It was obvious from the first moment Puss in Boots (voiced with great bravado by Antonio Banderas) showed up in "Shrek 2" that the feline was a breakout character. The fashionably dressed cat brought great energy as a fighter -- and a lover -- plus provided some of the best comic moments.
Because of the popularity of the character, it was inevitable that Puss would get his own film. The only worry: Would a whole movie about Puss feel like too much?
Fear not. This full-length film on the feline is so action-packed and funny it'll give you cat scratch fever.
Interview with Salma Hayek and Antonio Banderas
"Puss in Boots" tells the story of how the cat became such a legend. It's a tale that goes from orphan to hero to outlaw faster than a cat upchucks a hairball. Puss -- reunited with blood brother Humpty Dumpty (voiced by Zach Galifianakis) and along with a feline femme fatale known as Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) -- goes on a quest to find the goose that laid the golden eggs.
The brilliant voice performance by Banderas makes Puss a star. It's not just hearing macho words coming from such a small character that works -- it's the actor's performance. He sells this script with the enthusiasm of a telemarketer on speed.
Hayek also provides verbal punch. Her first foray into voice work is the cat's meow. In a hard combination to get right, she delivers power while giving the character a softer edge.
It would have been nice if the script -- the work of a committee of five -- had provided a few more jabs at fairy-tale characters. There are a few familiar names -- Jack and Jill, Little Boy Blue, etc. -- but not nearly as many send-ups as the "Shrek" films. But unlike "Shrek," which was a comedy that had some action, this an action film that has some comedy.
"Puss in Boots" has a few minor problems, including how creepy Humpty Dumpty looks. And there are a few scenes -- particularly the dance/fight where Puss and Kitty meet -- that run a little long. The 3-D is good, but it's not strong.
Despite these minor problems, "Puss in Boots" is both adventurous and funny enough to have all ages purring.