“Puss in Boots” first appeared in “Shrek 2” and has since become a massive part of the animated film’s mythology. Eventually, the character appeared in his first spinoff back in 2011. Since then, the “Shrek” franchise has quieted down. But that all changed when the swashbuckling feline returned for its sequel “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish.” And while it could have gone the traditionally animated CG route, the sequel took a different approach, embracing the illustrative fairy tale look that one would see in bedtime stories.
Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek-Pinault reprise their roles as Puss and Kity Soft Paws in a sequel that’s visually explosive while also emotionally deep. In the film, the daring outlaw discovers that his passion for adventure and heroic missions has taken its toll. Puss has burned through eight of his nine lives, though he lost count along the way. Getting those lives back will send Puss in Boots into the Black Forest to find the mythical Wishing Star on his grandest quest yet. With only one life left, Puss must humble himself and ask for help from his former partner and nemesis: Kitty Softpaws. They are joined in their journey by a chatty and cheerful mutt named Perrito (Harvey Guillen). Together, our trio of heroes will need to stay one step ahead of the fairy tale realm’s craftiest crooks, including Goldilocks (Florence Pugh) and the Three Bears (Olivia Colman, Ray Winstone, and Samson Kayo), and one cruel and sadistic villain in Jack Horner (John Mulaney). Meanwhile, the cold and cunning Wolf (Wagner Moura) chases Puss like the specter of death, hoping to collect a massive bounty on the leche-loving feline’s head.
“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” redefines the fairytale story by weaving in those classic bedtime story aesthetics but mixing it with nods to Sergio Leone’s spaghetti Westerns while fearlessly tackling serious subject matter like mortality. One of the most significant moments is how it addresses panic attacks. Director Joel Crawford handles such a scene with care and grace, reminding us that even some of the most heroic characters have their vulnerabilities, so it’s crucial that those who share those experiences feel seen. The visually striking sequel is a party everyone can sing and dance two, yet be fully engaged with its sense of thrilling adventure.
While Banderas and Hayek-Pinault are a welcomed return to voice our favorite characters, the film’s MVPs are Guillen and Moura. Guillen’s performance as a bright ray of sunshine, Perrito, is absolutely infectious but also provides emotional depth to help balance out the film. As one of the meanest fairytale villains, Moura’s Wolf isn’t just a generic villain. There’s a weight to it as the character is the living embodiment of the concept of death. Like a cold shadow, the hooded bounty hunter, armed with two sickles, reminds us about how much precious time we have on this earth and that we must appreciate what we have now to live it to the fullest.
Since “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” is on Blu-ray, DVD, Digital, and on Peacock, we will take a look at the bonus features that are available on the home entertainment edition.
Starting with “The Trident,” the animated short sees Puss, Kitty, and Perrito sitting by a campfire. Puss recalls one of his most harrowing deaths as he tried to help a small town recover from a drought using the all-powerful Poseidon trident. But, of course, things don’t go his way, and Kitty interjects to correct him on his memory. Even Goldilocks and the Three Bears appear, but their goals for the trident aren’t as nefarious, nor are they selfish. Will someone give them some “porridge that is just right?”
A Cast of Characters are bite-sized EPK-type videos showing the respective voice talents talking about their characters. It’s fun to watch them in the voice booth and react to finding out who some of their fellow co-stars will be. And “Jack Horner’s Line-O-Rama” is an excellent companion piece that shows Mulaney riffing off lines like any comedian.
For a more interactive feature, check out the “Fearless Hero” lyric video, a sing-a-long that is every bit as fun as the musical sequence itself. Although, I wouldn’t recommend waking up any sleeping giants. The “How to Draw the Purrfect Pawtrait” allows you to draw up Puss in Boots, Kitty Softpaws, and Perrito, just like director Joel Carford and co-director Januel Mercado. Of course, it won’t look like the characters in the film, but it will give you a chance to get the look and feel of what it would be like to be a Dreamworks animation artist. And then there’s “How to Make a Paper Perrito,” which is exactly what it sounds like. So if you’re in a crafty mood, then have some pieces of cardstock paper, a pair of scissors, a glue stick, some colored pencils, a pencil, and a ruler ready.
“In the Beginning” revisits how Dreamworks decided to return to the Shrek universe but continues to tell the story of Puss.
Other bonus features include a Kitty Cam, a relaxing video of kittens playing around with toys and climbing towers.
“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” is currently on Blu-Ray, DVD, and Digital, and can be streamed on Peacock.
BONUS FEATURES on 4K UHD, BLU-RAYTM, DVD AND DIGITAL for your collection:
– ALL-NEW EXCLUSIVE SHORT “THE TRIDENT” – When you’re the legendary Puss in Boots, life and death go paw in paw. In this epic original short, Puss recalls one of his most daring deaths yet.
– DELETED SCENES
• POTTY BREAK
• LOVE AND DEATH
• WALL O’SNAKES
– A CAST OF CHARACTERS – You know their voices, now see the faces behind all the beloved PUSS IN BOOTS characters.
• PUSS IN BOOTS
• KITTY SOFTPAWS
• GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS
• JACK HORNER
– IN THE BEGINNING – Go behind the scenes with the filmmakers of PUSS IN BOOTS: THE LAST WISH to discover how they brought this great tale to life.
– JACK HORNER’S LINE-O-RAMA – Jack Horner says it all in this comedic line-o-rama.
– “FEARLESS HERO” LYRIC VIDEO – Sing along from home!
– HOW TO DRAW THE PURRFECT PAWTRAIT – Join Director Joel Crawford and Co-Director Januel Mercado as they teach us how to draw our favorite characters.
• PUSS IN BOOTS
• KITTY SOFTPAWS
– HOW TO MAKE A PAPER PERRITO – Every hero needs a sidekick and this ‘how to’ will help you create your very own.
– KITTY CAM – Sit back, relax and enjoy a festive cluster of kittens as they frolic and play. This cat-stravaganza is sure to entertain for hours.
– FEATURE COMMENTARY – with Director Joel Crawford, Co-Director Januel Mercado, Producer Mark Swift, Editor James Ryan and Head of Story Heidi Jo Gilbert