I’d like to preface this piece by saying that a lot of people do a lot of weird things, and if the epitome of my weirdness is going to the movies by myself—and if the subscript to that specific weirdness is going alone to see an animated movie as a 25-year-old—then I’d say it’s a perfectly normal activity to do.
There are some movies you want to see whether any of your friends can join you or not. A masterclass of cinema piquing your interest and calling you to walk into a theater by yourself. I didn’t think the second installment of a supporting character from the Shrek franchise would entice me as much as it did. Maybe the algorithm propelled this interest as it filled my timeline with praise and clips for Puss In Boots: The Last Wish, but I’m glad I drank the internet Kool-Aid this time around. I was content walking into this children’s movie alone, without ushering my little cousin to watch or some other excuse to not seem out of place because The Last Wish is amazing and should be watched by all, solo or not.
I’ve already discussed my appreciation for Shrek and the sequels in a separate review, and if anything the notoriety of the titular character tends to overshadow the appeal of Puss In Boots’ solo adventures.
The newest adventure of a tabby cat wearing boots is one lined with an amazing narrative upheld by some of the greatest animation I’ve seen since Into The Spiderverse. Not once does the pace lull, and if it slows it’s for moments of introspection: an evaluation of the tropes and redundancy often perpetuated by characters with multiple movies who have run out of narratives to explore. It resonates more than I believed an animated movie could.
Do I declare it fun for the whole family? Definitely.
Do I want to say that? Not really.
The fun for the whole family moniker reminds me of an advertisement for a shaky amusement park where a divorced parent will take their kids to in the midst of summer. The Last Wish is much more than a way to kill two hours on the weekend, and it shouldn’t be typecast as a children’s movie as animated works so often are. It’s a heartfelt adventure that relates to both the newer audience and the seasoned audience who have been around the block for DreamWorks’ fairytale worlds. As much as it is Puss In Boots’ attempt to stave off the inevitable while realizing the mistakes he’s made throughout his past lives, it’s a venture into nostalgia and how a lack of appreciation for the past can be dangerous and grant you a meeting with death (this is exaggerated a bit, but to have some stakes when I’m reviewing an animated movie this may work.) The influx of amazing new characters like Goldilocks and The Three Bears, Big Jack Horner, and Puss’s counterparts Kitty Softpaws and Perrito help expand a universe fans already loved.
Typing these names out gives me a little bit of shame. I feel as if I’m too old to be dedicating my time to a review about an animated movie even though watching this brought me more joy than the last handful of films I’ve seen. Why do I feel this way?
I’ll cite the unspoken concept that watching a form of media that isn’t live-action past a certain age is taboo. Undoubtedly, your mind begins to call yourself a weird person for watching something an eight-year-old could enjoy.
Why do you want to see another Puss In Boots movie so badly? It’s labeled as a children’s movie, but is that solely because of the animation?
Returning to the argument of seeing a movie alone—also a taboo depending on who you ask—the combination of watching an animated movie as an adult, while also solo, is too much for those uncomfortable in their own skin to handle. It’s easy to explain the masculine urge to not ask for help or to do things independently, but maybe an animated movie is where society draws a line.
Perhaps we are in the midst of a renaissance in animation. Over the past years there have been some incredible films created out of stellar artwork and visual effects, coinciding with storylines that are unique and stray from the narrative arc beat to death by so many animated movies that companies like Disney seem to churn out every month. So, is it easier to understand the appeal many have when something that strays from the mundane, boring animated stories that I’d rather be hit over the head with a baseball bat than sit through come out? Animation appeals to so many because of the nostalgia the form returns the audience to. All of us were kids at one point. All of us consumed some sort of animated show or movie. Perhaps advancements in this form of storytelling, straying from live-action, allows us to propel different styles while also letting a grown man feel safe from ridicule when he sees an animated movie all by his lonesome. The children cackling in the seats around me and myself probably have differing thoughts about this, but it’s safe to say we enjoyed it nonetheless.
I’m asking a lot of questions and don’t feel I’ve narrowed in on very many answers. I’ve lost a lot of the review portion of this review.
The Last Wish is phenomenal. It places the artist above the rest, utilizing a style that’s unique and appealing, combined with a story leading to reminiscence that only someone who has made a litany of mistakes in their life can begin to comprehend. Puss is older. He’s not the spry cat that we initially found in Shrek 2, and we get to see his layers of false bravado shaved away this time around to reveal a Spanish feline who needs to appreciate what he has. Animation has the ability to reveal a meaningful message to the audience. It’s much more than a way to fill the void or keep children entertained and can be enjoyed at various depths of analysis by audiences of all ages.
Hell yeah I went and saw The Last Wish alone. And hell yeah I enjoyed it.
Animation is perfectly normal to consume as an adult and anyone who says different is just a wet blanket of a human whose only wish is to make everyone as miserable as they are. Watch whatever makes you happy, alone or with company.
Of course I ended up seeing The Last Wish again with my girlfriend. So I got the best of both worlds this time around, solo and with good company.