Puss in Boots: the Last Wish

Where I Watched it: peacock

English Audio Description?: Yes

I enjoyed the first Puss in Boots. After watching a ton of critics review this sequel, I was apparently the only one. But, even though I thought there was a possibility of spinning off Puss into his own film wouldn’t work, the original charmed me quite a bit. The biggest reason is likely the introduction of Salma Hayek’s terrific new foil for Puss, and even though the sequel threw out pretty much everything else about the first, it did keep her around. Smart move.

The plot revolves around Puss realizing he’s on the last of his nine lives, and that his adventure days are behind him. So, he heads into retirement, even if the world won’t let him retire. There’s a bounty on his head, and the cat lady he’s living with likely won’t be much help. however, he catches wind of a magical once in a lifetime opportunity that could grant him his lives back, and he sets out on one more adventure to save his life.

That’s basically the plot. like the first film, which used Humpty Dumpty brilliantly, this sequel also utilizes storybook characters in new and interesting ways. For me, I wasn’t as entertained. Sure, there are some good jokes here. Antonio Banderas is still fire as Puss. Salma is still magic as Kitty. But, as much as I love john Mulaney outside this project, he just felt so… Mulaney. I didn’t even take his villain that seriously, because there’s nothing threatening to me about John Mulaney. I mean, in the same year, this guy also voiced Chip from Rescue Rangers, so… he’s not a convincing bad guy. Meanwhile, in the conflicted are they good or bad range, are a grouping of actors doing surprisingly strong work as Goldie and the Three Bears. I never thought Ray Winstone would work so well here, but he does.

For a film so much about magic, this lost a little spark. But, for everyone who seemingly didn’t like the first one, this was a huge step forward. I guess, if you liked the first one, beware. if you didn’t, you’ll love this. You probably want a reason. I think the biggest reason is that there’s this annoying new character that follows Puss around. I’m sure someone out there found him funny or cute. I found him to be neither. He’s a dog pretending to be a cat. Yet, he creates “Team Friendship”, and the film ends reminding you he is very much eligible for the sequel, which makes me already not want to see it.

Sequels have a daunting task. They have to change the story, and move it forward in the best of ways. When you introduce characters, they have to be memorable. The best sequels have given us reason to believe that they created a character who improves the franchise and fits so naturally in it. Toy Story 2 gave us Jessie, Shrek 2 gave us Puss, How To Train Your Dragon 2 introduced us to a presumably lost forever mother, while Cars 2 went international with characters you don’t care about, I challenge you to name any of the new characters in Monsters University from memory, and the Shrek sequels decided Shrek needed kids. Then they stopped making Shrek movies. It’s a simple formula. Either the new characters contribute and become overnight sensations, or they flop. For me, this nameless dog flopped.

The audio description here is really nice. She has a lovely voice that kids will enjoy, without annoying the parents. The narration is great in the sight gags, the little things the characters do that don’t have dialogue. Puss, for example, has a few moments where he does cat like things, and a few moments where his things are a bit more human, and sometimes that’s the joke. Without AD, the first part of the film would be a really rough start.

There’s stuff to work with here, but without going back and rewatching the original, I’d probably say it’s an A- for me. I think it actually got better as I rewatched it. But this second one has a way to go.

Final Grade: B

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