“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” is the cat’s pajamas.
Or maybe it’s the cat’s meow. However you want to put it, the latest entry into the “Shrek” series is the finest so far. Its dialogue is claw-sharp, its story line fresh and fun, and the animation is glorious.
Antonio Banderas once again voices the heroic kitty whose tale begins with lots of action and humor. Puss has lost none of his bravado over the years … after all, he has nine lives, right?
But hold on there. Just how many lives has Puss used up in his adventures? He has only one left, it turns out. And Death, aka the Big Bad Wolf (Wagner Moura – kids might not recognize his voice from his role in “Narcos,” but grownups certainly might) lurks nearby, waiting for the chance to claim the previously fearless feline once and for all.
He figures he can stay safe if he discontinues his wild ways. He becomes one of a number of felines in the care of a lady has dozens of cats. In her home, Puss meets the goofy dog Perrito (Harvey Guillén) who becomes a sort of Sancho Panza to Puss, although Puss thinks he doesn’t really need a sidekick.
Puss also figures there may be another way out: He needs to get his hands, er, paws on a Wishing Star that might grant him another life or two.
An old acquaintance, Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) appears. She’s also looking for the Wishing Star, as is the not-so-little Jack Horner (John Mulaney.) To add to his challenges, Puss also must avoid a group of criminals familiar to Shrek fans.
The visuals are incredible, with textures and tones that enhance every scene.
Swash and buckle your way to the theater for the latest animated tale from Dreamworks.
3 ½ stars
Rated: PG for coarse humor and themes about death.
Running time: One hour and 40 minutes.
At Cinemark, Davenport; Regal, Moline; and Palms 10, Muscatine.
Watch the trailer here.