Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

Content Caution

a cat in a hat reading a note - Puss in Boots The Last Wish


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Bob Hoose

Movie Review

[To be read in a thick, smoothly purring Spanish accent.]

Puss in Boots: the hero, the legend.

He is small, but eminently skilled at doing everything from singing songs and blithely entertaining cheering crowds to battling an army with precise rapier slashes. (He is, of course, devilishly handsome as well.)

And in all his many, wonderful adventures, he approaches each challenge fearlessly. Fearlessly, I say. After all, as a cat he has nine lives. If one battle goes slightly awry, no te preocupes, he has another life in reserve.

Until, that is, he does not.

After one battle with a giant ends in Puss being bashed by a huge church bell, our heroic swashbuckling hero comes to realize that he has used up eight of his adventurous lives. One wrong move—a tumble down some stairs after too many cups of cream, a misstep from a high precipice—could be his last! What can he do?

Fortunately, the great Puss in Boots hears of a wishing star that once fell to Earth in the deep of a dark forest. And this magical star holds the power of one …precious … wish.

And so Puss makes it his earnest quest to find this star and regain the lives he has lost. He will face any mighty foe. He will ascend any treacherous mountain. He will forge any raging sea. He will …

Well, maybe this time he’ll be a bit more careful than he usually is. You know, last life and all. Maybe he’ll be a lot more careful. Just in case.

(Are you still heroic if you wrap yourself in bubble wrap?)

Positive Elements

Puss in Boots is obsessed with his fame and heroic legend.  But eventually his adventures teach him that when dealing with that pumped-up legendary version of himself, he squeezed out room for anyone else in his life. And that caused him to lose a great deal.

In like manner, Kitty Softpaws the thief, whom Puss meets up with, believes that trusting someone always leads to betrayal—an idea that Puss reinforced at one time in her past. Eventually, though, she learns that trusting others is both possible and necessary.

Puss meets a small dog named Perro, who plays an important role in both Puss and Kitty’s lives. He’s had his own abandonment torments in the past, but he pushes those things aside and earnestly believes in helping others, as well as being the best friend he can be. Puss initially doesn’t want anything to do with the scruffy chihuahua, But Perro’s giving, healing attitude not only helps calm the panicked Puss at his greatest times of stress, it encourages the cat to believe that even one life can be enough if you live it well.

Eventually, all three characters realize that vying for a magic wish is a fool’s quest. “I got what I wanted,” Kitty notes. “No magic needed.” Puss and Kitty heal their relationship. Along with Perro, they commit to living their lives well in kindness and friendship.

Goldilocks and The Three Bears are a part of the wishing star quest, too. They proclaim that they wish to become a thriving family of top-notch crooks. But with time we discover that, actually, Goldilocks wants nothing more than a family. And like the others, this bear-and-a-girl quartet eventually realizes that the things they all want are right in front of them. All they need do is take the time to see the loving and nurturing relationships that are already a part of their lives. “Everything is just right,” the porridge-tasting and bed-testing fairytale girl ultimately proclaims. 

Big Jack Horner is another character seeking the wishing star, yet another individual in need of some redemption. A Jiminy Cricket-like character attempts to guide this evil bully to a better place. But he never turns a better leaf.

Spiritual Elements

Puss is treated by a small-town doctor, who is also the town’s dentist, barber and witch doctor.

Big Jack Horner is a collector of magical items. We see him use a number of those collectables—unicorn horns, a Midas finger, a crystal ball, a fire-breathing Phoenix, etc.—in pursuit of the wishing star.

That fairytale magic carries over to the wishing star itself and the map that’s used to find the star. The map, for instance, magically changes the surrounding terrain and its challenges depending on who holds it. (When Puss holds it, for example, the landscape becomes a forest of daring pitfalls; when the innocent Perro does so, it becomes a land of colorful hills and flowers.)

We see several churches during the story, including a flashback to one in which a wedding was about to take place.

Sexual Content

There is some romantic tension between Puss and Kitty Softpaws, as you might have expected. It’s even mentioned that the two were about to marry in the past before a betrayal drove them apart. But the tension eventually resolves into a mutual respect, love and dedication to one another.

Violent Content

For a PG-rated kids’ pic, The Last Wish is surprisingly peril-filled and at times fairly violent. Puss in Boots faces off with some huge baddies and fairytale characters (including an unbeatable, red-eyed, wolfy version of Death). And in some thumping/slashing battles, he’s pushed to the point of fearing for his life.

Big Jack Horner and his bag of magic items is also a huge ongoing threat. Horner makes characters disappear in an explosion of confetti, for example, when he shoots them with baby unicorn horns. He thumps others with a large Excalibur sword. And he sets a field of large predator flowers ablaze with the Phoenix’s flames.

Jack also hires a group of killers called the Baker’s Dozen, who wield large axes, swords and hammers. And he’s more than happy to sacrifice the lives of his hired thugs at any turn. One guy, for example, is attacked by a killer flower that sucks all the flesh off his body, leaving nothing but a skeleton behind. At another point, a large group of Jack’s henchmen all fall into a canyon to their death. (It should be noted, however, that none of this deadliness is ever bloody or goopy, but approached in a slapstick, actively cartoony way.)

Elsewhere, fire-arrows are shot, fireworks explode, a giant is felled, and people are pummeled with weapons and blunt objects (such as a piano). A bottle holding a ship manned by tiny Lilliputians is smashed. Someone gets turned to gold. Large Bears slash with sharp claws and snap at characters with huge teeth.

But the most imposing character in the mix is the above-mentioned Death—a character who looms powerfully over Puss and fiercely battles with large, scythe-like blades. Puss is cut twice and heavily bashed about in these conflicts.

Crude or Profane Language

We hear one use of “h—” and one use of “heck” in the dialogue, along with an interrupted use if “bull shhh-” that someone ends with s shushing sound. The words “crap” and “holy frijoles” are used twice. The British crudity “bugger” makes one appearance, and someone is called a “butt nugget.”

At one point Goldilocks and the Three Bears are tossing insults at each other, and Perro wants to join in on “the fun.” So he joyfully lets loose with a string of bleeped words that shocks the bears.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Puss in Boots drinks cream at a bar. And it’s implied that he became inebriated on cream in the past, which led to one of this eight deaths. Puss also gulps coffee amid one battle, and the caffeine leaves him wide-eyed.

Jack eats a magical item that causes him to grow huge.

Other Negative Elements

After realizing that he has no more lives to lose, Puss becomes more and more fearful of death—to the point of panic on a couple occasions. (These moments alone could ratchet up a young watcher’s fear meter.) There are some toilet giggles in the mix, including some smelly cat box humor and a shot of Puss peeing into a toilet with his back to the camera. Puss must escape death through an outhouse toilet and a sewer pipe.

Characters steal a variety of things. A doctor drops leeches down the front of his own shirt.


You don’t often see a sequel surpass the original. But Puss in Boots: The Last Wish leaps over that bar with dynamic aplomb.

His latest animated adventure is large, funny, boisterous and packed with well-defined fairytale characters. Stylized action sequences carry an unexpected sense of speed and impact. The story feels fresh and compelling, and it leads to some sweet lessons about living life well, loving your family, and embracing the precious individuals around you.

But there is one major red flag that families of young and/or sensitive viewers need to consider.

While the filmmakers were pumping up their adventurous tale, they also magnified the peril and the film’s focus on Puss’ panic-stricken fear of death. In fact, the possibility of death lurks at nearly every turn here. One evil character carelessly kills his minions while seeking self-serving power. And another red-eyed fairytale antagonist personifies the intensely hungry, never-wavering character of Death itself.

It’s all designed to guide Puss to upright, life-enriching choices and to teach solid lessons. But the violence and frightening aspects may well rattle younger, sensitive kids who aren’t prepared for the onslaught.

After the credits rolled, I turned to a family with young children sitting next to me and asked what their tykes thought about it. Both little girls (approximately ages 5 and 7) said it was indeed scary … but not too scary, in their opinion. They enjoyed it. I took that as two tiny seals of approval.

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Bob Hoose

After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.