the hilt of Puss’s sword (it’s a cat head). An early music sequence, the only real musical number in the film, has a sense of promise for a rich adventure to follow. Never happens though, despite the filmmaker’s uncanny ability to get the eyes of a cat and their devilish expressions so precise. There’s at least three shots of Puss doing the big iris cat eye thing.

The majority of Puss In Boots involves a lame retelling of the Jack and the Beanstalk tale. There’s not even a giant. Humpty Dumpty does appear and is an egghead who should’ve been a minor character and not second banana to Puss (after Salma Hayek’s Kitty Softpaws). In my idea of a perfect cinematic cosmology a film like this would be rated R and would be made specifically for adults with lots of catting around. Puss In Boots is rated PG, and for the life of me I can’t image why unless it’s that one joke about Puss needing his catnip for glaucoma.

- Michael Bergeron

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