Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

By Joanna Langfield

Maybe not my last wish, but I certainly wouldn’t mind listening to Antonio Banderas swashbuckle away as Puss in Boots forever. In this, the latest chapter of the Shrek series, the original voice actors are back and this time, they’re facing, amazingly enough, mortality.

Yep. Mortality. The end of the road. In a cartoon. Well, an animated movie, aimed, primarily at children. Of course, this isn’t the first time animation has gone serious. Up, the Toy Stories and Inside Out had many of us sobbing. And, while I wasn’t in tears at this storyline, or its dandy enactment, I was surprised and impressed at the respect this film has for its audience, reminding us not just of the shortness of life but of what is really important in the time we have in it.

Puss, you see, has gotten grave news. After living so cavalierly for so long, the doctor has counted things up and our beloved cat is now up to his 9th life. One more fight, one more accident and that’s it. And suddenly, Puss’s bravado is melting. He’s got to be super careful now. Unless. Unless he can venture into the Black Forest and find that Wishing Star and wish for his former lives to start again. It’s an adventure, one with allies and enemies, including a mutt named Perro, the returning Kitty, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, “Big” Jack Hormer and the Big Bad Wolf. The somewhat unsurprising arc of the story is given irresistible life by a fine group of voice actors, including Salma Hayek, Florence Pugh, Ray Winstone, Olivia Coleman and John Mulaney. They are all a delight, but it’s Banderas who gets me every time. I would love a video peek at how he creates his Puss in the studio. But for now, I’ll just have to imagine each swoop, plea and smile. And that’s pretty fun, too.