I think I set my expectations too high going into Puss In Boots, starring one of the coolest characters from the Shrek scene. Shrek itself had become a bit stale, but I suppose I expected a return to mental form and an animation delight.
I also think that the bar set by Arthur Christmas the week before had really raised the standard I was expecting. That was such a good film, I suppose I was anticipating even more from Dreamworks. But that was not to be.
That's not to say that Puss in Boots is not a good film. It really is. Quite funny, lots of skewed fairytale references, Antonio Banderas. It's just that it's a little slow. A little too serious. A little dancy.
It also stars the voice talent of Zach Galifianakis, from the Hangover, as Puss in Boots wayward "brother" Humpty Dumpty. I didn't realize he provided that voice until after the film, but it possibly explained why I didn't really like the character that much, which may have been my whole problem with the film itself.
The basic plot is that Puss In Boots, Kitty (Selma Hayek) and Humpty try and track down the magic beans so that they can get the goose that lays the golden eggs and become rich and redeem themselves in the eyes of their hometown. Their banter is occasionally amusing, but these characters are all meant to be fairly competent and so don't generate a lot of laughs - part of the fun of the Shrek series came from the fact donkey was completely bonkers, and a lot of the laughs came at his expense or naivety. At any rate, the adventurers encounter perils and magic and lots of cat jokes on their quest, and experience quite a bit of pace-sapping soul searching as well. There was so much that I almost fell asleep at certain points, even though it was a pretty early screening.
But there were laughs as well. Plastic bottles full of water defied the technological era in which the film was set; Jack and Jill never looked so sinister; and the golden gosling was very cute.
However, as the end credits rolled, I realised I was pretty glad it was over. Perhaps the 3D version would have been more invigorating, but I doubt it. It was a good film, above average on a whole lot of levels, but for me at least just missing that spark which made it good.
Verdict: Puss In Boots strikes out on his own and makes a decent film, but not one that will live on in legend. Well, not the legend I would write anyway. 6.5 golden eggs out of 10.