- 3-D 'Puss in Boots' is the cat's meow
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But the bean plot is just Hitchcock's MacGuffin, driving the plot forward so the characters can pad and pounce their way around.
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For once, the 3-D enhances a colorful and well-thought-out universe, rather than just jumping in for an occasional scare or leap into the seats. And Puss in Boots is just a likable furry little hero. The film never forgets that he's a cat, leading to fun scenes where he's easily distracted by a laser pointer, laps milk delicately from a barroom shot glass, or turns on those giant melty cat eyes familiar to "Shrek" fans. We're already hearing that a litter of sequels could be on the way, and that's just purrfect. Will you take the kids in your life to see "Puss in Boots"?
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3-D 'Puss in Boots' is the cat's meow
Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away. Show more slideshows. Video: Watch the 'Puss in Boots' trailer Open in new window. Quick facts. Photos: A mom's look at recent kid flicks Open in new window loading photos Erik Estrada in a "CHiPs" homage! Sure, it could still use some more character development, and the 3-D is unnecessary, but this is a pleasant summer escape Pixar Share Back to slideshow navigation.
Fork over a little extra for the 3-D if you can, as the universe of soaring, swooping dragons and stomping Vikings is worth a deep-dimensional dive. But there's a serious plot here too, as Hiccup meets a long-lost family member who has a fascinating background and leads his pals against two new villains. One's human, and the other is an Alpha Dragon who can control all the other dragons, including -- perhaps? But the film itself, a new twist on the black-clad villain of "Sleeping Beauty" fame, isn't quite as scary as the previews. There are frightening moments, especially when Maleficent an imposing yet charming Angelina Jolie is stripped of her wings offscreen , but that horrific event is needed -- it's what puts her on her baby princess-cursing path.
We always knew that simply not being invited to a royal christening couldn't have been what set her off. Kindergarteners will have some jump-in-a-parent's-lap moments, but overall, this PG-rated 3-D dazzler is a winner.
No sex, no blood, and way less terror than the similarly PG rated "Pacific Rim," which also featured giant fighting monsters. Some scary stuff though, including the loss of a mom and children temporarily separated from their parents admid scary circumstances, and your littlest ones should wait till they're older to take this one in. Still, if your kid is 10 or up, they've probably enacted worse violence with action figures. And parents will appreciate the gentle treatment of our radioactive hero, as the film respectfully pays homage to the Japanese films of yore, and Godzilla remains the good guy we always knew he was.
Warner Bros. John C. Reilly yes, "Wreck-It Ralph" himself provides the narration. But be warned: Nature is indeed red in tooth and claw here, and littlest kids are likely to be frightened. The cubs are constantly in danger, whether from other bears, starvation, drowning, a hungry wolf, or other woes. And there's enough bloody half-chewed-open salmon here to stock a fishmonger. But older kids will appreciate the storyline and nature scenes, and -- spoiler alert -- there's a happy ending.
Share Back to slideshow navigation. In the sequel, Blu and spouse Jewel Anne Hathaway and their 3 kids live in Rio, but end up reuniting with her family in the Amazon rain forest, with their familiar friends from the first film tagging along. Not quite as lively and fresh as the first time around, but Blu's geeky charm still flies high, and the film is as colorful as Brazilian Carnaval.
The lookalike amphibian breaks out of a Siberian gulag run by the always-great Tina Fey and has no trouble convincing the somewhat dim Muppets he's their fearless leader. This sequel to the Muppet return is fun and sassy, with plenty of jokes parents will appreciate, and lots of lively celeb cameos.
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Thanks to their trusty WABAC machine, they mingle with DaVinci, Marie Antoinette and others, all while fighting off a nasty social worker who doesn't think a dog should have ever adopted a human. Be warned: There are plenty of issues surrounding adoption that parents in all situations may want to discuss after the film.
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Antonio Banderas voices one cool cat in this 'Shrek' spinoff
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