December 27, 2022 – The swashbuckling cat spun off from the Shrek franchise makes a very successful comeback in this epic fantasy adventure from DreamWorks Animation (the fifth film featuring this character). It looks like this animated film has a shot at an Oscar this year.
Puss in Boots is a fearless fighter, and the movie opens with him defeating a giant opponent. Part of the reason he is fearless is that he has nine lives. A series of reckless accidents and misadventures over the years, leaves him with just one life remaining, and this exposes his underlying fear, a fear he never had to face before.
Death comes knocking in the form of the Big Bad Wolf, and Puss runs away, seeking the refuge of a cat lady who takes in numerous stray cats. There, proud Puss suffers the indignity of wearing little cat mittens on his paws and eating cat food from a kind of feeding trough. He is befriended, however, by a small, relentlessly upbeat dog, Perrito, who is pretending to be a cat in order to have something to eat.
It appears that Puss in Boot's adventurous personality is slipping away as he settles in to a safe, monotonous life. Suddenly, three bears and Goldilocks barge into the house, looking for him. They fail to recognize him, but when he overhears what they are after, he springs back into action, ready for a new adventure.
What they are looking for is a magic map which leads to a place in a dangerous dark forest where a magical Wishing Star can grant single wish. Puss wants to use this wish to get his nine lives back. He and Perrito set off in search of the map. Along the way, they encounter and old friend, master thief Kitty Softpaws, who is also after the map.
Puss and Kitty Soft Paws steal the map from Big Jack Horner, a collector who hired Goldilocks and the Bears to get the map. Puss, Kitty and Perrito set off with the map, with Goldilocks, the bears and Jack Horner in close pursuit. Jack Horner brings along a whole bag of magical objects from such tales as Pinocchio and Alice in Wonderland that he has collected to help him with his quest. Jack invokes one of the spells, causing Jiminy Cricket to appear. Jiminy's moral advice is ignored by Jack, but Jiminy eventually gets the last word.
Upon entering the magic forest, Puss and Kitty each see a different, dark and dangerous path reveled to them by the magic map. Perrito, however, having a gentle nature, sees an easier way to the Wishing Star. Goldilocks and the bears, along with Jack Horner all end up in a big battle for the Wishing Star. In the end, the quest and battle reveals the true nature of each of these characters, for good or evil, generosity, or selfishness. Therein lies the moral of the story.
This year, there have not been many top quality animated films, unlike 2021, when there were more excellent animated films. It looks to me like this movie is one the top five best animated films I've seen this year (along with “Turning Red,” “Pinocchio,” “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On” and “The Bad Guys”). It should get an Academy Award nomination. This film rates a B.
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