An Unexpected Masterpiece: Puss in Boots: The Last Wish Minor Spoiler Warning


Credit: Dreamworks

Puss in Boots pointing his sword at the camera.

It’s hard to say that anyone seriously anticipated that one of if not the best movies of the year would be Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. 

In an age where kids’ movies are criticized for straying away from more serious themes. This feels like a more mature movie, similar to the How to Train Your Dragon series or Megamind. 

The movie’s story is much better than I anticipated it would be going into the theater. In short, it is a movie about a cat, a legend, named Puss in Boots dealing with his fear of death.

Puss, being a cat has 9 lives, but according to him, “Puss in Boots laughs in the face of death.” He wasted his first 8 lives being carless, building up his fame, his legend.

The story follows 4 separate parties trying to steal a map to the Wishing Star, a magic place with the ability to grant one wish. However, the story serves more as a tool for movie-long character development.

Despite the “main” villain being Big Jack Horner, the antagonist that has the most impact on Puss is Death, the physical embodiment of Puss’s fear of losing his last life.

It’s a story about Puss’ narcissism and arrogance being forcibly replaced with friendship and humility in the face of impending death.

Death is so well presented in the movie, he was well set up, whether it be the animation conveying emotion or Death’s infamous whistle.

The whistle that can be heard anytime he is close, and the visible fear on Puss, whenever it is heard, is one of the most effective tools at building anticipation in the viewer I have ever seen.

All of the sound and story elements pair well with what I consider to be the best animation since Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The 2.5D animation, 3D animation with 2D animation drawn on the 3D models, is so well executed

The setting always adapted to the story and Puss’ mood. Towards the end of the movie, it comes as close to a 4th wall break as it can without ruining the feeling. 

Scenes of settings mid-change and chunks of earth floating in mid-air perfectly illustrate the chaotic nature of that point in the movie.

A lot of modern movies avoid developing the main character, this movie is merely following the complex development of Puss and interpreting it in a visually appealing format.