In Shrek 2 (2004), Donkey told Puss in Boots that the position of annoying talking animal was already taken. So even though Puss couldn't be Shrek's sidekick, he has gone one step ahead to have his own movie in Puss in Boots, which while not being wildly original, is the greatest fun. Puss stays in character of the smooth operator and his capers are all crackling adventures. Swordfights or salsa, Puss does it in his super cool inimitable style to make for a happy time at the movies.

The movie is a prequel set in the time before Puss met Shrek. On the run from bounty hunters, Puss steps into the saloon of a dusty western town. As he laps (so neat that was) his shot of milk, he learns of dangerous outlaws Jack and Jill who have the magic beans that will enable them to climb the bean stalk to the giant's castle to steal the goose that lays golden eggs. Familiar plot points can be greeted with joy by all who have grown up on the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen.

Puss meets the nimble thief, Kitty Softpaws (she doesn't have claws) and Humpty Alexander Dumpty, his estranged best friend. An uneasy truce between the three is established as they set off to steal the beans from Jack and Jill. Heart-stopping moments, treachery, betrayal and the first glimmers of love follow in breathless succession.

The voice cast rocks. Antonio Banderas as Puss wins hearts with his swirly Spanish accent and his velvety moves. Salma Hayek as Kitty, Zach Galifianakis as rogue inventor Humpty Dumpty, Billy Bob Thorton as Jack and Amy Sedaris as Jill are spot on. Executive producer Guillermo Del Toro (yes of Hellboy and Pan's Labyrinth) plays the Commandante.

The animation is bright and busy and the movie is full of exhilarating set piece, including a gob-smacking chase through the canyon and the final cliff hanger. The music by Henry Jackman with its distinct guitars, percussion and folksy sound adds interesting aural layers to the picture. Puss in Boots who turned around from his grooming to tell Princess Fiona, “For you, baby, I will be,” has delivered on his brand promise with a complete entertainer.

Puss in Boots

Genre: Animation /Western

Director: Chris Miller

Voice cast: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Zach Galifiankis, Billy Bob Thorton, Amy Sedaris

Storyline: Puss, Kitty Softpaws and Humpty Dumpty steal magic beans from Jack and Jill to get the goose that lays golden eggs

Bottomline: Super smooth fun

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English Cinema ReviewsOctober 17, 2011