One of the most sincere and philosophical films of 2022 won’t be found in the small Arthouse theater shaded in the cobbled lane behind the busier multiplex but in the V Junior theater at the main movie hub.
Like its predecessor and parent series, Shrek spin-off Puss in Boots : the Last Wish fabulously sends up classic fairy tale characters (they’ve a hilariously delightful twist on Little Jack Horner here!), while both introducing and reintroducing audiences to the cutest and most enjoyable of animated characters. But the deep, somewhat serious, and profound human story at its core will likely come as a pleasant surprise to both fans and the fussy.
This time, fearless feline Puss in Boots (voiced with glee by Antonio Banderas, again having fun riffing on his classic sex symbol image and iconic turn as Zorro), sets out to find a spiritual last wish, which he’ll use to restore the eight of the nine lives he’s used up over the years. With the assistance of new friend, puppy Perrito (Harvey Guillén), and former lover Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek), he’ll daringly evade villains such as criminal kingpin ‘Big’ Jack Horner (John Mulaney), Goldilocks (Florence Pugh) and the Three Bears Crime Family (Olivia Colman, Ray Winstone, Samson Kayo), and a mysterious big bad wolf (Wagner Moura) on his road to restoration – or, perhaps, a revelation.
Directors Joel Crawford and Januel Mercado’s decade-gestating sequel to a fun but fairly forgettable Shrek spin-off (2011) gallops in from left field, striking home with a rich, superbly human tale of affirmation cleverly disguised by a comical and cutesy ‘toon movie stencil. It’s a beautiful pic – aesthetically speaking, too- that reminds us to make the most of the one life we have because, as the movie gods remind us here, it’s way too short.