In May of 2010, Dreamworks Animation wrapped-up its biggest phenomenon of characters that lasted together for four full-length films-Shrek and friends. With an end, of course, there is always a way to change that: traveling back to the beginning. Prequels were always a strong possibility with the Shrek franchise, almost a hundred-percent definite, but for it to happen just one year later it still doesn't feel like Shrek has concluded, when in fact, it has. When the final Shrek movie released last year I remember thinking a Donkey movie was next. When I first heard the news on a prequel following the swashbuckling adventures of Puss in Boots, I was a bit skeptical. Not because I had doubt in the character, but because I felt it was just a way to milk out anything Shrek related without actually featuring Shrek. Even with a Donkey prequel like I expected, I would have been skeptical about that as well. Shrek 4 may have been intended to actually be the conclusion to all of the characters, but after the amounts of money it made Puss in Boots was the ultimate idea to make more. Depending on the amount of money Puss in Boots will make, which will be a lot, I'm sure we'll either see a sequel of the infamous cat or a prequel/follow-up for another character in the Shrek universe.
Puss in Boots had a very large shoe to fill...or boot if you want to be smart-ass. Kung Fu Panda 2 was an excellent film, one that was better than the first, and Puss would have to do a hell of a lot to keep up on the same level of greatness. While Puss in Boots is far from as incredible as Kung Fu Panda 2 was, its still redeems the Shrek franchise on a couple of different levels. Some may not like that I consider Puss in Boots to be apart of the Shrek franchise, but let me tell you this, if the films connects that only means it takes place in that specific franchise. Puss in Boots may become a trilogy of its own one day, but as of right now this is the fifth-film in the Shrek Universe of motion-pictures.
The trailers didn't naturally pique my curiosity or interest the way I expected them to. I thought that all the articles leading up to the first trailer would bother me, then I'd be proven by surprise that maybe the film would be worth-while. It never worked out. The trailers were not crafted well-enough to grasp any attention. The only solution I could find for this is to wait for the film itself and just find out from there. You guys all know me well-enough by now so don't ever be surprised when you see me reviewing a film that I was never interested in opening weekend! Besides, after the dazzling 3D that Kung Fu Panda 2 provided us with, I was hoping Puss in Boots would have that same effect.
The 3D in Puss in Boots was great but not even comparable to the beautiful 3D Kung Fu Panda 2 held. The two films set different looks, however. Kung Fu Panda is filled with color-schemes, while Puss in Boots is much darker and in the same setting most of the time. Even still, the 3D in the film is great and definitely worth the ticket-admission. Some of the shots are just remarkably mad, so in all that certainly made good-use for the 3D effects.
If there is one thing I loved about Puss in Boots, its the fact that it travels back to the original roots Shrek did perfectly. The use of adult-humor in the film is all over the place, which is a good thing because both Shrek 3 and 4 were a little too kiddie for my liking. A lot of the time, the adult humor will fly over parents' heads because I remember laughing in several instances where I found myself to be the only person laughing in the theater. Puss in Boots so cleverly develops a joke that pokes fun at my favorite film of all time, Fight Club, so that I appreciated most definitely. Then there are jokes were cat-nip is thought of as the kitty-version of weed. That one there may be a little over-the-top but it received the biggest laugh from me throughout the entire picture. Then you have a couple of sex-jokes that fit right into the adult-humor section. Some parents may not like the way Puss in Boots devises such humor, but hey, it was good to see that same humor the first Shrek used years and years ago!
Most of the characters, other than Puss, were not developed as good as they could have been. Humpty Dumpty had a nice back-story that explained his relationship with Puss, but his character still felt as though something was missing the entire time. Jack and Jill, who feel as if they are a married couple here other than brother and sister, are confusing to watch at times. I did not like their use to the film at all. Shrek films have always provided a ton of fairy-tale characters and Puss In Boots is no different, except for the fact that the characters they borrow are mashed-up and developed a tad bit odd.
Chris Miller redeems himself after the horrible mess that Shrek the Third was. When I found out that the guy who made the worst Shrek film of them all was behind the Puss in Boots prequel, I was not just worried but sold on the fact that this film would be a disaster. To my surprise, the man does an excellent job with Puss in Boots. The 3D, as I've already mentioned, is fantastic. The only thing missing with Puss in Boots' development is a couple of references to Shrek himself. I know that its supposed to be a prequel, but the viewers could have at least gotten a glimpse of their ugly green ogre. Something as simple as the joke in First Class featuring a scene with Wolverine would have made Puss in Boots a whole lot better! I also would have liked to see a musical-number at the end too. It was pretty much a tradition for the Shrek flicks so not seeing something similar to that here was surprising and unsatisfying.
Overall, the story to the film may not be the greatest, but it serves a plate a lot tastier than the last two Shrek films dished out. Puss in Boots is surprisingly fun, even though it lacks in a couple of categories. Even though I'd rather see a prequel/follow-up on a different character (like Donkey), I'll be able to live with another Puss in Boots adventure. Based on what Eddie Murphy has been saying on the future of his career in the family-film department, we can almost be positive a Donkey film won't happen and another Puss in Boots will. Meow!
Thanks for the read!
-Written by Corey Wood