Conner’s Critiques: “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” reveals a deeper backstory to the beloved sword-wielding cat


Everyone’s favorite sword-wielding kitty returned to screens back in Dec. 2022, in a one-and-a-half-hour animated adventure/comedy film that focused primarily on the backstory of Puss in Boots, voiced by Antonio Banderas

Interesting philosophical questions are presented in this film such as what would you do when you know you’re going to die? And what lengths would you go to to achieve everything you wanted?

Puss in Boots was first introduced in “Shrek 2” (2004) as a partner and friend to Shrek, accompanying him on his journey and adventures in both the sequel and the third film in the “Shrek” series. 

In the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, Puss in Boots was known in fairy tales across Europe, Central Asia, Southern Asia and parts of Africa, taking on different shapes such as a fox or a jackal who helped people improve their fortune that were down on their luck.

The animation style used for the 2022 movie is very similar to the one used in the popular movie “Spiderman: Into the Spider-verse” where the characters look like they’re from the pages of comic books. The graphics are very similar to comic-book style. The animation makes the characters pop with vibrancy and is incredibly pleasing to the eye and brings the magic seen in the film. 

The soundtrack is also very well thought out, featuring a mix of Spanish instruments and Spanish and English vocals as a nod to Puss in Boots’ own background. The soundtrack is enjoyable but goes heavy on guitar and string instruments. The soundtrack pairs well with the movie and the scenes happening at the time.

The film also introduces new characters that have not been seen in previous films from the “Shrek” or the “Puss in Boots” franchises. There’s Kitty Softpaws, voiced by Salma Hayek, who plays Puss-in-Boots’ resentful ex-fiancee who is also an assassin. Along with Kitty Softpaws and Puss in Boots, there is Perrito, voiced by Harvey Guillen, is a wanna-be therapist dog that Puss in Boots meets during his brief stay at an old lady’s house, and he accompanies both Puss in Boots and Kitty Softpaws throughout the film on their adventures. 

There are also appearances from other classic fairytale characters such as Goldilocks and the Three Bears and Jack Horner, from the popular nursery rhyme ‘“Little Jack Horner.”

The director of the movie, Joel Crawford, who worked on previous films such as “The Croods: A New Age,” was inspired by The Brothers Grimm’s fairy tales, which were darker than the more popular, innocent versions of the childhood fables we grew up watching and reading. 

“There are darker tones in this, Puss is down to the last of his nine lives. He’s grappling with his mortality, his fear of death is the engine that drives the movie and the Grimm fairy tales were a big inspiration [on that front],” said Crawford, in an interview with Variety Magazine.

Crawford also says he drew inspiration from a spaghetti western style of filming that emphasizes desert landscapes, shanty towns, and villains that represent the worst of the worst. It also shows other traditional Western tropes such as a clear stance on black vs. white morality, identifiable heroes, villains, and happy endings.

Overall, the movie is a humorous watch, perfect for the entire family or just a group of friends.  The action of an introspective cat makes the audience laugh.