‘Puss in Boots: The Last Wish’ Review

Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures

Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures

This review contains spoilers, so read with discretion. 

I will admit I did not want to see “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” initially. I don’t remember any Dreamworks films like “Shrek” or the other “Puss in Boots” being a big part of my childhood, but it does not matter for this movie. 

“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” is one of the best animated movies I have seen in a very long time. The stop motion and almost comic book-like depictions of fights just enhance an already beautiful story. I had no context walking into the film, but the flashbacks perfectly complemented every scene, and I felt I was not missing anything essential from previous films. 

The saturated colors highlight already enchanting scenes, something I did not expect from a Dreamworks film. I think that is one of the things that makes this film so amazing: nobody expected a jaw-dropping film with beautiful cinematography, which was not discussed until after it came out. Suddenly, reviews of a stunning film rocked the entertainment industry. 

“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” is not a movie I would usually watch, but every news outlet had an excellent review, and every social media I had was talking about it, so I knew I had to see it.

The film was paced perfectly, and I never felt bored. It was arranged into chapters, something I enjoyed, as you knew the direction of the scene by the title of every chapter. 

However, one of the most stunning aspects of this film is the villain, Death. He is one of the scariest villains Dreamworks has ever created, with an aura of fear surrounding him–the only one to make Puss in Boots afraid enough to run away from a fight. He is depicted as a wolf with red eyes, a huge and looming creature that no one has supposedly ever defeated. 

For a lot of the film, Dreamworks does not reveal to the viewer whether or not Death is a physical embodiment of Puss in Boots’s anxiety about death or if he is a real being that everyone can see since all of their initial interactions are done in private. These interactions highlight the horror of Death as a villain because he always attacks when Puss in Boot’s guard is down, like when he’s at the bar, after losing his sword, and after discovering a tomb of his arrogant past lives. 

However, Death does not take advantage of these encounters and often gives Puss a second chance or kicks him over his sword. This makes him even more startling; there are times I was genuinely worried that Puss in Boots would die since Death seemed so overpowered. 

During these meetings with Death, Puss is also battling multiple other fairytale villains that are after the last wish of a Wishing Star, just adding to the anticipation of the finale.

I love that Dreamworks captured Puss in Boot’s fear every time he encountered death, with the hairs on his neck standing up, a terrifying soundtrack, and even showing blood dripping down his forehead at one point. The animators are also able to capture one of the most realistic depictions of a panic attack I have ever seen in a film, a shocking feat for an animated Dreamworks film.  

Puss in Boots is trying to overcome more than Death, though. After becoming aware he wasted his first eight lives, he now has to come to terms with the fact that he is on his last life until he discovers a whimsical map that can save him. This map shows a long and dangerous journey to the Wishing Star, which will allow a single person to grant one wish. 

On this journey, he reconnects with a former love, Kitty Softpaws, and meets an unlikely companion–a silly dog who is the opposite of Puss. Throughout the film, the audience grows to love this little mutt who has experienced more hardship than all the other characters but remains a source of comedy and joy. 

This unnamed friend has a dream of becoming a therapy dog, something Puss originally laughs at until the dog is able to calm Puss down from a panic attack. Puss and Kitty lovingly nickname their unlikely companion Perrito, which is only one of many cute moments that makes one love the little dog.

In his last life, Puss in Boots struggles to overcome his arrogance and learns to defeat his past self: the confident hero, who is not afraid of anything, let alone something as silly as death. He grows as a character and slowly falls in love with his long-lost companion, Kitty. 

The voice actors did a phenomenal job, and I laughed hysterically multiple times throughout the film. John Mulaney portrays a hilarious supervillain with no redemption arc, and the honorable cricket on a shoulder who tries to point him in the right direction is left dumbfounded. 

Antonio Banderas was the perfect voice actor for Puss in Boots, capturing the ideal comedic value and sultry tone for the fearless hero. 

The plot was interesting and well throughout, with amazing catches. One of my favorite parts of the film is how the map to The Wishing Star would change every time someone new touched it and showed a reflection of themself; Puss and Kitty getting terrible paths of lava and fire-infused forests were later hilariously juxtaposed with Perrito’s course of smelling roses and rainbows. 

I love how this is a story within a dozen stories, and I am sure if I watched it a few more times, I could find a new easter egg every time. Goldilocks and the three bears make multiple appearances and tasteful references to their fairytale. There are so many characters to get involved with, but not too many, that it is overwhelming.

Overall, in traditional Dreamworks fashion, the film has a heartwarming finish: Puss finally realizes that he should not have wasted his first eight lives so meaninglessly, and he will live his last one to the fullest. 

If I had one complaint about the movie, I wish it had been longer so I could have watched even more of this story unfold. Watching Puss become a better version of himself after seeing countless depictions of his arrogance in other films was exciting, something I was not expecting. 

Please watch this movie; it was probably one of the best animated films I have seen in a long time. 

Rate: 9/10