An egg and a cat is the oddest pairing of friends I could ever imagine; yet Humpty Dumpty and Puss in Boots make the best movie friendship I can recall.
The newly released DreamWorks film is supposed to be a prequel to Shrek 2, where viewers get Puss’s back-story, told like an old western, with plenty of bravado, desert landscapes and loneliness. There are lots of light moments, too, leaving viewers with the feeling that this movie has it all.
“The story of a cat who became a hero” begins with Puss (voiced by Antonio Banderas) as a self-described outlaw. We are taken back to the past when Puss is just a sweet kitten at the San Ricardo Orphanage and the other inhabitants are also childhood nursery rhyme characters like Humpty Dumpty and Little Boy Blue.
A tight bond is forged between Puss and Humpty as they fight off outlaws, Jack and Jill, and set off on an odyssey to search for magic beans (of Jack and the Beanstalk lore). Kitty Soft Paws (voiced by Salma Hayek) joins Puss and Humpty, making the trio a modern and dynamic 3 Musketeers.
I forgot I was rooting for 2 cats and an egg- they are so wonderfully developed and human. Every once in a while the movie creators throw something in to remind us we are indeed watching…cats and an egg. Puss walks into a bar, full of swagger, then grabs a shot of milk to lap. Humpty is full of gumption, until he loses his balance and is helpless until his wobbly self is set straight again.
The soundtrack had me dancing in my seat (who knew I love flamenco music?) The smart, original story line isn’t crude, rude, or too violent or banal for kids and parents to enjoy together, as is often the case with kids’ movies these days. I really loved it!
I would recommend this movie to children aged 7 and over. Yes, there are two intense action scenes, but mainly it’s because some of the themes and story lines would be lost on younger viewers. Among the more serious ones, there are messages concerning topics about justice, revenge, and shame. It wouldn’t be bad to take kids younger than 7 if they are tagging along with older kids in the family- I took my 5 and 3-year-olds along with my 7 and 9-year-olds and they did just fine. It just might be a waste of money to take only younger kids.
For everyone else, Puss in Boots is a gem. It’s likely the best-animated film I’ve seen so far this year.
Julie Samrick is a stay-at-home mom of 4 young kids and the founder of Kid Focused, a site devoted to children and family issues. Get weekly updates by subscribing to the free Kid Focused newsletter. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com