“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” Surprises Fans with Complex Storyline and Vibrant Animation

Melanie Jandura watches Puss in Boots: The Last Wish and snacks on popcorn.

Jei Jandura

Melanie Jandura watches “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” and snacks on popcorn.

Jei Jandura and Melanie Jandura

Joel Crawford’s “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” released in 2022, came as an unexpected sequel to its 2011 predecessor. But sometimes surprises can be a true joy. “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” was quite a charming film and not based on nostalgia alone. Although it stays true to the original movie, the new film provides several bold and unique twists in a variety of ways. The plot follows Puss in Boots reaching the very last of his nine lives, forcing him to retire from his adventures. However, a star that grants a wish to whoever finds it first gives him the possibility to evade death and start fresh again. With many others seeking out the star, the journey definitely won’t be easy, so he reluctantly teams up with Kitty Soft Paws and Perrito to find the star and make his wish come true.

Notably, the animation in this film is a complete change from the original western aesthetic surrounding warmer colors, instead relying on a vibrant paintbrush effect to make the environments brighter and full of life. The art and animation style was especially different in the numerous fight scenes in the movie. In order to bring the fight scenes to life and to add an extra hint of epicness, the animators used a blend of 2D and 3D animation (commonly referred to as hybrid animation), as well as slowing down the frames of the characters while they fight in order to ramp up the intensity of the scene. While hybrid animation isn’t a new concept, with it being used in movies as old as 1991s “Beauty and the Beast” during the ball room scene, the animators did a brilliant job finding the perfect mix between creating 3D models and drawing out scenes by hand. Both of these tricks are heavily utilized in one of the most beloved animated films of the past few decades, Sony’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” a movie that was pretty much universally praised for its innovations in animation.

One of the greatest parts of this movie is its villains. There are three main villains in this movie: the big bad wolf, Goldilocks and Jack Horner. Despite the large number of villains, none of them feel like they’re used too much or too little (it’s just right). They get all of the screen time that they need to be effective villains and go through their own arcs, including Goldie dealing with her family of bears, Jack being broken up about the fact that he’s just from a nursery rhyme, and the absolute terror that is the big bad wolf. The big bad wolf is absolutely menacing throughout the whole movie and the sound of his whistle brings shivers whenever we hear it. While Jack acts as a sort of comedic villain (which makes sense considering he is voiced by comedian John Mulaney), and Goldie acts as an emotionally driven villain, the big bad wolf serves as a scary villain that strikes fear into the audience. Dreamworks has a ton of incredible villains, from Fairy Godmother from “Shrek 2” to Lord Shen from “Kung Fu Panda 2” and while he doesn’t quite reach the level of those two, he is absolutely one of the best villains that the studio has pumped out.

Despite the fact that the Puss in Boots series is a spinoff of the comedy-filled Shrek series, the 2011 “Puss in Boots” lacked the humor that many fans were expecting. This movie, however, had no such problem. From more childish and light hearted to mature and even slightly dark, there is something for everyone. One of the major sources of comedic moments in the film is Perrito, a wannabe therapy dog that takes on the role of Puss’s cheery friend. Some of the funniest parts in the movie is where Perrito gets bleeped because he starts unknowingly swearing. Something that the movie absolutely deserves praise for is the fact that Perrito was not turned into an annoying character. Many movies have fallen into the trap of turning their comedic relief characters into really obnoxious characters with zero personality outside of being funny. Perrito doesn’t fall into this trap, though. He is used for comedic purposes and is very optimistic, but the writers turned him into a deep character by explaining his life story. Despite it being so dark, he looks at it from a positive perspective while Puss and Kitty Soft Paws seem shocked at the positivity that he feels. As the movie goes on we see why he acts so positive, and it’s because of the central message of the movie: you only have one life.

For a PG-rated movie, the message was surprisingly meaningful. For nearly the entire course of the film, Puss in Boots is extremely fearful about the fact he is going to die if he doesn’t find the star in time. His heart pounds, his life flashes before his eyes, he even has a full panic attack in the woods since he is so terrified at the thought of ultimate death. But by the end of the movie, he comes to terms with the fact that death is inevitable. He will die eventually just like everyone else and that’s okay. Life being short is what gives it value. When he still had many lives to spare, he was far more arrogant and careless about others and himself compared to when he reached his last.

Despite “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” coming almost out of the blue, the film has many exceptional qualities to it that make it a worthwhile watch. There weren’t really any aspects of the movie that were butchered. For instance, even though a lot of movie sequels feel forced and suffer as a result, Puss in Boots easily avoids the pattern and we actually consider it better than the original it stems from. The 2011 “Puss in Boots” doesn’t really have anything that stands out about it. The animation is fine, the characters are fine and instead of adding satirical elements surrounding fairy tales like the Shrek series did, the tropes are played into. “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” is completely different and feels a lot like a stand-alone movie while also having a few connections to the first film. Adding on the beautiful animation, interesting characters, messaging and more, we both agree “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” deserves a 9/10 and was a great experience to view.