By: Sam Broady
2022 was a good year for movies. With “Top Gun: Maverick,” “The Batman,” “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,” “Bullet Train,” “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” cinema was back. Oddly enough, there was one other film in theaters that nobody asked for, nobody expected it to be good, and nobody hated it. That film is “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish.” Out of all the possibilities for a sequel, “Puss in Boots” turned out to have one and it happened to be amazing. I was blown away in theaters. I have a good memory of it and I look forward to re-watching it because it may be my favorite Dreamworks film. “How to Train Your Dragon” held that title for a long time.
The best thing about this film is by far the animation. In all honesty, it is the best animation I have ever seen. “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is well known for its top notch animation, but while its visuals have the highest highlights, I think this film has better visuals overall. The action looks especially good. I love how the frame rate slows down in all the fight scenes. My favorite scene is the fight between Puss in Boots and Death because the color scheme looks amazing. I adore the use of colors and lighting in this film.
Another thing I love about this movie is the characters. I think it’s really important for a film to prioritize its characters if it wants to be memorable; luckily, that’s what happened. I highly enjoy Puss in Boots in this film. I don’t remember anything about the prequel but it doesn’t matter. Antonio Banderas gives the character such energy and he keeps his vibrant personality among the challenges he faces. I like his reunion with Kitty: she gets the job done. Perrito the dog is a funny addition. He brings love and comfort to the story. Goldilocks and the three bears are a delight to see and I didn’t expect them to be so fun. However, my favorite character is the wolf. His name is Death and he is the coolest character in fiction. Every time he’s on screen, he gives me the creeps.
Surprisingly, the themes are conveyed with more depth than I expected. This film explores the fear of dying, which many can relate to. With Puss in Boots being on one out of nine lives, he is running for his life for the first time. His objective in the story is to make a wish for more lives so he can be the legend everyone knows him as. But, in the end, he realizes one life is enough when he gets to spend it with the people he loves. Or should I say animals. Everyone else cancels their wish as well when they learn to appreciate what they have. Having someone to trust, having a family, having friends; there’s a heartfelt message about sticking with what you have in life and it’s done in a rather subtle manner that complements the characterization of our protagonist.
Extra aspects that I enjoyed are the voice acting, the humor, and the music. I don’t know why Dreamworks went so hard on this film, but I am so glad they did. We need more animated masterpieces like these; films that specialize in the telling of a story and the style of animation rather than serving as a formulaic cash grab that intends to sell merchandise and teach kids nothing. You can feel the passion that went into every frame of this film. I cannot feel anything when watching films produced by Illumination like “Minions”. The difference in quality between Illumination and Dreamworks is unreal. By all means, I think it’s safe to say that “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” is the best animated film of 2022 and I am very thankful for its release.
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