Saturday, December 03, 2011

The cat, the other cat, and the egg

Although Puss spins off from the Shrek franchise, the look and feel of the movie starring the feline in the floppy footwear is very different from that of Far, Far Away. Here, we have the origin backstory of the unlikely partnership between Puss and misfit egghead, Humpty Alexander Dumpty. It's a childhood bonding taking the two through a story of crime, duplicity, betrayal and vengeance -- though not necessarily in that order. And a quest for redemption is in there too, holding the whole narrative together.

Where Puss hails from is realistic: people are people, not fantasy backdrops. It's a place where magic doesn't occur on a regular basis; but of course a talking cat with stylish skillz and a walking egg are bound to bring their own fantastic elements with them wherever they go. Magic beans, giant beanstalk, stolen golden egg-laying golden gosling are all part of this Mother Goose mashup, though the stoic residents of San Ricardo accept it all unquestioningly.

Overall, quite a fun romp, though not quite as laugh-out-loud in humour as Shrek. Despite the logic, the fairy-tale elements feel awkward in this mix, and rather than accepting them as natural, there is more effort taken to explain the connections than it's worth. And in the case of Kitty Softpaws, there is no fantasy precedent at all but a sad morality tale about how inhumane it is to declaw your cat. Nevertheless, the story is just about clever and engaging enough to follow through its twists and turns to the end.

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