Going into 2022 I can tell you one thing- I did not expect to prefer both DreamWorks films over both Pixar (and Disney) films and to be crowning one of them as my favorite movie of 2022…and yet here we are. Even more surprising is that film, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is a sequel in a franchise that has well exceeded its welcome. This is why I always go into a movie hoping to be dazzled with what the filmmakers have to offer.
I’ve long said the match of Antonio Banderas with the character of Puss in Boots is one of the best uses of celebrity voices ever. This is not movie star stunt casting but a perfect match of voice to character. Banderas continues that tradition here voicing the famous feline to perfection. Giving just the right amount of moxie mixed with a little bit of fatigue from using all those lives.
In fact, Puss in Boots learns at the start of The Last Wish that he only has 1 more of his 9 lives left. Being accident-prone, he better get the most of his last life and learn to work with others before it’s too late.
One aspect that’s interesting about this film is that it actually has a lot of similarities with the recent GDT’s Pinocchio. Both deal with death and the afterlife as a theme, have a wood-spirit type creature that controls access to heaven, and both have stunning animation.
The only main difference is that GDT has songs and gets bogged down a little bit in the middle, sending Pinocchio to war. This is why I’d give The Last Wish the slight edge in my ranking (but both top 10 of the year at the moment).
Like I said, the animation is astonishing in The Last Wish. I am absolutely enamored by recent animation trends began by Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse. The way the hybrid animation ebbs and flows between 2D and CG is breathtaking and makes every scene memorable – especially the action. When Puss in Boots is sliding across rooftops chasing people, it took my breath away.
But it’s not all action. We have meaningful conversations about what makes a worthy life, how we can recover from grief, and the importance of friendship. There’s also a lot of humor from Puss in Boots, Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek.), and the selfish Goldilocks (Florence Pugh).
Looking at a movie like Puss in Boots: the Last Wish, I worry people will dismiss it as a cash-grab sequel, but you shouldn’t. Just the animation alone is worth the cost of admission, but the script by Paul Fisher and Tommy Swerdlow is outstanding. I actually haven’t seen it on the big screen yet (saw screener link), but I can’t wait to do so. It’s a blast that I can’t recommend more completely.
9.5 out of 10
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