Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan
What is DEATH? and WHY does it exist? Answer in the Bible
What is ETERNAL LIFE/ and what does the Bible say about it?
The idea that there is an actual Wishing Star
Wolves in the Bible
Bears in the Bible
Trapped in the Cave of Lost Souls
Antonio Banderas … Puss in Boots (voice)
Salma Hayek … Kitty Softpaws (voice)
Harvey Guillén (Harvey Guillen) … Perro (voice)
Florence Pugh … Goldilocks (voice)
John Mulaney … Jack Horner (voice)
Wagner Moura … The Big Bad Wolf (voice)
Ray Winstone … Papa Bear (voice)
Samson Kayo … Baby Bear (voice)
Olivia Colman … Mama Bear (voice)
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Pacific Data Images (PDI)
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He’s the legendary cat who does not fear death. He saves the young, the weak, the old—anytime, anywhere. He’s faced many types of foes, large and small, and none have ever been able to subdue the hero who is Puss in Boots! He’s practically invincible! Right?
After defeating a giant monster in a nearby town, a giant bell drops on Puss in Boots. Upon awakening, he comes face to face with a doctor (slash witch doctor and other professions). The doctor informs him that he has died. Puss laughs and states, “Ha! So what? I have nine lives?” “And how many have you lost already?” the doctor questions. It’s then Puss realizes he’s down to his last life.
The doctor tells him his adventuring life is over and recommends he become a house cat at the home of Mama Luna, a “cat lady” with an incredible amount of cats. It is here Puss meets a fun, yet odd, dog (pretending to be a cat) named Perrito. Puss does not adjust well to his new living environment, but that may change very quickly.
When some bounty hunters come upon Mama Luna’s doorstep looking for Puss, he overhears an opportunity to find the legendary Wishing Star. With this star, Puss could wish for more lives. But he’s not the only one on the hunt for the star.
Pray for mercy from Puss in Boots!
Right now at the school where I teach music, I am teaching about film music in a movies class for high school students. At one point during the beginning of the class, I asked the students some of their favorite films, some of them based on genre. When I came to animation, I mentioned the “Shrek” series (all the films) were some of mine, and when I asked if they had seen any of the “Shrek” film series, out of the 17 students, only a few raised their hands.
The “Shrek” series, and in this case the “Puss in Boots” franchise, were once one of the most celebrated films of the millennial generation. When you thought of animation outside of Pixar, you thought of Dreamworks and then your mind went straight to the “Shrek” series. It seemed that most people saw the “Shrek” and “Puss in Boots” movies. Now if you ask students if they’ve seen any of the “Shrek” movies, you might get a few “Oh yeah I saw it, it was good.”
As a stand alone film, “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” is a nostalgic, magical and heart-warming ride, with some bumps (albeit large ones) in the road.
ANIMATION and PERFORMANCES: Simply breathtaking. As one reviewer put it, “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” combines many of the animation techniques of “Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse” which only strengthens the other aspects of the film. Speaking of performances: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek and more particularly Harvey Guillén have incredible comedic chemistry together. You could tell these three veteran actors were having a lot of fun in the recording booth during and in-between takes.
PACING: The overall pacing of the film was perfect (100 minutes). The balance is good between action and what I call “scenes of calm.”
Some of the content raises some red flags, particularly since this is a children’s film. Here is what I noticed.
LANGUAGE: A bleeped-out “Sh*t for brains,” “All I smell is bull****” (incomplete), “What the h*ll are you talking about?,” the word h*ll is also used once in Spanish, “B*gger,” “What the ****?,” “Cr*p” (2), “That is a cr*p name,” “I haven’t got dingleberries”
Puss is shown urinating into a toilet while standing. He and another are also seen straining to defecate in a litter box. There is also a scene that appears to involve raw sewage. The Governor is pantsed, and his underwear seen.
ALCOHOL/DRUG USE: Some characters react to drinking milk or cream as if it were beer, and it is imbibed in a tavern. Puss once seems tipsy.
OVERALL MOOD: The overall feel of the film is at times dark and depressing, and the issues faced may be too mature for some young viewers. Wolf’s menacing appearance and behavior might scare some kids. (*MINOR SPOILER*) It is eventually revealed that he is Death himself. *END MINOR SPOILER* A “dark forest” is entered by Puss and two friends. It first it appears light and colorful, but it suddenly turns dark and dangerous. Characters are in danger at various times.
VIOLENCE: Heavy (especially for a children’s action film). Multiple scenes involve sword fights. A giant tears a building’s roof off and grabs people inside, later throwing Puss through the building. Puss dies when crushed by a bell. We also see the cause of each previous time he was killed. The cat lady’s door is broken in by attacking bears, and the father bear smacks the baby bear. Various characters are struck throughout the film. A male villain uses his henchmen as a bridge, without caring that some fall (probably to their deaths).
OTHER: Two characters indicate they murdered to obtain a map to the Wishing Star. A small dog tells how his owners tried to drown him in a river. Puss and Softpaws steal a ship. A woman is shown in her bath (not explicit). Someone calls the baby bear a dingleberry, and the bear’s father confirms that the baby has one on him.
Themes of bravery, courage and friendship run fairly strong in this film. However, there is one overarching theme that encompasses the film and that is Death and the fear of death. He had laughed at Death because he has died so many times he hasn’t noticed, but when he has to face his “final death” that is the first time he experiences true fear.
As we approach the time of year where we celebrate our Lord Jesus’s birth (incarnation), I am reminded that the purpose of HIS birth was to save us from sins. The beauty of being saved by the Lord Jesus is that we no longer have to fear Death. Jesus conquered death, sparing us eternal damnation in Hell. Here are some Scriptures that support this.
“And which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” —2 Timothy 1:10
“When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” —1 Corinthians 15:54
“Puss in Boots” gave me mixed reactions: laughter, joy, sadness and definitely some shock. “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” brings a strong story with some heart, but also PLENTY of content to watch out for, particularly since this is geared toward children (though as I said, it wasn’t children that were in the theater I attended; mostly young adults like myself). I stress caution to Christian audiences before taking families to see the film. There’s a lot of violence, cartoonish in nature, and some language that may make some “wish” they’d stay home. Discretion is advised.
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.