Review: “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” proves that the “Shrek” franchise still has life

<p>Courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter</p>

Courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter

The “Shrek” franchise has been going strong for over 20 years. According to The Numbers, it has grossed over $2 billion worldwide and garnered lots of critical praise. The last film to release from the “Shrek” franchise was “Puss in Boots,” released in 2011. It took 11 years to get a sequel, “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” (2022), released. Does the sequel hold up after the long wait? The answer is simple: definitely.

“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” is directed by Joel Crawford and stars Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Harvey Guillén, John Mulaney, and Florence Pugh as voice actors. The film follows Puss in Boots as he ventures to find the mythical Last Wish with Kitty Softpaws and Perrito. Along his adventure, he journeys into the ideas of mortality and learns what it means to care for other people. 

The first Puss in Boots film attempts to tell an enthralling adventure with the character. Although this film repeats the same adventurous elements as the first, this one tries to leave the viewer with an important message. The idea of an animated film character going through human conflicts creates an immersive experience that even adults can enjoy. Goldilocks and Death, the antagonists, are great representations of Puss’ internal struggle of finding family and learning how to love. 

The animation style in this feature differs compared to the other films in the franchise. While the rest of the films contain 3D animation, “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” uses a two-dimensional, “paint-like” style to enhance the colors and make the animation pop. The characters and actions are layered on top of each other, giving the film a three-dimensional look. Because of this technique, the action is more fluid and intense. The swing of a sword is fast and the punches and kicks make the film look like a comic book. Choosing this animation style gives a unique spin to the movie and makes this sequel stand out over the other films in the franchise.

Characters are interesting if they are going through a central conflict. In “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” nearly every character has an issue that they are trying to resolve. Kitty Softpaws goes through similar developments as Puss, with both characters learning to commit and trust the people around them. Both have backgrounds that support their reasons for not trusting anyone, but as they become closer, they learn what it means to love someone else and the warmth that ensues. The way they learn to love is through the character Perrito. Perrito brings warmth and kindness that is missing from the other characters in the film. His character is the heart of the film and makes everyone empathetic and loving. 

The humor moves at the same pace as the film. There are times when the jokes come in too fast, making it hard to process. But when the jokes are clear, they hit. The jokes don’t appeal to just kids either. Utilizing pop culture references and animal humor, these moments connect with all ages. Some of the jokes repeat from the first film, but it doesn’t take away from the viewing experience. 

“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” is one of the biggest surprises in the animated film department. Despite being released over a decade after its predecessor, the film proves to be a necessary sequel, with its game-changing animation and empathetic storytelling. Although it looks like a film meant for children, it has worldwide appeal. It is playing in select theaters and is available to rent on Video-On-Demand (VOD).

Trevor Stucker (he/him) is a freshman majoring in Applied Film and Journalism. This is his first year writing for The Campus Citizen.

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