‘Puss in Boots: The Last Wish’ successfully resurrects the Shrek universe

Dreamworks’ reimagining of Puss in Boots is masterful


Courtesy of IMDb

“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” centers around themes of death, mental health and family.

Ally Werstler, Staff Writer

A close second to my favorite Dreamworks film, “Shrek 2,” “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” is not only entertaining but also packed with mature themes and beautiful animation that allows audience members to fall back in love with the unique Shrek universe.

The sequel is the newest film to come from Dreamworks Animation. Directed by newcomer Joel Crawford, the film follows the title character who is on the last of his legendary nine lives. Refusing to accept death, Puss pursues a quest with new and old friends to find the legendary wishing star. 

Because I was not a fan of the 2011 film “Puss in Boots,” I was incredibly surprised to see the rave reviews of its 2022 sequel, as it currently holds a Rotten Tomatoes score of 95% and an IMDb of 7.8/10. After seeing the film twice, I can safely say that this is not a fluke, and such praise can be attributed to every person involved in the creation of this masterpiece. 

The prioritization of good storytelling is demonstrated in every line, frame and vocal performance, showing how children’s movies do not need to be dumbed down. They can be thoughtful pieces filled with witty jokes and meaningful themes that tug at one’s heartstrings, all while still being made for kids. 

The star-studded cast features Antonio Banderas as Puss in Boots, Salma Hayek as Kitty Soft Paws, Harvey Guillen as the dog, Florence Pugh as Goldi, Olivia Coleman as Mama Bear, Samson Kayo as Baby Bear, Ray Winstone as Papa Bear, Da’Vine Joy Randolph as Mama Luna and Wagner Moura as Death. Each and every one of these actors does a fantastic job of making words on a page become exciting dialogue that entices the viewer from start to finish.

“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” centers around our perception of death, healthy friendships and unique familial relationships. One of the most impressive aspects of this film is its focus on mental health, as Puss suffers anxiety attacks throughout the storyline. It shows children and parents alike that such occurrences need to be treated with patience and care.

My favorite character, an unnamed dog with ambitions of being a therapy animal, exemplifies the importance of showing vulnerability and provides the audience with an optimistic figure in a dire situation. Did I mention that this is a children’s movie? 

Goldi and her crime family of bears are also featured. Goldi comes to terms with what family truly means and learns to treasure loved ones unconditionally, bear or not. Lastly, a character that I will keep a secret in an effort to avoid spoilers, is mostly utilized for comedic purposes, thus is exempt from the themes previously mentioned. Upon first viewing I was annoyed that this certain character did not have a moral arc. However, after a rewatch, I have come to appreciate this choice, as his hilarious scenes perfectly demonstrate his evil ambitions. 

Also working to turn this seemingly simple story into an exciting journey is the gorgeous animation that pops off the screen with a vibrant color scheme and a “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”-esque style. Contributing to the film’s fairytale aesthetic are the individual fantastical brushstrokes that are seen on each character and their surrounding landscapes. This form of animation, along with the bold score, allows for the action sequences to become incredibly exciting and engaging.  

“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” demonstrates the importance of putting effort into children’s movies, as such themes and artistry will stick with audience members, young and old, for years to come. In all honesty, I cannot find any flaws with this film — it really is that good. If the rumors are true, and we are indeed getting a fifth Shrek installment, then the perfect film that is “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” has convinced me to be the first one in line for a ticket.

Film Score: 10/10