Practically twenty years after the character broke out in “Shrek 2″ and 11 years since his last solo outing, Puss in Boots — in which Antonio Banderas voiced a rap that uses his eyes as dangerously as his sword — is back on the big screen at Annecy Intl. Animation Film Festival that saw the first 27 minutes of DreamWorks’ upcoming “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” screen in front of a packed auditorium.
Annecy’s crowd cheered before the opening song gave way to the action scene, and their cunning friend was greeted by a pop-band rave – accurately reflecting the energetic musical number taking place on screen.
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Director Joel Crawford said, “At the top of our minds was not just reintroducing Puss to the world, but introducing the world to where the character is now.” diverse. “For us, it was about presenting this larger-than-life fictional character, in a different way than before.”
“You can imagine he’s the world’s first celebrity,” adds producer Mark Swift. “We’ve compared him across all ages to Mick Jagger who lives off the beaten track, loves attention, and has a healthy psyche too. When we were talking about this opening sequence, it was like, OK, ‘What’s the rock star version of Puss in Boots’ re-introduction?”
As we watch our hero outrun the aristocrat’s estate, he leads the peasants in chorus asking, “Who’s your favorite brave heeeeeero?” Before taking the time to fight a heavy giant threatening the city, we find the guard cat on top of the world – but those high spirits don’t last. How can they, when that opening brawl ends cost Boss one of his nine lives? To make matters worse, life was number eight.
“There are darker undertones in this,” Crawford explains. Puss returns to the last of his nine lives. He grapples with his own death, his fear of death is the motor that drives the film, and Grimm’s Fairy Tales were a huge inspiration. [on that front]. Indeed, one seldom hears the phrase ‘Death comes to us all’ uttered in such an all-ages movie, nor does one hear it uttered in reference to the evil Big Bad Wolf reimagined as the Grim Reaper, clad in a dark cloak. And delivers a pair of machetes.But then “The Last Wish” makes a slightly different proposition than what came before.
“Being in this chain for 20 years gives us license to evolve and change a little,” Swift says. “We deal with this kind of deeper subject matter, very scary subjects, and one of the things that gives us a little license to do that is the fact that we took this movie out of the realistic look.”
“[When ‘Shrek’ came out in 2001] CG animation was really in its infancy at the feature level,” Swift continues. “There were limitations to the tools, and there was also a tendency for more realism, and a move away from 2D movies at the time. Now the tools are better. We don’t chase that realism as much, and that gives us a chance for more artistic fun. Because this movie isn’t very realistic, we can touch on some of those tough topics without feeling as much in your face.”
While the character and production designs reimagines Puss and his surroundings with shades of classic slightly more story-driven, the action scenes present – for lack of better terminology – a more elegant and cartoonish look. As Puss battles a burdened monster that looks like he’s drawn by hand, animations drop to 12 frames per second, and detailed backgrounds make way for colorful cards.
“From a technology perspective, we really found such a unique look,” Crawford says. “There is a tangible feeling, you see the paint and the brush strokes… [Because] We wanted to give it a more graphic style, as if you were reading an old-fashioned book with colorful illustrations, to make you feel like you’re in a fairy tale world.”
The film moves at a fast pace, with the film’s opening act building up the main character before knocking him down, and once Puss swings horribly off the chandelier, he puts himself into bitter retirement after losing his life to a rock giant and his trusty sword to the Big Bad Wolf (voiced by Wagner Moura).
Burying his hat and boots, Puss seeks refuge in a cat sanctuary where – humiliation from all insults – he grows a beard, walks on all fours, and accepts a new name: Pickles.
“It’s as if Mick Jagger has lost his voice,” Swift says. “What would this story be where he has to figure out who I am without all the things people value in me?” [And] Let’s be honest: beards are silly.”
For all of the darker touches to the challenge, the artistic groups describe “The Last Wish” as a “Spaghetti Western from a fairytale” that quickly puts the humble cat back on the road. As he sets out to find a shooting star who can bring him back to his nine lives, Boss will meet a dog who pretends to be a Peruvian cat (Harvey Gillen), as well as bounty-hunting Goldilocks (Florence Beau). ) and her three buddies (voiced by Olivia Colman, Samson Caugh and Ray Winston).
Not shown in Annecy, the second and third cast will also see the return of Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) and new villain Big Jack Horner, with the voice of John Mulaney.
From the festival stage, the filmmakers drew comparisons to “The Good, the Unhealthy, and the Ugly”, explaining that Sergio Leone’s visual and narrative sense was a major inspiration for “Puss in Boots: The Final Want” – a movie found in At the End of the Day, also the story of the outlaws who They circle each other in search of the same amount of gold.
“They pursue this final fairy prize, as a result of there is just one want that may be granted if you attain this wishing star,” says Swift. “There’s plenty of momentum as a result of everybody appears like they should have that want, which actually results in an ideal form of motion journey.”
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