Is there a snake in my boot? No, it’s Puss!: This movie haunts me in the best way

Released late December of 2022, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish seems to have had a much more positive reaction than anticipated. Honestly, I expected it to be mediocre because it’s a new-age animated movie. Can’t expect much these days, since they’re just pumping them out. Instead, I was met with a  sequel that was light-hearted and action-packed, but also artfully tasteful, witty, and exactly what we needed. 

The first film came out in 2011, receiving 86% on Rotten Tomatoes. But why did it take so long for the second one to be made? At first I thought that they were trying to compete with the decade-timeline as Avatar, but in an article by Pop Culture Times, they describe how shortly after the initial 2011 release, the second movie began production in 2014, with a proposed release date in 2018. But due to DreamWorks Animation staff reconstruction, the animation was taken off the table. However, in 2019 it was brought back. 

Now, currently rated 95% on Rotten Tomatoes and making over 423 billion dollars gross worldwide, it makes you think – how can an almost-forgotten sequel be so successful?

First, the animation style is unique and incredibly eye-catching. Unlike the first film which used highly detailed CGI, The Last Wish has moved away from that – bringing artistry back into animation. This seemed to be a major concern within the past decade – that all animations no matter production company were beginning to look the same. In the easiest way, this film brought in animation styles similar to Spider Man: Into the Spider Verse.

You were able to see both the hairs of Puss’s fur but also the brush strokes and comic-like art during more fast-paced scenes. 

In an article by Syfy, they describe how production designer Nate Wragg wanted the film to incorporate more of a “painterly style” to make the film look more like a fairy tale painting – which was fitting due to the use of fairytale characters. 

Second, while keeping the theme of fairy tales for the precious movie, the characters were cleverly thought out to include Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the Dozen Bakers, and Jack Horner. The dialogue was engaging, including jokes for both the parents and children. Unlike the Latin setting the previous movie took place in, this time, the setting was much more fantastical, taking place in an environment changing forest. DreamWorks chose to use a more vibrant color palette that reiterated the “fairy tale painting” theme. 

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is a movie that was surprisingly good, with a pace fast enough to stay engaged, while still allowing for meaningful moments that may have made me tear up. And honestly, it is good to see animation studios edging away from the hyper-realistic CGI that has had its grip on us for so long.