Puss in Boots (2011)

The Shrek franchise is the true definition of diminishing returns. The original Shrek was a true family treat. Fart gags for the kids, knob jokes for the parents. Then the sequel came along and, whilst we learnt again that it’s what’s on the inside that counts, it was a pleasant way to spend an afternoon. By the fourth one, Same Old Shrek, the wheels were firmly spinning in the dirt. Shrek gone through so many life lessons, I was amazed  the married man with three kids had got through life without being killed crossing the street or opening a door.

The pop-references overtook the plot to such an extent that it became less about what was going to happen and more about guessing which of the latest blockbusters was going to get referenced against a backdrop of Eels songs. The last one being a genuine display of drowning in  a pop-culture stew. A stew made of gristle. And poo. And possibly some dead kittens.

Thanks heavens for Puss in Boots. A film which reminds you that you don’t need to play Lady Gaga and reenact the glasses of water scene from Jurassic Park. Antonio Banderas is brilliant as the titular hero who joins forces with Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakos) and sultry Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) to retrieve magic beans from bandits, Jack and Jill (Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris).

The film is a swift 90 minutes of genuine joy that doesn’t try to be overtly clever. If there are weak points, then it must be said that are probably one or two many action set pieces. I was too keen to move on to the next bit of dialogue. This a brilliant Christmas movie and hopefully, I mean this sincerely, it won’t lead to any sequels. None. No.

Dreamworks, don’t… Don’t cheapen the moment. Just embrace it. You’ve made a good film. Just savour it and go home. Please.

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