Review: “Puss In Boots: The Last Wish”

Dreamwork’s newest flick challenges life’s toughest question; is just one enough?

“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” is available in theatres and can be streamed on ROW8, Vudu, Apple TV, Prime Video, and Redbox. Film poster photo courtesy of Universal Studios.

Emma Sauer, Staff Writer

  When I sat down to watch “Puss In Boots: The Last Wish” at my local theater, I was expecting a cute movie with a cat swinging a rapier around, cracking witty one-liners and maybe, if the writers were feeling really adventurous, that tried and true third act misunderstanding. 

  What I was not expecting was to confront my own mortality. I had a lot of unexpected moments with this film. I mean first off, I wasn’t expecting the movie to even exist. 

  The first “Puss in Boots” movie came out in 2011, made a modest $555 million, and disappeared into the ether, never to be mentioned except as a footnote in Dreamwork’s gigantic catalog of films. My personal rating for the first movie on a scale from “Boss Baby” (the creative equivalent to gum on your shoe) to “Prince of Egypt” (perfect) was somewhere in the middle. It was an okay movie. 

  “The Last Wish” is different. 

  We meet our feline hero at the very last of his nine lives. Puss, a dashing, debonaire vigilante, has squandered the previous eight by throwing himself into danger over and over again. At first, Puss isn’t too concerned over this — after all, he’s a fairytale hero. Defying death and conquering the odds is just another Tuesday for him. However, after a close brush with death, Puss realizes for the first time he isn’t invincible. 

  Lucky for him, he catches word of a fallen star that can grant a wish—any wish, meaning he could get all nine of his lives back if he finds it first. Problem is, he’s not the only one looking, and a mysterious foe will do whatever it takes to claim Puss’s last life before he gets the chance to wish on the star. 

  It’s hard for me to pinpoint one feature in this film that stood out for me the most. Was it the gorgeous, expressive animation? The lovable characters? The humor sharp as Puss’s gatito blade? All of these elements mesh together to create an instant classic, but there is one aspect of this film that transformed it from a funny cat movie into something more poignant. 

  Throughout the film, the main character runs from everything. Stripped bare of his bravado and sense of self, he feels helpless and exposed. He runs from the people he loves, from danger, from death itself. He is haunted by the image of death, petrified of losing his last life. Once you die, you die. No do-overs, not even for fairytale characters. 

  Fear of death is a universal trait. It’s something we all struggle with, and for those with chronic or terminal illnesses, it’s something they are forced to contemplate before their time. What happens when I die? What will I leave behind? What’s the purpose of living? 

  Nobody can answer these questions, but “The Last Wish” comes close. 

  Puss must learn to accept death in order to defeat it. He learns to value the one life he has left and embrace the friends he has instead of turning them away. Life is valuable because we only get one. Cherish it. 

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