Story

Puss in Boots is a prequel to the Shrek movies. Years before meeting Shrek and Donkey, Puss (voice of Antonio Banderas) is a wanted cat and needs to clear his name. He’s also trying to find magic beans that will help him get to a giant’s castle and take the goose that lays golden eggs.

While trying to steal magic beans from the infamous criminals Jack and Jill (voices of Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris), Puss meets another ‘cat burglar’. This is Kitty Softpaws (voice of Salma Hayek), who leads Puss to his former friend Humpty Dumpty (voice of Zach Galifianakis). Humpty caused Puss to be branded as a criminal, and memories of this betrayal make Puss reluctant to trust Humpty, but he eventually agrees to team up. Puss, Kitty and Humpty set off to steal the magic beans, get to the giant’s castle, seize the golden goose and clear Puss’s name.

Themes

Revenge; betrayal; orphans and orphanages

Violence

Puss in Boots contains cartoon-style action violence and scenes showing intense danger throughout. The movie doesn’t have any blood and gore, but it does show the death of a main character. For example:

  • Puss has sword fights with humans. In a tavern, rough-looking men tease Puss. One man pulls the bar stool out from under Puss. Puss throws a knife at a man’s head, narrowly missing him. When another man approaches with a knife in a threatening way, Puss holds his sword to the man’s throat, pinning him to a wall. Several times, Puss has sword fights with soldiers (no-one is hurt).
  • Puss ‘dance-fights’ with a hooded cat. Puss says, ‘Put up your dukes’. The two cats growl and hiss while boxing with each other. Puss picks up a guitar and hits the hooded cat across the head. The cat takes off the hood and turns out to be Softpaws. She scolds Puss for hitting her across the head. Puss protests loudly that he didn’t know she was a woman.
  • Puss and Softpaws run across a rooftop to escape soldiers who are hurling spears. The spears stick into the roof, narrowly missing the pair.
  • Jack and Jill are very large thugs, who stomp on anyone who gets in their way. They ride an armoured wagon fitted with multiple cannons that fire from the sides. In one fight, Jack head-butts Puss, nearly knocking Puss unconscious. Jill holds Puss upside down over a ravine, but Puss escapes. Several times, Jill fires an oversized handgun at people, animals and objects. At the end of the movie, Jack and Jill lie in hospital beds wrapped in plaster casts as if every bone in their bodies has been broken. We don’t see how they were hurt.
  • In a flashback scene, Humpty is bullied and knocked down by some boys in an orphanage. The young Puss comes to Humpty’s rescue, knocking down two of the bullies and then throwing a wooden spoon at them as they run away, knocking them down again. Girls throw rubbish at Humpty.
  • In one scene, a rampaging bull is about to run down an old woman when Puss jumps on to the back of the bull’s head, grabs the bull by its horns and forces it to the ground. This saves the old woman’s life.
  • A giant mother goose is searching for her stolen gosling. She crashes her way through a village, destroying houses and nearly stamping on terrified villagers. The goose chases Puss, Softpaws and Humpty, who are in a wagon, on to a stone bridge that collapses and falls into the ravine hundreds of feet below. After the collapse, the goose is pinned beneath a large section of stone bridge, while Puss, Softpaws and Humpty hang on a rope in mid-air. To let the others be saved, Humpty lets go of the rope and falls to his death.

Content that might disturb children

Under 5

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:

  • After Humpty, Puss and Softpaws plant the magic beans, a blue, swirling cloud comes down from the sky and touches the ground. A giant beanstalk erupts out of the ground and shoots up into the air. It captures the three characters in its leaves and throws them high up into the sky and through the clouds.
  • While in the giant’s castle, Puss, Humpty and Softpaws are chased by an unseen creature called the ‘Great Terror’. We hear the sounds of the large creature growling and crashing through undergrowth. We also see a giant red eye peering through a hole.
  • While escaping the Great Terror, Puss and Softpaws tie a string to the cork of a giant champagne bottle and then pop the cork. The two cats ride the cork while Humpty slides down the rope. Softpaws falls into a river and Puss jumps in to save her. They’re swept into a whirlpool and then ejected from the castle through a fountain of water, using giant leaves as parachutes. 

From 5-8

Children in this age group might also be disturbed by the violent and disturbing scenes mentioned above and by the fact that the movie’s two lead characters are orphans. 

From 8-13

Younger children in this age group might also be disturbed by some scenes in this movie. 

Over 13

Nothing of concern

Sexual references

Puss in Boots contains some sexual references and innuendo. For example:

  • When Puss leaves a female cat he has spent a night with, he says that he’ll never forget her. Then he calls her by the wrong name.
  • Twice Jack tells Jill that he wants to have a baby with her and talks about her biological clock. Jill says no, telling him to practise on their wild piglets.
  • Puss talks about himself as ‘a lover not a fighter’. Puss also is referred to as ‘Mr Frisky’, ‘Two Times’ and ‘Furry Lover’.
  • In one scene Humpty takes off his clothes (off screen) and changes into a golden egg suit. Softpaws looks at Humpty and then says, ‘Humpty you’re not wearing underwear’. Humpty replies, ‘I’m not embarrassed’.
  • Just before Humpty is hit in the groin with a giant golden egg, he shouts, ‘Gonads!’ 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

This movie shows some use of substances. For example:

  • In a bar-room scene, men sit at tables with glasses and a bottle of alcohol in front of them. A man drinks from a bottle several times.
  • A couple of times, we’re told that Puss drinks only pure milk. He’s shown lapping milk from a shot glass.
  • When prison guards search Puss, they find a bottle of catnip in his boot. The scene suggests that the bottle might contain marijuana. 

Nudity and sexual activity

This movie has some nudity and sexual activity. For example:

  • In the opening scene, two discarded wine glasses (with some milk left in the bottom of them) and fish bones lie on the floor. A fluffy female cat lies on a pillow. Puss puts on his sword belt and leaves through the window as the female cat gives a deep sigh.
  • A man takes off his shirt to show Puss the tattoos on his chest. The man starts unbuttoning his pants to show Puss his golden eggs tattoo, but he’s stopped before he pulls down his pants.
  • When Puss goes into a nightclub, he winks and blow kisses at female cats. Some of the cats faint.
  • Puss and Softpaws dance with each other in a sensual way, flirting as they dance. They purr and lean together while Softpaws wraps her tail around Puss’s neck. They kiss behind the cover of a large hat.

Product placement

There is no product placement in the movie. As with the Shrek movies, however, there’s a lot of associated merchandise available. 

Coarse language

Puss in Boots contains some low-level coarse language and put-downs. 

Ideas to discuss with your children

Puss in Boots is an entertaining animated action adventure that targets a wide-ranging audience from seven years and up. Younger children might be scared by the violence and scenes of the heroes in danger.

The main message from this movie is that friendship and love can turn even the worst of bad intentions around.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include being selfless, brave and willing to make up for the things you’ve done wrong.

You could also talk about the way that Humpty treats his friend Puss and the far-reaching real-life consequences that result from lying and manipulating others to get things for yourself. 

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