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Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: Puss in Boots

February 21st, 2012

Puss In Boots - Buy from Amazon: DVD, Puss in Boots / The Three Diablos, Blu-ray Combo Pack, or 3D Combo Pack

Shrek is arguably the biggest digitally animated franchise of all time. However, the last two installments missed expectations with critics and it was time for a change. That change came with Puss In Boots, a prequel / origin story for Puss In Boots. It struggled at the box office compared to the previous installments, but was it also a weaker film? Or were people just burned out on the Shrek franchise?

The Movie

Puss In Boots begins by introducing himself and the number of names he is known by. After leaving the bed of a beautiful cat, he steals a ring from her sleeping owner and is on the run, again. He's looking for a quick score and after intimidating a few bar patrons, he gets a lead on the most legendary of loot: The Golden Goose. But to get the Golden Goose, one must go to the Land of Giants, and to get to the Land of Giants, one must have The Magic Beans. Rumor has it, Jack and Jill have the Magic Beans, but only a crazy person would steal something from Jack and Jill. Puss In Boots is crazy enough to do it.

Unfortunately for him, he's not the only one. His heist is interrupted by another cat. At first Puss In Boots is livid, until he learns this cat is a lady, Kitty Softtouch, and then he's intrigued. At least until he learns she was sent by Humpty Alexander Dumpty to get him, and then he's back to being livid. Puss and Humpty used to be partners, in fact, they grew up in the same orphanage. But while they were life long friends and partners in their attempt to get the Golden Goose, Humpty tricked Puss into helping him rob a bank and as a result, he had to run away from his home in disgrace. Now Puss refuses to forgive him and work with him again. However, Humpty explains that he too wants pay back a rival he and puss have in common, San Richardo. Puss In Boots agrees to help him, but only to help his home town and so his adoptive mother won't feel shame for what he did.

We are less than halfway in, but this is a good place to stop, as to avoid spoilers.

Puss In Boots earned an Oscar nod for Best Feature-Length Animated Film. This film is very similar in quality to a fellow Oscar nominee, Kung Fu Panda 2. It has a great mixture of humor and adventure with a story that is good, but not groundbreaking. In fact, the story is probably the film's big weakness. There are some treasure hunter aspects of the movie, but these seemed rushed and without enough intrigue to carry the film. They did set up a few heists and plenty of action scenes as a result, but maybe there could have been more depth to this part of the film. Also, the relationship between Puss and Humpty is not as compelling as the potential romance between Puss In Boots and Kitty Softtouch.

The voice acting is excellent across the board with Antonio Banderas as suave as ever. This time around he's joined by Salma Hayek and the pair have good chemistry. (They have worked together in the past.) Jack and Jill don't exactly have a lot of screen time, but when they are there, Billy Bob Thorton and Amy Sedaris give a lot of personality to the pair. Finally there's Zack Galifianakis, whom I didn't recognize. I knew it was him, because every place I looked to see who played Humpty Dumpty had his name, but I wasn't 100% convinced till I saw his name in the end credits. I'm not surprised he earned an Annie nomination for his voice work.

The Extras

The extras on the DVD include Purr-fect Pairings, a nine-minute featurette on the voice cast and three deleted scenes, in animatic form. The The Three Diablos double-disc, comes with a second disc with The Three Diablos, a 13-minute short in which Puss In Boots is hired to retrieve The Heart of Fire ruby. The second disc also has a series of featurettes, some short, some more substantial. Kitten to Cat is a 12-minute featurette on the main character. Glitter Box Dance Off! is a five-minute dance lesson. Klepto Kitty is a four-minute look at a real life cat burglar. Kitty Keyboard is cats meowing to a few different tunes. Fairytale Pop-Up is an interactive character descriptions. While Kitty Strikes Again is another interactive game.

The Blu-ray has all of that plus A DreamWorks Fairytale a madlibs, while Puss' Paw Pouncing Challenge is another game. The Animator's Corner is a Picture-in-Picture commentary track while Trivia Track is exactly what it sounds like. Four exclusive extras, all of which push the technology. Excellent.

Moving onto the film's technical specs, the short answer is it's reference material. There is nothing to complain about with the video, while if you really want to complain about the audio, you could point out that it is not the most dynamic or immersive as some big budget action flicks, but it's close.

I don't have the 3D version to compare, as I have not yet made the leap to 3D.

Finally we get to the prices... The DVD is $17 and even with the light number of extras, it's worth picking up. Puss in Boots / The Three Diablos costs $6 more, which is a little high for a short film and mostly short featurettes. The Blu-ray Combo Pack is $25, which is an excellent deal for a Blu-ray that looks and sounds this great, plus has extras that push the technology. And if you have made the leap to 3D, the 3D Combo Pack is a mere $3 more than the Blu-ray combo pack.

The Verdict

I don't think Puss In Boots will win the Oscar. It's an exciting film that's heavy on the action and humor, but a little light on the emotional story. It is worth buying, I don't like splitting most of the extras to a separate disc, so I would go with the DVD over the Puss in Boots / The Three Diablos, but the Blu-ray Combo Pack or the 3D Combo Pack are the better deals and are contenders for Pick of the Week.

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Filed under: Video Review, Puss in Boots