In a year that is projected to have at least 17 animated features elgible for the Oscars, we have yet to come across any serious contenders. Disney is holding on The Borrowers until February and one heavy contender, The Adventures of Tintin, won’t be seen until Christmas. The Dreamworks team will likely get a nod for Tintin just based on the anticipation and the rather down year in animation. However, Dreamworks may have a sleeper in the midst in Puss In Boots.

For all you Shrek fans that were disappointed with where that franchise went, and believe me I was there with you, there is a real turn back to enjoyment with Puss In Boots. There are no nods to Shrek or any connection to that story other than Puss himself. The story takes you through the legend of who Puss is and where his reputation comes from. Voiced by Antonio Banderas, Puss is a character that you can’t help but giggle at.

Fairytale junkies will enjoy the weaving in of characters like Jack and Jill, Little Boy Blue, Jack and his beanstalk, and especially Humpty Dumpty. Humpty, voiced by Zach Galifianakis, is a character that Puss meets in an orphanage. Humpty is very creative and has a dream of one day finding the magic beans and climbing the beanstalk to steal the golden eggs. Puss decides to join forces with Humpty but they struggle at finding the beans. Humpty ends up going to a path of crime while Puss leans in the other direction. Still friends with Humpty, Puss is tricked into assisting in a bank robbery that ruins their friendship. Humpty learns in prison that Jack and Jill have the beans. Puss is convinced by Humpty’s willingness to make things right and his attraction to Kitty Softpaws, Salma Hayek, to get the beans and continue their dream. The tale unfold with more twist and turns but nothing that makes you tired of the journey. Considering the depth of storytelling, the film moves quickly.

I found this movie to be quite delightful. The story and depth of the characters are what make this film so strong, its what makes you forget you are watching animation. A compelling story of fairytale lore, that is ultimately a story of friendship and trust, right versus wrong. The voice work of Banderas is perfect for the quirkiness of Puss. Puss is exotic, and unique and then suddenly Puss begins chasing lights or drinking milk and you are reminded that he is a cat. The audience was chuckling throughout the entire film. This film is a big step in the right direction after Shrek 4, and they picked the perfect character to spinoff with. This one will be enjoyed by young and old. Better than Rango, Rio, Cars 2, Kung Fu Panda 2, Gnomeo and Juliet, and The Smurfs, Puss In Boots is a serious contender in the Animated Feature Oscar category.