After a long decade, everyone’s favorite fearless hero Puss in Boots has returned to the big screen in the blockbuster Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. Released during the 2022 holiday season, it’s still running in theaters even in March, and has been nominated for an Oscar, and for good reason: most viewers love it. Clocking in at 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, critics and regular viewers alike all praise its engaging animation style, lovable characters, and heartwarming story of learning to appreciate what you have.
A spinoff of a sequel from the famous (and infamous) Shrek franchise, the Puss in Boots series follows the titular feline as he goes on many adventures and meets both friends and enemies. The Last Wish depicts a proud Puss in the beginning, wasting one of his many lives being a hero. Later, on his last life, he is confronted with the fact of his impending mortality, and tries to force himself into retirement. This, of course, is unfruitful, and soon a new chihuahua friend named Perrito and old flame of his, Kitty Softpaws, join him on his most nobly ignoble quest; that is, to find a fabled wishing star, capable of granting any desire. During this they race against a mob-family version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears as well as Jack Horner and his baker’s dozen of henchmen, who all also want the wish for themselves. All of this makes for an unexpectedly exceptional collision of fairy tales with wit, entertainment, and enough heart for anyone.
I was excited to see this film from the first teaser trailer I could find, which featured Goldilocks and the Three Bears sniffing around for something mysterious. As the release date got closer and more and more trailers began being released, my interest only grew and I impatiently awaited for when I could see it. A friend of mine got to the theaters before I could see it, and insisted I couldn’t live while missing out on it. When I finally did get a chance to watch it from the comfort of my couch, I was hooked from start to finish. In a year of solid sequels, (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Sonic 2, Top Gun Maverick, etc.) I have no doubt The Last Wish was one of if not the best to come out that year, if not films overall. It does the job of following up on the previous installation by blowing it out of the water, but is also totally viable as a standalone film. Every day I check my bank account for my next paycheck so that way I can buy the movie’s art book.
As standard for a typical Dreamworks movie, The Last Wish is a film for families for all ages. However, unlike a few of their more recent works, it is crafted so that not only children (their standard main demographic) can enjoy it, but any and everyone. There’s lightheartedness and easily-digestible good values for children, but also more serious moments (a standout moment is a very somber and accurate depiction of a panic attack), as well as some risque jokes for older audiences, even outside of the movie itself. Related to this, there is also a surprising amount of more mature language sprinkled throughout; not enough to bump up its rating but enough to catch an unsuspecting viewer off guard. Personally, I think my jaw dropped when the cute little dog swore so much a good portion of it was bleeped out. But, like most other facets of the film, it feels natural and right for both the settings and the characters.
The world itself is beautifully crafted and shows a clear, deep understanding of color and environmental theory, and perfectly encapsulates the idea of a storybook world where people and creatures actually live. Its score, by Henry Jackman, is also exceptional, each background track fitting its respective scene like a glove: muted when necessary, and grand when needed. Every character also has their own unique charm, from the sly Kitty Softpaws to the unapologetically bad Jack Horner and especially the chilling “Big Bad Wolf.” There’s something for everyone, no matter your tastes. If (somehow) one hasn’t seen it yet, doing so will only enrich their life for the better.
You can watch Puss in Boots: The Last Wish on Peacock TV and in limited theaters.