A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know the heroes of this centuries-old fairy tale are schemers and disguisers, but they do have a sense of fair play. Their goal is to make a better life for themselves while outwitting the foolish and ridding the world of villains. There are two potentially scary, storm-filled scenes in which a villain turns himself into a series of ferocious animals (lion, tiger, bear, vicious dog). But they're only threatening, and there are no attacks or battles. In the movie's first scene, the father of three young men is seen on his death bed and dies off camera. A naked young man is seen from the waist up swimming in a pond.
What's the story?
Based on a late 17th-century tale by Charles Perrault, PUSS IN BOOTS is the story of magic and wily cleverness. A poor miller leaves his beloved cat, Puss, to his youngest son, Corin (Jason Connery). When Corin and Puss set off to make a new life, they happen on the frightening kingdom of The Great Ogre. To the young man's surprise, they're saved when Puss reveals his special power: The cat can turn himself into a human (Christopher Walken) and, if given a set of boots with which to walk upright, a wondrous human at that. Capable of astounding feats of hoodwinking and chicanery, Puss helps Corin disguise himself as the very rich (and totally fictitious) Marquis of Carabas in order to win the hearts of the local king and the beautiful Princess Vera (Carmela Marner). When the two young people fall in love, it's Puss's task to prove that Corin is, indeed, a nobleman and a worthy suitor. The cat's efforts lead them once again into the treacherous world of the ogre where only a Puss-inspired miracle can rescue them all.
Is it any good?
It's not easy to get past the movie's tacky sets, amateurish direction, amazingly unspecial special effects, and substandard musical numbers. But the always outrageous Walken is a sight to behold. He sings (not well); he dances (with a flourish); he mugs and struts his way through this movie, at times even mimicking the feline mannerisms of a cat. His performance, along with some cunning trickery and a sweet ending, helps save an otherwise shoddy production from oblivion.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about honesty. In this movie, the hero is dishonest but causes no harm to anyone but The Great Ogre. Are there degrees of lying, pretending, or fibs (sometimes called "white lies")? When, if ever, is it acceptable to tell less than the whole truth?
This movie's special effects are rather crude and old-fashioned. Do they still make the magic "work" and seem believable enough?
Do you agree with the movie's message that "it is important to be yourself"? What does that mean to you, and is that sometimes a challenge in your life?
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