Top positive review
PUSS IN BOOTS 3D  [3D Blu-ray + 2D Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy] [UK Release]
on August 7, 2014
PUSS IN BOOTS 3D  [3D Blu-ray + 2D Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy] [UK Release] You loved him in Shrek, now see how the one and only swashbuckling feline found his fame and a very big pair of boots, in this hilariously funny animated epic.
Lover, fighter and outlaw Puss in Boots [Antonio Banderas] is off on the adventure of his nine lives as he teams up with Kitty Softpaws [Salma Hayek] and Humpty Dumpty [Zach Galifianakis] for the ultimate showdown with the notorious Jack and Jill [Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris]. Here's the true story of The Cat, The Myth and The Legend that is Puss In Boots!
Cast: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis, Amy Sedaris, Billy Bob Thornton, Guillermo del Toro, Constance Marie, Mike Mitchell, Tom McGrath and Chris Miller
Director: Chris Miller
Producers: Joe M. Agular and Lafita Ouaou
Executive Producers: Andrew Adamson and Guillermo del Toro
Screenplay: Brian Lynch, Tom Wheeler and William Davies
Composer: Henry Jackman
Video Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 [Anamorphic]
Audio: English: 7.1 Dolby TrueHD Master Audio, Catalan: 5.1 Dolby Digital, Finish: 5.1 Dolby Digital, Norwegian: 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish: 5.1 Dolby Digital and Swedish: 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Catalan, Danish, Finish, Norwegian, Spanish and Swedish
Running Time: Blu-ray: 90 minutes, DVD: 87 minutes and Digital Copy: 87 minutes
Region: 2 Blu-ray: All Regions and DVD: Region B/2
Number of discs: 3
Studio: DreamWorks Animation SKG
Andrew's Blu-ray Review: The animation film `Puss in Boots' was conceived in the wake of `Shrek 2' phenomenal box office success, one of the ways DreamWorks Animation thought to expand and extend its prosperous flagship franchise. In the years since, the public's love of all things Shrek have dried up, making the fourth and final film's reception less enjoyable.
Probably a result of that, Puss makes no effort to connect this one-off to the series from which it spun. The title character is the same one who prominently featured in all three 'Shrek' sequels: the gallant Latin orange tabby cat, voiced as always by Antonio Banderas in Zorro mode. And Puss' own film makes use of a few other famous fairy tale characters. In genre and tone, though, this represents a departure from the jokey ogre comedies.
`Puss n Boots' takes place before `Shrek 2.' The feline Don Juan is a wanted outlaw in the village of San Ricardo. He is in pursuit of magical beans held by murderous human couple Jack (voiced by Billy Bob Thornton) and Jill (Amy Sedaris). The mission brings Puss face-to-masked face with a mysterious, nimble stranger, who is revealed, after a prolonged dance fight, to be Kitty Softpaws [Salma Hayek], a declawed street-smart grey cat.
Kitty is working in tandem with Puss' estranged friend Humpty Alexander Dumpty [Zach Galifianakis]. Puss objects to reteaming with the egghead and we get the detailed explanation why. Backstory reveals that Puss and Humpty grew up in an orphanage as brothers and were torn apart when their mischievous adventures turned into crime (hence, Puss' fugitive status). Fresh out of jail, Humpty is both apologetic and forgiving, and with a little encouragement, Puss is as well. Thus, the scene is set for the three allies to swipe the glowing beans from Jack and Jill and await a giant beanstalk that will lead them to the riches of a goose that lays golden eggs.
Computer animation has been getting darker in recent years. PIXAR has made intense emotional response part of the family movie going experience and DreamWorks has followed suit in their most recent efforts, which have raised tension and stakes to an increase in dramatic payoff and critical favour. And yet, 'Puss in Boots' is far from a joyless experience. It is willing to follow its impulses, as in an all-out Puss/Kitty bar dance-off, and successfully deliver a quick joke, e.g. Puss' unfailingly funny big-eyed sympathy ploy, without undermining its focused vision and taut structure.
Furthermore, Puss may be its hero's fourth film, but it largely feels like its covering new ground, not adhering to Shrek's tired playbook or other DreamWorks formula in any way. Originality remains highly welcome in a medium that so quickly became ubiquitous and homogenous. Puss may not be the most entertaining animated film of all time, but it is nonetheless distinctive enough to stand out and be appreciated as more than just another page in the always-growing DreamWorks catalogue.
There has already been talk of a 'Puss In Boots' sequel, but I would hope that the studio doesn't feel obligated to make a follow-up with or without actual demand and creativity. No one can dispute that DreamWorks Animation has been improving and that quality suddenly seems to be an important factor in the company's strategy. I only hope that they don't forget the lesson learned on 'Shrek' and avoid taking the similar "too much, too soon" approach.
Blu-ray Video Quality - 'Puss in Boots' razzle-dazzles and charms his way onto Blu-ray with those big adorable eyes and refuses to let go. He isn't quite the perfect match for the very best in the 3D arena, revealing some minor gaffes in his dance moves, but he knows how to amaze at the right moments and puts on a great show nonetheless. In spite of the dark glasses, the 1080p image quality is vivid and saturated in rich, warm colours which leap off the screen. Yellows, oranges and reds are especially dazzling, giving the animation an energetic, tepid appeal. There's some very light banding around the softer, pastel hues in a couple of exterior scenes, but only noticeable when looking for it.
The presentation is extraordinarily bright, with pitch-perfect contrast, bringing out every background object in the far-distance with splendid clarity. Black levels are full-bodied and ample in every scene, providing the image with a great deal of dimension throughout. Many shadowy sequences, which there are plenty of, tend to engulf some of the specifics within the picture. Daylight scenes are, of course, best, exposing every line and feature on the Spanish architecture of the towns and in the rocky landscape of the desert plains. The fine hairs making up the furry coats of the two feline heroes are distinct and move with incredible lifelike simplicity. The stitching around the clothing of various characters is remarkably well-defined with beautifully detailed texture on Puss's hat and boots.
In the 3D realm, the transfer displays gorgeous depth and a terrific breadth of range, generating a convincing sense of size and proportion. Foreground objects show excellent separation from the rest of the picture and appear to move independently of the background. In many sequences, particularly those with lots of action, the image has a great pop-up book effect with several layers that move deep into the screen and nicely create the illusion of three-dimensional space. Unfortunately, it isn't always consistent with some scenes looking flatter than others, often those with dim lighting like the darkly-lit interiors mentioned above. The few 3D gimmicks don't really protrude from the screen with believability, and crosstalk is a regular nuisance around objects in the far distance, especially every time the moon makes an appearance. All in all, the animated spinoff makes for an excellent and enjoyable 3D presentation.
Blu-ray Audio Quality - The audio is the same 5.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack heard on the standard Blu-ray release, and it's a highly entertaining design where the music takes centre stage. Henry Jackman's original score makes terrific use of the sound field, spreading evenly throughout the sound system and marvellously enveloping the listener. Other minor discrete effects meant for ambience try to participate in the background, but are not quite as convincing. The swashbuckling action, however, displays flawless panning movement and directionality into the rears, enhancing the sound field satisfyingly.
In the fronts, the soundstage is expansive and welcoming, creating a wonderful, spacious image that's engaging. The music, again, is most impressive with a superb, crystal-clear mid-range, allowing for each instrument in the orchestra to be perfectly heard without the slightest distortion. The graceful kitty dance-off scene is a true highlight of the lossless mix where viewers can enjoy the pluck of individual strings on the guitar and detect every step of the character's dance moves. Vocal remain intelligible and precise amid the noise and chaos. The low-end is fairly deep and weighty for the music, but explosive action sequences don't seem to have a very persuasive oomph. Nonetheless, the track is a great joy, and it adds plenty of delight to the movie.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras: All the special features found on the 2D Blu-ray release are also shared in this 3D edition.
Puss in Boots: The Three Diablos [1080p] [13:00] In it, Princess Alessandra hires Puss to retrieve the stolen Heart of Fire ruby from The Whisperer. Doing so, he must get information from three adorably mischievous kittens who witnessed the theft. It's a sweet and funny cartoon that is every bit as polished technically as the film itself, even boasting a 7.1 Dolby TrueHD Master Audio sound. This is a truly amazing in 3D experience.
A DreamWorks Fairytale [1080p] It allows you to construct a rarely rhyming rhyme choosing characters, objects, and actions from three options. It's basically like a clean, uncreative Mad Libs whose results, which are read to you, aren't likely to make anyone but the very young laugh.
Puss' Paw Pouncing Challenge [1080p] This is a fun, clever little game in which you move a paw target to catch colourful lights, just like Puss would. The lights increase and move faster with each level, making it more challenging and fun as you progress. It's nothing that you'll want to play for more than a few minutes, but it does best DVD's limited set-top games.
Three deleted Scenes [1080p] [7:27] Are introduced by producer Latifa Ouaou and presented in story reel form with temp track recordings. Most notable is the one featuring a human giant who is shown up in a traditional, heroic fashion.
Kitten to Cat [1080p] [12:00] Cast and crew interviews discuss the evolution of the character over the years and within the franchise. They celebrate the film's hero, reflecting on his appearance in the `Shrek' films, considering how to spin the character off here, pondering what he makes him tick, and looking at the dance choreography done for this film.
Glitter Box Dance Off! [1080p] [5:00] A closer-look at the dance choreography seen in the animation film and teaches you the choreography employed for the film's two dance sequences.
Klepto Kitty [1080p] [3:42] Amusing news footage of a cat that steals and profiles Dusty, a California cat who steals items from neighbours' yards, some of it captured on night vision camera. It doesn't really relate to the movie (though a few clips try to make a connection), but I'm all for cat shorts, when the cat is this compelling.
Kitty Keyboard [1080p] Video showing a kitty keyboardist playing some favourite nursery rhymes and treats you to four cute, creative animated shorts depicting musical interpretations of nursery rhymes "performed by cats."
Fairytale Pop-Up Book [1080p] Interactive feature allowing users to learn more about the characters, watch memorable scenes, hear favourite lines and look at artist drawings pertaining to each and devotes a section to each of the following: Puss in Boots, Kitty Softpaws, Humpty Dumpty, and Jack and Jill. Each gets a montage of "Memorable Moments", a "Favorite Line", a descriptive paragraph, and a light gallery of concept art. Fashioned like a pop-up book, this kid-oriented content is good and nicely presented.
Kitty Strikes Again [1080p] An interactive challenge game where players must find the difference between two pictures and treats you to five split-screen image comparisons in which you've got to find what Kitty Softpaws has stolen (i.e. what is different between the two pics). Each level asks you to find more differences. It's adequately executed and reasonably challenging.
World of DreamWorks Animation and Trailers [1080p] The extras conclude with the long-standard World of DreamWorks Animation section, which serves up ads and promotional music videos for `Megamind' and `Shrek,' `Kung Fu Panda,' `Madagascar' and `How to Train Your Dragon' franchises. It's a good use of otherwise unused disc space, both for the studio and those compelled to sample their other series.
Finally, `Puss in Boots' is yet another good effort from DreamWorks Animation, doing its part to distance the studio from its old reputation as a PIXAR knock-off and reinforce its new one as one of the most reliably entertaining and increasingly sophisticated makers of family films. DreamWorks has yet to have a film reach the same magical heights as most of PIXAR, but their non-sequels are consistently three-star quality or better (and so, for that matter, are some of their sequels). The studio continues to load up their films with fun and substantial bonus features. Puss' combo pack offers plenty of each and truly adds value and enjoyment. Plus, it nearly goes without saying that the animation film itself looks and sounds positively amazing in high definition. The film certainly merits a look and this utterly satisfying presentation is one you're not likely to regret buying and all in all this is to me a fantastic addition to my Blu-ray Collection and again, I cannot praise the 3D presentation enough, as it is totally awesome and the DreamWorks team are also very inventive and watching this brilliant 3D Blu-ray many times, you will see something different every time. But if you want to impress your friends and relations, then I can assure you they will be awe struck in what they view, as it is a totally magical experience and I am so proud to add this to my Blu-ray Collection. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller - Your Ultimate No. 1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom