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Previewing 'Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,' plus 5 things to know before the sequel
DreamWorks Animation invited SYFY WIRE to a special preview of the new Puss in Boots movie.
Time to sidle up to a tall, cold glass of milk and press play on the Flamenco music because it's Puss in Boots season with the imminent release of Puss in Boots: The Last Wish in theaters on Dec. 21. Over the weekend, DreamWorks Animation hosted an early showcase for the film at their animation compound in Glendale, California, and SYFY WIRE was there to witness some of the fun.
The event reminded us of the long-history history of the Puss in Boots character, who in this iteration, has been part of the Shrek universe since 2004's Shrek 2. Since it's been quite some time since the last theatrical Puss in Boots movie, we've paired some of the event photos to some helpful factoids about the franchise mythology so you can be ready for the release day of Puss in Boots: The Last Wish.
The Shrek-verse version of the fairy tale character of Puss in Boots first appeared in Shrek 2 voiced by actor Antonio Banderas. A big hit, the character (and the actor) has since returned in various adventures including: Shrek the Third, Shrek the Halls, Shrek Forever After, Scared Shrekless, Puss in Boots, Puss in Boots: The Three Diablos and Shrek's Swamp Stories.
It's been a whopping 11 years since the spin-off theatrical Puss in Boots movie, which came out in 2011. It wasn't until co-directors Joel Crawford and Januel Mercado, and producer Mark Swift (The Croods: A New Age), pitched a Sergio Leone-esque The Good, The Bad and The Ugly take on Puss' precarious 9-lives situation that everyone felt was a worthy next chapter for the heroic tabby. In seeking a star to wish upon which will allow him to reset his lives, Puss is on a quest with dire stakes.
“We have all these different hardened criminals going after the same pot of gold. We wanted to keep it Western in style — with these four different types of people going for the one exact wish that they all felt would change their lives forever. That gave the movie an edge,” Swift says in the press notes.
The classic Puss in Boots fairy tale was an Italian fable, but it was tweaked for the Shrek-verse. In these movies, Puss is Spanish and the franchise has been purposeful in keeping his culture and language part of his story. In 2011's Puss in Boots, actress Salma Hayek joined the series as Kitty Softpaws, a thief and foil to Puss, and she reprises the role in The Last Wish. Harvey Guillén (What We Do in the Shadows) joins the cast in this movie as a tiny, orphan dog, Perrito. And, Brazilian actor Wagner Moura (Shining Girls) plays one of the film's antagonists, The Big Bad Wolf.
The script for Puss in Boots: The Last Wish pulls inspiration from many fairy tale stories and characters as written by the Brothers Grimm. The original Grimms' Fairy Tales are known for being quite dark, and some aspects of that tone come out in this movie as Puss wrestles with finally feeling the weight and fear of having burned through eight of his nine finite lives. The directors urge audiences to keep their eyes open for a ton of "Easter eggs" placed within the story that literally pull from familiar fairy tale mythology, and others that are creative riffs on the tropes found in the stories and films. For example, look for the character "Ethical Bug" (voiced by Story & Edit Supervisor, Kevin McCann), who will look and sound very familiar to anyone who has read or watched an adaptation of Pinocchio.
Something audiences might notice is the visual aesthetics of Puss in Boots: The Last Wish aren't quite the same as past Shrek movies' have been. This change reflects how DreamWorks Animation is moving away from the familiar CG look of their theatrical releases. As they did with The Bad Guys (2022), The Last Wish incorporates both the merging of both 2D and 3D techniques.
“We feel that it’s the equivalent of putting these characters in a painting, in an illustrated fairytale book," Swift says of this approach. "Puss in Boots is a fairytale, so let’s put it in the world it belongs in — a painterly, illustrated style. You see all the vivid, precise detail that we associate with CG animation, but everything fades into brushstrokes in the distance.”
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish hits theaters on Dec. 21, 2022.
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