Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
2022, PG, 100 min. Directed by Joel Crawford. Voices by Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Florence Pugh, Harvey Guillén, Olivia Colman, John Mulaney, Samson Kayo, Ray Winstone, Wagner Moura, Da’Vine Joy Randolph.
REVIEWED By Sarah Jane, Fri., Dec. 23, 2022
During my time at the Chronicle, I’ve reviewed several of the animated releases from the last year. Every time I get one, I think, “Oh man, this is not going to be good.” And, nearly every time, I’m wrong. Again, after being assigned Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, I thought the same thing and, friends, I couldn’t have been more wrong because this movie was a delight! A delight, I say!
Puss (Banderas back for a fifth feline adventure in this Shrek spinoff) is up to his usual shenanigans, kicking ass, taking names, and singing songs. All of which catches up with him when he realizes he's already used eight of his nine lives. The Big Bad Wolf (Moura) comes a-calling and Puss realizes he has taken his lives for granted and is scared about his future. After retiring to be a house cat at the home of crazy cat lady Mama Luna (Randolph), he meets Perrito (Guillén), a really fucked-up Chihuahua pretending to be cat. Puss hates Perrito at first, but they end up on an adventure together when Goldilocks (Pugh) and her Three Bears (Winstone, Colman, Kayo) come looking for him. All of them are really after the Wishing Star but that can only be found with a special map, which is held by Big Jack Horner (Mulaney). While looking for the map in Horner’s treasure room, Puss runs into his onetime love Kitty Softpaws (Hayek), who is none too happy with him. Everyone has reasons for wanting the Wishing Star and the race is on to find it.
I wasn’t sure what to make of Puss in Boots: The Last Wish during the opening scenes but once it cut to an Apocalypse Now reference replete with the Doors' “The End,” I was absolutely in. Kids are going to love it because it’s fun and they’ll be able to spot the different nursery rhyme characters. This adult loved it because it’s funny as hell and the performances were great across the board. Banderas is king and Hayek is his queen, although my favorites were the London gang crew of Pugh, Winstone, Colman, and Kayo, written like they were lifted from a Guy Ritchie movie. The action scenes were a little jarring because they were in a different animation style, but it didn’t take away from the film.
Give yourself (and your kids, if you got ’em) a holiday treat and catch Puss in Boots: The Last Wish in theatres.