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Blu-ray Review Puss in Boots Blu-Ray Review

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Neil Middlemiss, Feb 24, 2012.

  1. Neil Middlemiss

    Neil Middlemiss Producer
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    Puss in Boots is a surprising spin-off from the lucrative – if not always up to par – Shrek franchise. What is surprising here is how well the Antonio Banderas' voiced Puss anchors this film, giving the world created by Shrek an entirely new energy and fun spectacle that helps create a fun and occasionally clever family film that is far better than you might be expecting. A sequel would not be a surprise given the new set of characters introduced here and the enormous box office success (almost $150MM domestic and $528MM worldwide). As long as the writers and producers don’t saddle Puss down with the pursuits of family (perhaps the likeliest cause of the Shrek franchise’s imagination deflation), any continuing adventures would be most welcome.

     

    Puss in Boots


    Studio: DreamWorks, Paramount Pictures
    Year: 2011
    US Rating: PG-Some Adventure Action and Mild Rude Humor
    Film Length: 90 Minutes
    Video: AVC MPEG-4 1080P High Definition 16X9

    Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
    Audio: English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital and English Audio Description

    Subtitles: English, English SDH, French and Spanish


    Release Date: February 24, 2012

    Review Date: February 24, 2012


    “You have made the cat angry. You do not want to make the cat angry!”


    The Film

    3.5/ 5


    Antonio Banderas was a promising addition to the cast of Shrek 2 as the bravado-laden Puss in Boots, but the prospect of carrying an entire film was never first in mind - to me at least. Since his characters popularity grew through the series, and Cat lovers are a faithful segment of the global population, using this established character (both in literature and in cinema) proved to be a fine springboard into what has the strong potential to become a healthy new branch of the Shrek franchise. And a franchise able to stand on its own.


    The story centers on Puss’ quest to retrieve the famed magic beans from infamous thieves Jack and Jill (played with a nod to Bonnie and Clyde, albeit a more rotund version). A wanted outlaw, Pussis foiled from success by a masked stranger who is seeking the same precious item as he. The masked stranger is revealed to be Kitty Softpaws, a master with the blade hired by Puss’ former friend from the orphanage - but now enemy (Humpty-Dumpty), is a stunning beauty (to Puss at least). Puss discovers that Humpty is behind the spoil and soon, after some soul searching, the three team up to nab the beans, climb the stalk, and save the day – but it’s an uphill climb filled with prison, fugitives, and daring sword fights.


    Puss in Boots is a playful parody of sorts of Zorro, fitting given how well cast Antonio Banderas was as that masked hero in the highly entertaining Mask of Zorro. Henry Jackman’s score, which is highly reminiscent of James Horner’s rousing score for the aforementioned Mask of Zorro, lends further to that parallel. Banderas continues to prove a solid comic timing and is surrounded by a highly capable voice cast which includes Selma Hyak as Kitty, Zack Galifianakas as Humpty Dumpty, Billy Bob Thornton as Jack and Amy Sedaras as Jill.


    Puss in Boots manages to define itself outside of the Shrek films, with a more grandiose flair of fantasy and a narrower scope of the plot. While the Jack and Jill element of the story is welcome, it isn’t used to the best of the voice talent. Zack Galifianakas pulls off a great turn as Humpty Dumpty, swimming between mean and melancholy with his soft voice and runoff timing.  CODE WORD: Boots.  Director Chris Miller should be commended for keeping the pace up and attempting some visual and editing flair though it doesn’t always pay off as tidily as it could have.


    In the end, Puss in Boots might just surprise those out there who, like me, did not expect too terribly much from this spinoff. Banderas delights and Hayek provide vocal prowess and sass enough to energize the sagging universe launched by the big green ogre, Shrek. The film's design is rich in detail and executed with excitement, more than enough to fill the 90 minutes with entertaining turns, flourishes and larks 


    The Video

    5/5


    Dreamworks continues to vastly improve on the techniques and quality found in their animated feature. Director Chris Miller (Shrek the Third) crafts a brisk and visually entertaining film that, while the story doesn’t hold up against the best of their library (How to Train your Dragon currently holds that mantle), the vibrant and warm colors, exquisite details and attention to texture, shadow and brilliant depth are outstanding on this Blu-ray. This 1080p transfer is just wonderful in every way. The vivid colors and details launch off the screen (even in this 2D version). You will see a remarkable level of detail, particularly the highly detailed leather boots and hat that make up the majority of Puss’ outfit.



    The Sound

    4.5/5


    The English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD is a superb example of the power of lossless soundtracks. The rumble of the action and spirited directional effects are distributed cleverly throughout the speakers. Henry Jackman’s fine (if derivative) score, with guest musicians’ Rodrigo y Gabriela (who can also be heard on the Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides soundtrack) absolutely sparkles with the every note audible on those lovely Spanish guitars. The growth of the beanstalk is a highlight of the audio, with rips and creaks crystal clear. Dialogue and cats meows are crisp and clear in the center channel. This is a great audio.



    The Extras

    4/5


    Disc One

    Puss in Boots: The Three Diablos HD: The titular tabby returns in this brand new short as he seeks to return a Princesses stolen Ruby.


    A DreamWorks Fairy Tale HD - Blu-ray exclusive: Create your own Jack and Jill, Humpty-Dumpty or Jack and the Beanstalk rhyme from a list of ‘silly’ words.


    Puss' Paw Pouncing Challenge HD  - Blu-ray exclusive: A game for the young where you must help Puss pounce on the flashlight as it bounces around


    The Animators' Corner: Another excellent Animator’s Corner featuring a plethora of storyboards, interviews and music. These continue to be the stand out features of DreamWorks’s animated films Blu-ray releases.


    Trivia Track (Blu-ray exclusive): Uncover facts as the film plays.


    Previews HD


    Purr-Fect Pairing: The Voices Behind the Legend HD: A brief look at the voice cast behind the film.


    Deleted Scenes HD: Several deleted scenes.


    Kitten to Cat HD: This extra features interviews with the cast and creators as they discuss the growth of the Puss character from his introduction in Shrek to his starring role.


    Glitter Box Dance Off! HD: Learn the dance moves demonstrated in the fun musical number featured in the film.


    Klepto Kitty HD: Meet a ‘real life’ cat burglar.


    Kitty Keyboard: Listen to four songs recreated by the cat’s meow.


    Fairytale Pop-Up Book HD: Enjoy favorite moments, quotes and backstories of the Puss in Boots characters.


    Kitty Strikes Again HD: A game for the young where they can interactively ‘spot the difference’.


    World of DreamWorks Animation HD: Promos and more.


    Disc 2

    DVD version of the film

    Digital Copy of the film.




    Final Thoughts


    Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature – recognition of both its visual creativity, detail and popularity – Puss in Boots was far greater a hit than even DreamWorks could have hoped. Antonio Banderas is excellent voicing the short but quick titular hero and as proven by the weaving of even more storybook tales into humorous adventure, there is more than enough source material from which to draft other twisted and entertaining escapades. I can recommend this film as solid family entertainment with enough winks and nods to parents to make it worth your while.


    Overall (Not an average)

    4/5


    Neil Middlemiss

    Kernersville, NC

     
  2. benbess

    benbess Producer

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    3.5 is about right. It was good enough, but somehow I was expecting more. I hope Rango wins the Oscar for Best Animated Film.
     
  3. Neil Middlemiss

    Neil Middlemiss Producer
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    I agree, Rango has my vote though I would have been rooting for The Adventures of Tintin had it been nominated!

     
  4. Adam Gregorich

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    We have a couple of copies of Puss in Boots on Blu-ray to give away courtesy Dolby. To enter send an email to contest 'at' hometheaterforum.com (use @ in place of 'at') with the code word in the subject line, and your user name, full name and address in the body of the email. The code word can be found hidden in Neil's review above. Winners must have a US or Canadian shipping address, be over 18 and a member of HTF. The winner will be drawn at random from all emails received with the correct code word in the subject line. Contest runs through Friday 3/2/12. Good luck!
     
  5. Todd Erwin

    Todd Erwin Producer
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    Nice review, Neil. My wife and I adored this film when we saw it in the theater in 3D.


    Picked up the 3D pack at Best Buy, since it was a few dollars cheaper than the 2D (with coupon), and have to agree that the A/V quality on the 2D was stunning.


    One thing that was disappointing was that Paramount/DreamWorks apparently have decided to go the Disney route with their 3D Blu-ray releases by placing the 3D version on its own disc, and locking it from being viewed on non-3D equipment. The good news, though, is that content-wise, the 3D pack is not missing any features from the standard Blu-ray release (unlike previous DreamWorks 3D releases, such as Megamind, which was missing the bonus short).


    DreamWorks apparently is putting their Oscar hopes behind this film rather than Kung Fu Panda 2. They've purchased a lot of local radio spots in the Los Angeles market promoting its nomination status.
     
  6. dmiller68

    dmiller68 Supporting Actor

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    I got my 3D copy today. Hopefully, we will get a chance to watch it this weekend.
     
  7. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
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    I watched the 3D version this afternoon.


    First, Neil is right on about the quality of the film: 3.5/5 seems a perfect assessment for its quality. Fun but could have been much more entertaining.


    As for the 3D, after just jumping out of my chair with enthusiasm for Dreamworks' 3D version of Megamind, I was SO looking forward to this Dreamworks title, but the 3D isn't nearly as ambitious here as it was in that earlier film. It works well with the movie, but Megamind beats it hands down for the inventiveness of 3D effects. And there were a couple of places where the "out and down from the letterbox bars" effects from G-Force would have been SO cool for this movie, but they weren't done.
     
  8. Guest

    Was this filmed in 3D or converted?
     
  9. Stephen_J_H

    Stephen_J_H All Things Film Junkie

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    Converted is such a nebulous term when talking about CG animated features. While some have undergone "conversion", often with disastrous results (Hoodwinked Too! I'm looking @ you), the quality releases have gone back to the original data files and simply generated the other eye, since these films are animated in 3D space anyway (like Toy Story 1 & 2 and the upcoming rerelease of Finding Nemo). It appears that Puss in Boots was animated with 3D in mind, as part of Jeffrey Katzenberg's policy that all DreamWorks Animation titles from Monsters vs. Aliens onward would be released in 3D.
     
  10. Guest

    I don't have 3D equipment, so I purchased the 2D version. By the time I am ready to upgrade, there will probably be a new 3D edition released.
     
  11. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    So who won the contest?
     
  12. Adam Gregorich

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    Sorry for not posting earlier, ManW_The Uncool and Aaron Silverman
     

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