DVD Review: Puss in Boots (Two-disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy)
Release Date: February 24, 2012
· Chris Miller
· Antonio Banderas
· Salma Hayek
· Zach Galifianakis
· Billy Bob Thornton
· Amy Sedaris
by R.J. Carter
Published: February 25, 2012
Before he was offered the contract to hunt Shrek, the most dangerous cat in the land was just a misunderstood orphan, looking to redeem himself of a crime he did not commit. Well, not really commit.
Antonio Banderas reprises his Dreamworks Animation role, and to keep him from stealing scenes the production company has just given him his own feature film. "Puss in Boots" provides viewers with a spaghetti western origin story to Puss, but doesn't stray far from its fairy tale roots. Starting in the mission town of San Ricardo, we meet Puss as just a kitten, taken in at an orphanage where he forms a bond of brotherhood with the social outcast Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis). Humpty has a dream of finding the legendary magic beans, climbing the resultant beanstalk, and getting the goose that lays golden eggs. Together, the two young boys get into trouble of all kinds -- until Puss publicly rescues the Commandante's mother from a marauding bull (set free accidentally by a sulking Humpty). He's awarded the boots that would become his trademark, and is looked up to by all. But when Humpty tricks him into assisting with the robbery of the San Ricardo bank, which puts Puss on the run while Humpty is abandoned to the law.
Years later, and still bitter over Humpty's betrayal of trust, Puss discovers the magic beans are real, and in the hands of two notorious outlaws -- Jack and Jill (Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris). Seeing a way to repay the people of his village and redeem himself to the law, Puss seeks to steal the beans -- to be thwarted by yet another masked cat-burglar, the illustrious pickpocket Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) -- who is in the employ of the out-of-jail Humpty Dumpty!
Brilliantly animated and entertainingly told, Director Chris Miller's vision of "Puss in Boots" owes much to the Clint Eastwood era of westerns, utilizing such conventions as multiple viewing panes and off-kilter perspectives. The result is a story that's not only a delight to watch, but one that delivers an unexpected twist of events, making this one fun for the entire family.
This blu-ray release is chock full of bonus features to explore, not the least of which is a new animated short directed by Raman Hui. "Puss in Boots: The Three Diablos" takes place shortly after the events of the movie, finding Puss called in to find a notorious thief known as The Whisperer. The only lead Puss has is through three of the thief's captured assistants -- adorably cute kittens wearing mittens!
There are also two commentary tracks that can be toggled on for the feature presentation -- "The Animator's Corner" and a "Trivia Track." For activities, "A Dreamworks Fairytale" allows a user to make selections from a word list, which are then utilized in a rewritten poem read back -- think limited Mad-Libs meets Mother Goose rhymes. I also tried my hand at "Puss' Paw Pouncing Challenge," but I wasn't quick enough on the remote to catch the dancing lights.
Also on the blu-ray are the bonuses included on the accompanying DVD disc, which include:
Purr-fect Pairing: The Voices Behind the Legend features interviews with Banderas, Hayek, Galifianakis, Thornton and Sedaris.
Kitten to Cat is a walk through of the progression art of Puss' different life stages.
Glitter Box Dance Off teaches the viewer how to do the choreography that the animators drew from live action dancers.
Klepto Kitty tells the true story of a neighborhood cat burglar who could give Kitty Softpaws a run for her money in the thievery department.
Kitty Keyboard is a jukebox of Mother Goose songs as played and sung by a cat.
Fairytale Pop-Up Book is an interactive exploration of the characters of the film.
Kity Strikes Again is a visual challenge where two frames from the film are compared and the viewer is challenged to find what Kitty Softpaws has stolen from the original image.
Previews on this release include "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted" and "How to Train Your Dragon"-- Arena Spectacular.