Making the Grades
After four films, the Shrek franchise wrapped up the story of the ornery green ogre who lives in a swamp and has to deal with relatives that are a royal pain. But like any good television series, spin-offs (The Bachelor, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Extreme Makeover for example) are always an option for films as well. In this case, Puss in Boots is a prequel, introducing audiences to the swashbuckling swordsman (voiced by Antonio Banderas) before he crossed paths with Shrek and Donkey in Shrek 2.
Lost from his litter, Puss in Boots blows into the small town of San Ricardo where the compassionate Imelda (voiced by Constance Marie) invites him into her orphanage. There he befriends another abandoned character, Humpty Dumpty (voiced by Zach Galifianakis). As children, the boys dream of finding magical beans in the hopes of going on a celestial adventure to the land of a giant with a legendary goose that lays golden eggs.
As a teenager however, Puss’s egg friend gets into hot water. And the cat is pegged as an accomplice in the crime and forced on the lam. With his picture on wanted posters around the countryside, Puss has to lie low. Still he vows to return to the village and redeem his sullied reputation—especially in the eyes of his adopted mother and the villagers who lost their money in a bank heist.
Teaming up with the recently released jailbird, Humpty, and the beautiful Kitty Softpaws (voiced by Salma Hayek), Puss acquires three magic beans from the mangy married couple Jack and Jill (voiced by Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris). Then the pals plant the seeds in a secluded desert location in hopes of getting dozens of golden eggs to share with the people of San Ricardo.
Despite Puss’s reputation with the ladies and some implied intimate activity, the sexual content in the film is not overly overt. Conversation concerns are contained to brief bouts of name-calling and some mild rude jokes. However violent exchanges begin as soon as Puss in Boots saunters into a bar in search of a stiff drink of milk. One character is shot during a scuffle. Another is hit over the head with a guitar during a fight competition. Along with the Old West action, many of the characters find themselves in peril from a monstrous bird, nasty outlaws and a comandate (voice by Guillermo del Toro) intent on keeping the peace in his town.
Filmmaker Chris Miller and his animators capture plenty of feline antics that cat lovers will enjoy. (In spite of his suave demeanor, Puss can’t resist playing with the moving light from a flashlight.) Like the Shrek movies, this film, set to lively Spanish tunes, comes with layers of humor for both older children and adults.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Puss In Boots.
Why is Puss in Boots anxious to clear his name? Who does he feel bad about disappointing? Is it possible for a person to redeem themselves for past mistakes?
What role does friendship play in the story? Why is loyalty so important between Humpty and Puss in Boots?