Just over one month ago, on December 21, 2022, Dreamworks released the box office’s greatest Christmas present of the year, delivering a sequel to the Shrek spin-off, Puss In Boots: The Last Wish. It was, in fact, the last wish that anyone could have ever imagined, though it was met with an ecstatic and warm welcome from movie fans around the world.
Puss In Boots: The Last Wish may have seemed like just another kids movie, but it was clear from the nearly unanimous decision from crowds and critics— that The Last Wish had proved itself to be among the greatest animated movies of all time. Dreamworks managed to do the impossible: make a vigilante-cat relatable.
**WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD**
Puss In Boots is a simple story—or rather, a dramatized iteration of dozens of simple fairytales—following the adventures of the legendary and heroic ginger cat, Puss, who also wears boots.
After a dangerous and perfectly-animated battle with a giant stone golem, the Spaniard legend is told that he is on his ninth life, and that Puss should consider retirement. The legend remarks that he “laugh[s] in the face of death!”, refusing to give up his passion for adventure and risk. That is until he is met with a mysterious hooded wolf, ready to claim the bounty on the cat’s life.
This encounter with the Wolf marks the beginning of Puss’ character development. As well as the message that Dreamworks is no longer going to baby its viewers as they opt for more mature and intelligent themes.
Though you might never expect to see a trickle of blood in a Shrek movie, the Big Bad Wolf lightly cuts Puss’ forehead, sparking the immediate fear of death in the poor and powerless cat. Too afraid to take risks and go on adventures, he settles in retirement before meeting “Perrito”, a therapy dog with a horrific past.
Of course, what would complete the beginning of this story without “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”, now criminals and fugitives who are seeing a magical item that will grant any wish its beholder desires. Which obviously sparks Puss’ adventurous spirit, as he hopes to wish for all of his nine lives back, so that he no longer has to live in fear of the Wolf.
A premise this insane should not result in a story this amazing; Dreamworks does not care about that rule. The Last Wish became a must-watch for all movie fans. Not simply because of the dog, Perrito, who calms down Puss in his most vulnerable moments, but rather, for the wonderfully crafted story that the studio wishes to tell.
It’s a story of Puss’ struggles with the fear of death, and the trauma that he endured in nearly meeting a grim end to the Wolf. It deals with the imminent and ever-prevalent changes in every person’s life, and it does so in a way that doesn’t belittle a viewer’s intelligence on the subject. It doesn’t sit there and baby the audience, simply because it’s a “kids’ movie.” Instead it takes the initiative to teach kids a valuable lesson, as kid movies were always meant to do.
The Last Wish does an excellent job of portraying the most intense action scenes. Between the final duel of Puss in Boots and the Wolf, the comically sadistic moments with the antagonist “Big Jack Horner” and the cameo “Jiminy Cricket”, the heartbreakingly quiet scene of Puss unable to breathe in a forest after having an anxiety attack, calmed only by Perrito’s touch, and even the funny, yet depressing realization that Puss left his former partner standing on the altar of their wedding, because he wasn’t sure if he could ever give up adventuring.
Every scene, emotion, piece of dialogue, and visually-pleasing aesthetic in this movie is done so spectacularly, and so detailed with passion that it’s nearly impossible to not fall head over heels for The Last Wish.
Puss In Boots: The Last Wish is a love letter to all fans of cinema. It’s a reminder of the greatest parts of filmmaking, and a wake-up call to all of the creators who are simply creating for the paycheck.
It’s a true lighthouse in a dark sea of uninspired cash grabs, shining brightly for all aspiring filmmakers, showcasing what true passion and effort can create if put to good use.
Many fans of the film believe that this is the beginning of a revolutionary era in animation. It’s sure to be a stepping stone in the long and arduous path to progress, but we must never forget the countless other animated films and shows that have done so much to push animation forward.
Puss In Boots: The Last Wish is a must-watch for any fans of the Shrek franchise, fans of cinema in general, or even people who just feel like seeing two cats and a dog go on a crazy adventure together. It’s the biggest hit of our time, and an indefinitely influential film, both on a personal and industrial level.