Blu-ray: Highly Recommended
4.5 Stars out of 5
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Release Date: February 24th, 2012
Movie Release Year: 2011
Release Country: United States
COLLAPSE INFO -

Puss in Boots

Review Date February 21st, 2012 by
Overview - A story about the events leading up to the sword fighting cat's meeting with Shrek and his friends.
OVERALL
Highly Recommended
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  • TECH SPECS & RELEASE DETAILS
    Technical Specs: Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Combo Pack
    BD-50
    Video Resolution/Codec: 2.40:1
    Length:90
    Release Country:United States
    Aspect Ratio(s):1080p/AVC MPEG-4
    English Descriptive Audio: English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD
    French 5.1 Dolby Digital
    Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital
    English Audio Description
    Subtitles/Captions: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
    Special Features: 'The Three Diablos' animated short
    World of DreamWorks Animation
    Previews
    Purr-fect Pairing: The Voices Behing the Legend
    Deleted Scenes
    Kitten to Cat
    Glitter Box Dance Off!
    Klepto Kitty
    Kitty Keyboard
    Fairytale Pop-Up Book
    Kitty Strikes Again
    Movie Studio: DreamWorks
    Release Date: February 24th, 2012

Story Review Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

4 Stars out of 5

I'm an odd fan of the movies set in the 'Shrek' universe. The way I see it, the original 'Shrek' is an okay family flick. Making creative use of fairytales, it's good but not great. 'Shrek 2,' however, is absolutely hilarious, the best of the franchise. Following it, 'Shrek the Third' is downright awful and completely unwatchable. And 'Shrek Forever After' is on the same level as the original - nothing to write home about. The franchise heads into dangerous spin-off territory with 'Puss in Boots' – and it honestly couldn’t have been done any better.

From the director of the third 'Shrek' and the collective writers of that film, 'Hop,' 'American Pie 2' and 'The Cape,' how could this happen? How could a spin-off of a nearly-dead franchise be so good? Well, just as Warner Bros. has hired Christopher Nolan to be the overseeing "godfather" to the D.C. comic book movies, DreamWorks has employed Guillermo del Toro to keep a watchful eye on all things animated, even giving him the power to re-author screenplays as needed. I give him credit for both 'Kung Fu Panda 2' and 'Puss in Boots' being such strong sequels/spin-offs.

'Puss in Boots' is an origin story - of sorts - for the legendary outlaw feline. It plays out like an animated spaghetti western set in a world with scattered fairytales. The 'Shrek' movies offered very little insight into Puss' backstory, so the sky is the limit with what they can do from here. When the movie starts, Puss is already a wanted bandit, but doors to understanding his past are opened when he learns what outlaws Jack and Jill have in their possession – magic beans. We don't yet understand why these are important to Puss, all we know is that he needs them to repay an old debt.

When Puss breaks into Jack and Jill's hotel room, he quickly learns that, "holy frijoles, they do exist." While trying to steal them, his cover is blown by another burgling cat dressed in a masked Batman-like suit. What follows has the potential to cause 'Puss in Boots' to come to a screeching halt – the obligatory dance sequence – but it pulls a nice trick out of its hat and turns it into a memorable sequence. Puss follows his new enemy into an underground cat club called the Glitter Box. Just as he's about to engage the mystery cat in swordplay, he learns that it's Dance Fight Night only, and the two bust out into a traditional Spanish dance-off. As lame as it sounds and as lame as you'd expect it to be, the dance-off is hilarious.

After the dance-off, we learn who this mystery cat is and who she's working for. Her name is Kitty Softpaws and she's in cahoots with Humpty Alexander Dumpty, an important figure in Puss' past. Cue the origin-exposing flashback. In it, Puss describes his upbringing at an orphanage where his only friend was Humpty. The two were inseparable. Together, they formed Bean Club – a duo in search of magic beans. But as they grew older, they grew apart and went separate directions. Puss went down the road of honesty and integrity, while Humpty became a bad egg. (Pun intended and, yes, I stole that line from the movie.)

Jealous of the way that the town loved Puss, Humpty set Puss up for a trap that ruined his image and turned him into an instant outlaw, a bad kitty that the town wanted to see caged. Choosing the life of an outlaw on the run over that of a confined prisoner, Puss is now looking to make up for the only wrong he can mend – his friendship with Humpty. With the magic beans, the sky is the limit – literally. Although not a single other character from the 'Shrek' films makes an appearance in 'Puss in Boots,' the film is set in the same universe – with Puss and Humpty heading off on a familiar fairy tale of their own.

Despite not having nearly as many adult innuendos as the 'Shrek' movies, 'Puss in Boots' is still the type of animated kids flick that adults will enjoy just as much as children. It's a stand-alone story of its own; you don't need to have seen a single frame from a 'Shrek' movie to understand and enjoy 'Puss in Boots.' It's short, face-paced and to-the-point. Featuring nine minutes of closing credits, the movie itself is only 81-minutes-long. Filled with comedy, charm and heart, 'Puss in Boots' is the best 'Shrek'-based film since the terrific 'Shrek 2.'

The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats

DreamWorks has given 'Puss in Boots' a Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy combo that arrives in a two-disc blue Elite keepcase that slides vertically into a slick cardboard slipcase with the same artwork. The cover art is great, but it also features the ugly thick blue band on the top with bold block white lettering saying "BLU-RAY + DVD + DIGITAL COPY," the same one that DreamWorks has placed on the covers of their recent releases. Included with the Region A BD-50, the DVD and the download code for the Digital Copy of the film are two coupon's for Chuck E. Cheese's and a flier for the upcoming 'How to Train Your Dragon' Arena Spectacular (which is also featured as a pre-menu preview and has its own "SEE DRAGONS LIVE" button on the main menu that triggers it again). Also playing before the menu is a DreamWorks vanity reel, a trailer for 'Madagascar 3' and a regional disclaimer about the availability of said previews.

  • TECH SPECS & RELEASE DETAILS
    Technical Specs:
    Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Combo Pack
    BD-50
    Video Resolution/Codec:
    2.40:1
    Length:90
    Release Country:United States
    Aspect Ratio(s):
    1080p/AVC MPEG-4
    Audio Formats:
    English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD
    French 5.1 Dolby Digital
    Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital
    English Audio Description
    Subtitles/Captions:
    English, English SDH, French, Spanish
    Special Features:
    'The Three Diablos' animated short
    World of DreamWorks Animation
    Previews
    Purr-fect Pairing: The Voices Behing the Legend
    Deleted Scenes
    Kitten to Cat
    Glitter Box Dance Off!
    Klepto Kitty
    Kitty Keyboard
    Fairytale Pop-Up Book
    Kitty Strikes Again
    Movie Studio: DreamWorks
    Release Date: February 24th, 2012

Video Review

5 Stars out of 5

DreamWorks certainly has their act together when it comes to releasing their animated films on Blu-ray. 'Puss in Boots' is no exception. Its flawless 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer is 100 percent demo-worthy.

Having seen 'Puss in Boots' several times (I have kids), the Blu-ray is easily the best presentation of the film that I have seen yet. When I saw it in theaters, the darkness of the 3D glasses removed many of the exquisite finer details that are now clearly visible. Every other viewing of the movie after that was from an awards screener DVD, which obviously isn't going to be as strong as the Blu-ray. From close-ups to long shots, miniscule details like the individual hairs on Puss' body can always be seen. As Puss cat-lapses his shot glass of milk, tiny beads of milk splash up with clarity. Specks of dust are seen floating through powerful and brilliant rays of light.

All of these details are not only sharp during the bright moments, but the dark as well. When we first meet Kitty Softpaws in her Bat Suit, despite being a dark nighttime shot, we can still see the texture of her tight black leather outfit. The black levels are deep and powerful without removing an ounce of detail.

The image of the 2D Blu-ray carries an insanely natural 3D look. Picture quality of this high grade doesn't come around frequently. Thank heaven for DreamWorks' fine Blu-rays.

Audio Review

5 Stars out of 5

The 7.1 English Dolby TrueHD audio track of 'Puss in Boots' features everything you want and expect from a lossless 7.1 mix – dynamics, imaging and perfectly layered clarity.

Every minute of 'Puss in Boots' not only immerses you in the story of the film, but it actively places you in the middle of the action – no matter where the scenes take place or what's going on. All channels are firing just as much when Puss enters the still tavern as they do when his horse and cart crash on the bridge. When Puss walks in the bar, you can hear the chatter of random conversations taking place around the room, the clinking of glasses and bottles, the explosions of fireworks from outside and his thumping footsteps on the hollow floorboards. With equal dynamics, as Puss and Humpty attempt their high-speed getaway, LFE emits from the sub-woofer as horse-drawn cart careens through the streets. The metal-lined wagon wheels bang around and spark on the bumpy cobblestone. With each bump, the sounds of stolen coins clanking together can be heard. When the cart flips and its contents are thrown through the air, you'll hear coins raining down all around you.

The vocals are always clear and crisp (unlike those in the special feature short 'The Three Diablos'), but the music is definitely a strong high point. When Puss and Kitty have their dance battle in the Glitter Box, the traditional music is played by other cats in the club. Each instruments come in one by one. As you'd expect, they are well balanced and uniquely placed around the room, literally placing you in the center of the music. All sound is aimed at you. Traditional Spanish music has never sounded so good.

Again, hats off to DreamWorks for putting their all into their animated releases and giving us another demo-worthy Blu-ray.

Special Features

4 Stars out of 5

A fun aspect to DreamWorks Animation's Blu-rays is that they include special features for both the adults and the kids. 'Puss in Boots' is no exception.

  • 'Puss in Boots: The Three Diablos' (HD, 13 min.) - As usual, this 'Puss in Boots' short film is included on the Blu-ray, but if you want it on DVD you have to buy the bonus disc DVD release of the film. This quality little short is a fun, heartfelt and hilarious addition to the Puss universe. Taking place right where the movie leaves off, we watch Puss on his first "noble" mission as he tries to tame three devil hench-kittens in order to get to their criminal boss, The Whisperer. Even with it's lesser animation and audio quality, I dare you not to repeatedly laugh out loud.

  • Previews (HD) – Watch the same 'Madagascar 3' trailer and 'How to Train Your Dragon' Arena previews from the pre-menu footage, as well as trailers for 'DreamWorks Dragons: The Television Series,' 'Puss in Boots THQ Game' and 'The Adventures of Tintin.'

  • Purr-fect Pairing: The Voices Behind the Legend (HD, 9 min.) - After watching this feature, you'll come to the conclusion the Antonio Banderas is Puss in Boots and that Puss is Antonio. As he records his segments of dialog, he wields a sword and acts-out the scenes. It's hilarious to watch. Salma Hayek, Billy Bob Thornton, Amy Sedaris and Zach Galifianakis don't do the same, but it's alright because not as much time is dedicated to showing them perform their voice work.

  • Deleted Scenes (HD, 7 min.) - Each of these three deleted segments is introduced by producer Latifa Ouaou. She explains why all three were cut – the story evolved. All three were from an early draft of the film, so they're shown in story boards. Each takes place during the film's climax in which Puss has to fight a giant, which never occurs in the final cut.

  • Kitten to Cat (HD, 12 min.) - The feature takes you through the evolution of the Puss in Boots character. Because his origins and past have been kept shrouded since his very first appearance in 'Shrek 2,' the ideas and possibilities are limitless. Learn how Puss in Boots came about, how much Banderas affected the character and how Puss has become the leading feline that we now know him to be.

  • Glitter Box Dance Off! (HD, 5 min.) - Want to learn the choreography of Puss and Kitty's dance battle? The choreographer and dancers who motion-captured the dance routine to aid the animators walk you through it step by step.

  • Klepto Kitty (HD, 4 min.) - This odd featurette is like the newscast from 'Anchorman' where Will Ferrell shows a water skiing squirrel. This real-life news feature shows a cat who steals things from its neighborhood. Other than cat theft, this has nothing to do with 'Puss in Boots.'

  • Kitty Keyboard (HD) – Another odd featurette, this one is a first-person view of kitty paws, as if they're yours, playing the piano. It's not interactive, just weird. Watch the kitty paws play three songs whose characters are featured in Puss' universe: "3 Blind Mice," "Humpty Dumpty," "Jack and Jill" and "Little Boy Blue."

  • Fairytale Pop-Up Book (HD) – This interactive feature lets you flip through a pop-up book highlighting characters essential to 'Puss in Boots.' Select from Puss, Kitty, Humpty and Jack and Jill and watch videos, listen to quotes, see photo galleries and learn trivia about them.

  • Kitty Strikes Again (HD) – Play a "What's Missing?" or "Find the Differences" game where Kitty has stolen object from screenshots of the film.

  • World of DreamWorks Animation (HD) – Shuffle your way through this multi-layered mess for music videos and advertisements for games and soundtracks of DreamWorks films 'Shrek,' 'How to Train Your Dragon,' 'Kung Fu Panda,' 'Madagascar' and 'Megamind.'

Final Thoughts

After the sour turn that the 'Shrek' franchise took, it was hard to expect much from 'Puss in Boots,' but with Guillermo Del Toro now overseeing all DreamWorks Animation projects, and 'Kung Fu Panda 2' showing us how much he's bringing with him, expect DreamWorks Animation to continue pumping out great films that will give Pixar a run for their money. 'Puss in Boots' offers all of the fun and excitement of the early 'Shrek' films, along with a new set of twists – all wrapped up in a neat little spaghetti western bundle. The Blu-ray features one of the most well-rounded releases I've seen to date. Both the video and audio qualities are perfectly demo-worthy and the disc is chock full of special features and HD exclusives. If you're a fan of great animated movies, then you simply must add 'Puss in Boots' to your collection.

Sale Price 0.71
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3rd Party 14.99
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  • Editors Note

    Portions of this review also appear in our coverage of Dunkirk on Blu-ray. This post features unique Vital Disc Stats, Video, and Final Thoughts sections.

  • TECH SPECS & RELEASE DETAILS
    Technical Specs:
    Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Combo Pack
    BD-50
    Video Resolution/Codec:
    2.40:1
    Length:90
    Release Country:United States
    Aspect Ratio(s):
    1080p/AVC MPEG-4
    Audio Formats:
    English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD
    French 5.1 Dolby Digital
    Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital
    English Audio Description
    Subtitles/Captions:
    English, English SDH, French, Spanish
    Special Features:
    'The Three Diablos' animated short
    World of DreamWorks Animation
    Previews
    Purr-fect Pairing: The Voices Behing the Legend
    Deleted Scenes
    Kitten to Cat
    Glitter Box Dance Off!
    Klepto Kitty
    Kitty Keyboard
    Fairytale Pop-Up Book
    Kitty Strikes Again
    Movie Studio: DreamWorks
    Release Date: February 24th, 2012

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