“Puss In Boots” talkback

Dreamworks’ Puss In Boots (directed by Chris Miller) opens today and I really liked it. Michael O’Sullivan says it best in his review in The Washington Post: “Almost shockingly good. And not just because a lot of you will approach it with lowered expectations.”

It’s visually beautiful, the 3D is actually great and the story was fun and exciting. There is always something going on, every moment seems to be either a funny gag or an action sequence; the whole film mixes fantasy, adventure and humor in a very pleasing way. The only flaw is the carry-over of ugly human character design, already established in the Dreamworks’ Shrek universe. I’ll give them a pass on this, as the film is supposed to connect as a prequel to Shrek. All the new anthropomorphic characters, including Humpty Alexander Dumpty and Kitty Softpaws, are terrific – and picture, on the whole, is absolutely worth a view.

What did you think? Here’s our talkback post and we welcome your point of view. (The comments thread is open only to those who have seen the film – all other comments will be deleted)


  • James Fox

    Puss in Boots is a pleasant treat to see
    The 3D is very well implemented in comparison to films like “A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas”
    as for the story, It was great though it slows down at the near end (obviously for drama)

  • Tom

    Was actually rather looking forward to this, since Puss in Boots is my favourite character in the whole Shrek franchise.

    Oddly paced, and not very funny. Jokes either fell flat, or there were long intervals without any comedy whatsoever. The best moments were when Puss reverted to his cat-like instincts. Story was all over the place, and I didn’t really feel any sense of danger/emotion for any of the characters. Zach Galifianakis was annoying as Humpty Dumpty.

    On the plus side, it’s beautifully animated and looks incredibly pretty. Also, they didn’t try to tie in anything with Shrek’s movies, which was good.

    All in all, a hugely missed opportunity. Had the potential to be a funny, charming flick, but for me, it was incredibly mediocre.

  • http://Elioliart.com Some Girl

    All in all, really enjoyed the film! complaining that jokes weren’t funny in a DW when all the time we complain that DW’s films aren’t serious enough? geez, make up your mind people…haha. Story was surprisingly very good, visuals were awesome, spicy and fun, sespencful, just great fun! The voices were very well done, but it may vary for some of you that are picky…for whatever reason. Don’t go in to see something Oscar worthy, but we sure had a good time. Loved it. Of course, this is a DW film..everyone is a critic. I liked the fact that the script involved less humor unlike the Shrek films. Too much would have made it…well, not good. Remember guys and gals, if you at least cracked a smile, the film accomplished what it was meant to do. Hopefully, you got a lot more out of it than that. Highly recommend this movie! :) Forgive the typing and the horrid spelling, it’s late here… And doing this from an iPad…

    • AniCentric

      There’s a marked difference between “serious” and “boring”. Seriousness has to be offset with some form of dramatic tension.

      The commenter above yours seems to be saying that there are long stretches between jokes where there is nothing of substance.

      That’s actually a valid criticism that you can’t just overrule with a semantical, comparative, straw-man argument like yours.

      It’s not all or nothing, dramatic or comedy. Sometimes there is just boring and ineffective scenes in a film and that’s a problem with mentioning.

      • Tom

        Thank you for saying pretty much what I wanted to say, only more well-spoken.

        Movies don’t have to be only dramatic or only comedic. Kung Fu Panda had its fair share of laughs, but whenever it was serious or decided to tone down the comedy, it still had a strong foundation of humanity layered beneath the characters and the story, which I felt Puss in Boots was sorely lacking. During the more ‘serious’ bits in Puss in Boots, there wasn’t much to make me care for the characters.

        But yeah, Anicentric said it better. Please don’t put words into my mouth, Some Girl.

      • http://Elioliart.com Some Girl

        I was actually talking about the jokes…not the “boringness” aspect. ;) Sorry that wasn’t too clear.

      • Some Girl

        I would like to add that yes, the flat jokes and slow pacing can be related and it can make a less enjoyable experience for someone that was looking for some laughs. I guess my post was not too clear though. My peeve, is that some people have complained in past DW films that the humor, mainly in the Shrek series and or DW movies in general, do heavily rely on humor to keep us entertained rather than story. (They have become better at it.) Then is seems as if a DW film is not suddenly, funny enough? It was just a little puzzling for me. My point was that “seriousness” part you are confusing with, partially becasuse of my horribly written post, did not have to do anything with the “boring” factor. I was only talking about the jokes. Hey, if it bored the person, that’s fine. I can’t do anything about it. But I do have a right to disagree upon another viewer’s “view” of the film. Figuring that this is a talkback and there are reply buttons and all. Of course my comment is not reply worthy to another good opinion, because it’s their opinion. And I believe my comment is far from being an argument. My comment about a certain part in Tom’s post was not to be taken as a “semantical, comparative, straw-man argument “. It was just my opposing opinion. So please, before you make an assumption like that, take into consideration that I said it was late from where I was at, and that my mind wasn’t clear. I was only giving my thoughts to a point in his comment that I didn’t agee with, but with no malice.

  • Ethan

    Liked it a lot, surprisingly! I don’t know if it’s Chris Miller who is clearly getting better at this, but there’s an amazing improvement over Shrek-3. Well, be it Chris Miller or whoever else at Dreamworks who is responsible, congratulations!

    It was a totally different style of film than I expected. I’m glad it wasn’t too much a “parody” of Sergio Leone, it was more respectful and inspired than I expected. The story worked well and the mood was consistent. Maybe a few lines of dialog were tacky, and a few of the “cat jokes” were breaking the characters and breaking the pacing, but overall still fun and great action throughout the film, it never stopped being fun.

    Loved the lighting, the realistic lighting they seem to have started with Dragons, I hope they hold on to that, it’s beautiful when they put so much contrast and generally minimal light. Great animation and specially the facial animations were jaw dropping. All the technical side was also amazing. The 3D was very well done and original, slow fade transitions were probably very risky to attempt in 3D and they worked fine, the split screens too.

  • Dr. Truth

    I have to be totally honest and say this movie sucks.

    As an avid cat lover that was overjoyed at the possibility of a cat themed swashbuckling adventure, I was severely let down. This film is a mess. It seems like Puss was a guest star in his own film!!! I understand that the Shrek universe must adhere to the aesthetic of an existing fairy tale, but this is ludicrous!! Why introduce us to Puss in his suave, zorro-esque, element, only to cut and paste him into some Shrek 5 reject script about humpty dumpty and a beanstalk???? It just didn’t make sense. What a complete and utter waste of the talent, chemistry and history of Banderas and Hayek! As a many talk backers will say here: a missed opportunity.

    Dude, this could of been an amazing, family friendly, “Desperado” style romp, instead of hackneyed white-bread tripe.

    I think Dreamworks thought that middle America couldn’t handle a full on hispanic flavored adventure with Puss, so they pasted him into a straight to dvd Shrek film starring Galifianakis. Boooooo!!!!

    I’m being so hard on this because I’m such a cat lover. The ONE short segment where Puss and Kitty actually are in their element as cats on an adventure is amazing, but after that it’s: welcome the Galifianakis show for the next two hours.
    To paraphrase something the kids are using these days:
    EPIC. FAIL. 6.5/10

    • http://monsterrig.blogspot.com/ joe micallef

      Sorry to correct you but Epic Fail is 0/10.

  • matthew sullivan

    American can’t handle a full-on HISPANIC adventure? Really? You’re interjecting race into this?

    I thought it was great.

  • norman

    Loved it . and my cat lady girlfriend loved it as well. The lighting was great and the 3D was really well used. Now I just need to find the Puss in Boots costume for the cat and we’ll be set for halloween.

  • Juan Alfonso

    I liked the movie,but I still wanted to see that egg scrambled at the end!

  • dbenson

    An okay film, but not a classic. Puss is a great character and they gave him some great scenes, but the story around him had problems.

    I really wish they had jettisoned the fairy tale/nursery rhyme thing altogether except for Puss himself. As it was, they presented an intriguingly “real” world for Puss and disrupted it by dropping in Shrek-type characters. Humpty Dumpty was fun, but too surreal for this story and setting. I’d prefer he were human or feline.

    The big plot twist, despite the gag-driven reveal, felt like a major gyp. And a bit clumsy on the details.

    Is it just me, or does Jack & Jill’s gimmick-filled wagon look like a clunky toy written into the plot ala the old He Man show?

    A more general gripe: Computer animation lets you stage impossibly big and/or precise stunts. We’re no longer impressed by it — especially if you ignore gravity. Are the flashy beanstalk scenes as suspenseful or funny as the one in “Fun and Fancy Free”, where Mickey, Donald and Goofy are precariously carried upwards in less spectacular fashion? This is an issue I have with live action films as well, when a flawlessly executed scene fails because it’s simply too darn big to be real.

  • http://dwoodling.blogspot.com Daniel Woodling

    It’s a good film, but not a great one. I felt like I got my monies worth out of the film, but I didn’t really feel like it was anything all that special. From a visual stand point, it’s a really great film, although I wish some of the wide shots were held longer because they were really pretty. The story isn’t bad, but it’s not great and the pacing is weird. I laughed a few times, but there was definitely a few facepalm worthy moments too. Overall I’d give it a 6 or 7 out of 10.

  • Mr. James

    I’m feeling snarky so I’ll just say that I actually miss the days in middle school when you could get a reliable movie review in a few words.

    Did it suck or was it AWESOME?!

    • Cody S.

      It was OK.

  • Pedro Nakama

    I agree with Jerry and really liked it. I thought the adults were enjoying the film more than the children in the audience.

  • Scarabim

    I enjoyed it. Puss is a wonderful, lovable character, plus he’s got pizzazz. His loyalty and affection for his “mama” was very touching. SoftPaws was a good leading lady, and it seems that Dreamworks has learned its lesson about making us care about a villain and then have him offed (cough cough Tai Lung cough).

    The animation was wonderful and the beanstalk/castle scenes were amazing-looking. But I have to agree with others here that it would have been nice if Puss had done a bit more swashbuckling. I sort of expected him to be a furry Zorro, and he wasn’t quite that here. But just the same, this was a FUN movie and very satisfying. I’d give it an 8/10.

    • http://www.animationdungeon.com Shannon LeClerc

      I know its a little off-topic but Oh my god! I am not alone in feeling bad about Tai Lung, I felt like he got royally shafted.

  • T. Reynolds

    Can someone explain the ending to me? Humpty was a golden egg underneath his shell? Huh? And then the golden goose carries his corpse away? If a goose chick can lay golden eggs, what does the goose hen lay?

    so confused

    • Falcione

      (Possible Spoilers)

      I agree, I was a bit confused by the ending as well. Especially when during the credits, we see a non-broken Humpty dancing with the baby and mother goose in the clouds. How’d that happen?

      It seemed like they were leading up to something with a few lines spoken by Humpty earlier in the film; First, when they discovered the golden eggs, and Humpty said “I feel like I belong here!”, and later when he’s lamenting to Puss “I’m not a human, I’m not an egg, what am I?” (Or something to that effect.) After the reveal that he was a golden egg under his shell, and the mother goose carried him away, I was expecting some kind of post-credit scene with the mother goose sitting on him, and him hatching into a golden goose, with him finally realizing “where he belongs”. Had they done that, it could’ve also explained why he was in an orphanage; Because the original Jack had taken him from the castle in the clouds.

      I dunno, just seemed a bit confusing.

      • T. Reynolds

        Thanks, that does clear up things a bit, for me anyway. I like your ending =)

        I almost watched it twice, but left as soon as the egg character came onscreen. I wasn’t ready for a second helping of egg. This character seemed to be the most “Shrek-y”, and while I could enjoy the technical aspects I dislike that type of character, the one with all the contemporary humor and wisecracks. More Puss, less eggs would have been great!

  • Ross W

    I am a big Dreamworks fan, but this was a miss for me. No laughs, plot had many “huh?” moments as mentioned by others, too much Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis voice-over adds nothing),and the action was unexciting. It just made me want to watch Shrek 2 (still the best Puss In Boots movie) or Mickey and the Beanstalk.

  • http://www.spungella.com Jean-Denis Haas

    Liked it a lot. Very entertaining, loved the set pieces and the animation. At the top of animated movies this year for me.

  • AnthonyA

    I did enjoy the film – good visuals. I liked how mama goose wasn’t shown at first, just the eye. The dance-fight was a little too over the top – I remember thinking, ‘When did I get into a kung-fu movie?’; I think it should have been more along the lines of the victory dancing, just after getting back down the beanstalk. But overall, loved the visual work, and Banderas and Hayek played very well off one another. Excellent choice of Billy Bob Thornton for Jack.

    However, I did attend the 2pm matinee, and there were a lot of kids in there. They seemed to enjoy the film, but there were a lot of whispered questions about the jokes – a lot of them just didn’t work for the kids. Which is fine, I don’t mind a bit of innuendo that’s going to go over the kids’ heads, they won’t miss it. But the film did seem aimed at a more ‘adult’ level of comprehension, with little for the ten year old set and under.

    I see this as an ongoing problem with animation in the USA – how do you specify that the film, while animated, really isn’t for kids? I also noticed this with Avatar – that there were a number of young kids at the screening I attended, who really were confused all the way through the movie.

    • Funkybat

      I can’t imagine taking anyone under 9 or 10 to Avatar, and even then, they;d have to be pretty mature 10 year olds. I suppose with all the media hype, kids are going to want to see blockbusters no matter what. (I remember plenty of pre-teens jonesing for Terminator 2 and even Total Recall!)

      It’s up to the parents ultimately, but I guess it seems like it would be pointless to take kids to movies that deal with such mature themes, even if they are handled in a simplistic way. I would have been kind of bored by “Avatar” if I’d seen it as a kid, it was overlong and a little dull in parts even for me today. At least it’s not as bad as the time I saw the movie “Seven” and someone kept having to shush their toddlers they had brought along to see it!

  • Ken

    I honestly wanted to love this film and did when it focused on Puss and Kitty Softpaws but unfortunately there was the whole Humpty plot. I found myself dozing off during the movie when the Egg was onscreen. I know it’s easy/trendy/hip (whatever) to hate on Shrek but I really don’t care for those movies and the the focus on the Egg just reinforced my dislike for Dreamwork’s art direction and writing. I’ll sign up for another movie with Puss and Kitty as long as there’s no Shrek lineage.

  • Eric Graf

    BIG SPOILERS AHEAD.

    I saw this sucker in June at a test screening, and then again yesterday. It is much improved. The main thing they did, besides rewriting a large chunk of the third act, was to *reduce* Humpty’s role and annoyance quotient, and add *more* Puss and Kitty.

    So you can imagine what it was like before – essentially a relentless series of “just how obnoxious IS Humpty Dumpty?” gags. Somebody must have found this funny. I sure didn’t.

    In the test screening’s ending, Humpty emerged from his shell alive and talking, with solid gold arms and legs, and was waving goodbye as the goose carried him off. 10 out of 10 for sugary sweetness, but minus a couple million for making no sense at all.

    All that being said, I thought that the final version was still just OK. (There’s been a lot of that going around this year.)

    And Humpty Dumpty was largely to blame. He was totally unappealing to start with, and after all the horrible things he does in the movie, why would we care about his well-being at all? And how could he plausibly be considered a good egg afterwards? And if his center was solid gold, then wouldn’t he have been too heavy for pretty much anything that happens to him in the movie?

    Yeah, I know, cartoon, blah blah blah. But you tend not to notice the plot holes in a really GOOD animated movie until well afterwards.

    In short, “meh”. With kudos to Dreamworks for upgrading from “ew” in under 5 months.

    PS: I understand and support the decision, but it’s too bad they had to remove the line where Puss implied he’d been neutered by the “crazy cat people”. (Not kidding.)

    • Ethan

      Really too bad about the “crazy cat people” changes, the “neutered” implications would have been fitting perfectly, it would have balanced kitty’s comment and connecting the characters together, and a fitting climax to the scene… with what they ended up doing, the connection isn’t really there. I thought “what was the point of this scene again?”.

  • Mister Twister

    It was better than Shrek 4.

    • Funkybat

      I would have been very disappointed if it wasn’t!

  • Mark McD

    Please answer two questions, which I hope don’t spoil it any further:

    How many “Dreamworks Smirks?” Puss’ face doesn’t seem to be modeled in a way that lets him do one.

    Which overplayed 80s song (or re-recording of a 60′s song by an 80′s band) does the whole cast do a senseless dance number to before the end credits?

    • Jim

      1. I didn’t notice any “smirks”.

      2. There wasn’t one.

  • http://mitch-el.deviantart.com/ Mitchekie

    I just saw this film yesterday….

    Although not a fantastic, jaw-dropping, “let’s-go-see-this-a-million-times” production in terms of story, it does have its moments. The plot was significantly more complicated than I expected it to be, delving into deep emotional gullies in regards to the relationships between the characters (particularly Puss and Humpty), and was fairly enjoyable. Everything about the film from an aesthetic standpoint — the animation, set design, lighting, textures, and so on — were absolutely gorgeous, which comes as no surprise. The look of the film, at least, is worth the money. The characters were amiable, for the most part, except for Humpty… which I found to be more annoying than appealing. As for the score, it complemented the production nicely, although I wouldn’t say it’s particularly memorable.

    Perhaps it would be better if I just listed what I thought were pros and cons about it….

    Pros:

    - Aesthetically pleasing. The film is absolutely gorgeous to look at, especially in terms of animation and lighting.

    - Main focus was on only three characters. In a lot of DreamWorks films, there seems to be a billion characters, all with their own backstories, and this tends to get confusing. There were a healthy handful of entities in this film, too, but the focus seemed to stay on Puss, Kitty, and Humpty, with side-characters appearing only on occasion (and if they were promiment for a short time, it was usually for a good reason). I liked that they did this. It made it easier to concentrate on the characters you’re supposed to focus on.

    - Puss, as a character, was very likeable. I came to love him as a personality even more than in the “Shrek” sequels, which is something the film should accomplish… and it did. I like the fact that he had good intentions throughout the story, and the relationship between him and his nonbiological mother was absolutely adorable. (Kitty was also quite amiable. She was headstrong and able to take care of herself, yet she didn’t grab a hold of the film and make it her own.)

    - Interesting story. The plot was much different than what I expected, but it was intriguing enough that it kept me going and curious to see what would happen next.

    Cons:

    - Too much focus on Humpty. In all honesty, this felt more like Humpty’s story and not Puss’s. Yes, Puss was involved, but it came off as… more of a redemption tale in regards to Humpty. What was worse is that, as much as I wanted to like that blasted egg, I just didn’t. He was so disruptive in the first and second act that when it came to his moment of triumph it felt a little… sudden or forced (more the former than the latter). I accepted the ending, but I was rooting way more for Puss than for Humpty, even though I wanted to favor both equally.

    - A lot of jokes seemed to fall a bit flat, but that’s just my opinion. I do like that the overall film was more serious and not as gag-infested as many of DreamWorks’ other features are, but I do wish that the jokes themselves had been more humorous. Again, though, this is just my personal viewpoint.

    - I may be looking way too far into this, but was anyone else forcibly reminded of Mittens’ (from “Bolt”) backstory when Kitty was telling an uncomfortable tidbit of her past to Puss? Also, that whole thing where young Puss and Humpty are laying on the grass, talking about their plans/future, reminded me of a scene from “Up” — seriously, look at it; even the camera angles and shots are pretty much exactly the same. Couldn’t they have done something… a bit different in terms of setting? I’m probably just being ridiculously nitpicky here, and it’s not like DreamWorks is the only studio who’s been a copycat (no pun intended), but… still.

    Putting everything into perspective, I liked the film and will probably see it one more time in theaters. I’m not foaming at the mouth to watch it again, but I’d say it *is* worth your money for the aesthetics and interesting/entertaining story.

  • Toonio

    It surpassed my expectations. Nice story, very funny and great use of the 3-D.

    They somehow sneaked a LOL cats movie as a backdrop of the main action.

  • http://www.rocarts.com/portfolio Meredith

    I saw it this weekend and enjoyed the film. I thought the plot was solid and well thought out, with good characterization. I agree the dance-fight was over the top and could have been pulled in a bit. More gags/jokes might have been helpful, but I still came away thinking it was a funny film.

    (spoilers below)
    I have to agree that the demise of Humpty was confusing. The first thing I thought of was the ending Falcione proposes above, that Humpty hatches into one of the goose’s chicks and gets to be with his true family- that seemed to be where everything was leading. Was there something after the credits? The kids I took couldn’t sit still that long. Anyway, other than that plot issue I enjoyed the film.

  • Jimbo2K7

    Saw it in 3D Imax, and was pleasantly surprised.
    Not the perfect film, but what is?
    It was beautifully rendered, with some jaw dropping set pieces.
    I though it was funny, and yes, Humpty was annoying, as Zak G generally is – I would have preferred a different voice actor.
    Still, Puss was perfect, and Kitty was a good counterweight. The movie was much more enjoyable for me than any of the Shrek films.

  • http://www.classicparamountcartoons.blogspot.com ParamountCartoons

    I didn’t like the movie execpt for the cat jokes and the ending. I never squirmed so much during a movie since “Valiant” or “Doug’s 1st Movie”.

    Humpty Dumpty is one character that was a jerk, even when forgiven before his “fall”. And being an adult trying to do the right thing, it is pretty scary, even for a cartoon charcter, to plot revenge in jail. Almost as guilty as all the Simpsons “Bart vs. Sideshow Bob” episode.

    They should call it “Jack And The Beanstalk with Puss and Humpty”.

  • uncle wayne

    omg! I laffed throughOUT the film. What was there NOT to like? Grrrreat charicterizations, grrrrreat humor, even a great SCORE! My (feathered) hat totally OFF to the film!! Ole`!!!

  • http://moo-cartoon.blogspot.com MooCartoon