Review: 'The True Story of Puss’N Boots' is truly awful
I guess this is part two in what wasn’t ever intended to be an ongoing series; reviews of junk no furry in their right mind would need a review for, because they’re obviously junk.
But Mystery Science Theater 3000 is still my favorite TV show of all time, so this is what I do with my free time.
Get ready for The True Story of Puss’N Boots, which, as the DVD box sadly points out, does not feature Antonio Banderas, but does present William Shatner in a role so bad, 'Priceline Negotiator' looks downright Shakespearean.
Maybe calling this movie a rip-off is unfair. The story of Puss in Boots is public domain to begin with; besides, the original fairy tale was European, so the French have just as much right to it as anyone else. As a French proverb says, “At night all cats are grey — but in cartoons, they’re ginger.”
Though I obviously haven’t seen Dreamworks’ Puss in Boots yet, I’d bet even money The True Story of Puss’N Boots is actually the straighter adaptation. A miller’s son inherits his father’s cat, who has a thing for fancy footwear. After the miller’s son gives the cat a pair of boots made of “special leather,” the cat apparently gains magic powers, and decides to use them to help the boy win the love of the kingdom’s princess.
The writers of the script, not content to merely rip off Puss in Boots’ character design, decide now would be a good time to rip off Disney’s Aladdin while they’re at it, with William Shatner’s Puss replacing Robin William’s Genie, complete with a scene in which the princess mingles with the commoners in disguise. Heck, there’s even a monkey. Watch Aladdin and the trailer to Puss in Boots, and you’ve watched this movie’s pitch.
Okay, so the plot is a complete rip-off, but if you couldn’t tell that from the DVD cover, well, you might be my grandmother, who supplied me with a veritable army of off model Aladdins and Jungle Books in my younger days. The public domain rip-off, especially, has a proud and noble history.
But most of those Alice in Wonderland knockoffs didn’t feature William Shatner in the title role. Shatner’s career at this point consists entirely of lampooning himself, but this is pretty low. The filmmakers seem proud they got a true Hollywood star; the movie begins with a non-animated Shatner thanking the viewer for watching. Unfortunately, they were so star-struck they forgot to tell him to for the love of God, tone it down.
Shatner spends the entire movie speaking in a high pitched yowl; apparently trying to simulate a cat’s meow if the cat was also talking, and not doing well at it. The other characters aren’t nearly as annoying, though certain voice actors are very odd choices. The queen seems to be drunk the entire movie, and the aforementioned monkey is apparently a Rastafarian.
I will give the filmmakers this much credit, the character designs were decent. Though the title character’s design is obviously meant to fool my grandmother, other characters at least look interesting. They even resisted the urge to turn the original fairy tale’s ogre green.
Animation and dubbing
The animation isn’t good, but it isn’t terrible. A bit stiff compared to large-scale American animated movies, but this is obviously made on a much smaller budget.
The lip-synching isn’t always the best, as the movie was originally in French. The new dialogue mostly fits the old motions, and rarely goes to Godzilla parody levels, though Shatner’s squealing is the worst culprit.
It’s a bad movie, and you shouldn’t watch it unless you just feel you have good MST3K patter and want something a bit furrier to try it out on. Perhaps the only positive is that after you see this movie, you’ll feel a lot less guilty about liking Alpha and Omega.