Puss in Boots – Review by Susan Granger

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After the exploits of this intrepid feline adventurer (voiced by charming Antonio Banderas) were acclaimed in “Shrek 2,” a picaresque spin-off for the supporting star seemed inevitable.

Designed as a prequel, this fairy tale/nursery rhyme-based plot revolves around the backstory of Puss and a glib egg named Humpty Alexander Dumpty (voiced by Zach Galifianakis), who became childhood ‘brothers’ in the Spanish orphanage of San Ricardo, maternally run by Senora Imelda (voiced by Constance Marie) . Growing up, they dreamed of finding those magical beans that would lead them up the Beanstalk into the giant’s fortress in-the-clouds, where Mother Goose guards her precious child, the Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs.

Years later, as now-notorious, debonair Puss in his signature plumed hat is trying to steal the genuine beans from avaricious Jack & Jill (voiced by Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris), he unexpectedly encounters a sultry, slick-fingered, feline femme fatale, Kitty Softpaws (voiced by Salma Hayek), who is after the same treasure. As the two of them join manipulative Humpty Dumpty – who has a jealous, duplicitous streak – in their mutual quest, there are numerous double-crosses and betrayals, along with a flamboyant flamenco-dancing interlude in the Cat Cantina.

Behind-the-scenes, “Shrek” animators were inspired by Antonio Banderas’ suave performance in “The Mask of Zorror” (1998), so they modeled Puss to play off Banderas’ Spanish background, marking a literary departure from the traditional French concept created by Charles Perrault’s 1697 “Master Cat”/“The Booted Cat.” Writer Tom Wheeler amplifies a revenge-and-forgiveness story he devised with Brian Lynch and Will Davies, as lead animator Patrick Mate and his staff, directed by Chris Miller, generate the stylish computerized visual elements.

Film aficionados may recognize the voice of San Ricardo’s official Commandante and the mysterious Moustache Man as belonging to filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Puss in Boots” prowls in with a swaggering 7. It’s furry, frisky, family-friendly fun. And you don’t have to pay extra for the 3-D, since the 2-D version is just as good.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.