The Original Puss in Boots Was a Slimy Creep
To the enjoyment of children – and embarrassed adults alone at matinees – everywhere, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is the new critically acclaimed, Academy Award-nominated entry in the Shrek franchise, AKA the only thing other than state fairs keeping Smash Mouth afloat at this point.
The Puss in Boots of the Shrek-verse is, of course, voiced by Antonio Banderas and is characterized as a swashbuckling outlaw, a charming cutthroat adventurer who also has the ability to melt people’s hearts by making his eyes go all “Steve Buscemi on copious amounts of amphetamines.”
But despite the widespread popularity of this beloved interpretation of the character, the original version of Puss in Boots … was kind of a big slimeball?
While the original fable about a talking cat dates back to the 1500s, the version in which said feline dons wears a big honkin’ pair of boots was penned by Charles Perrault, the French writer famous for popularizing the (often super-f**ked up) Fairy Tale genre.
In Perrault’s story, the son of a miller disappointingly inherits his dad’s cat, while his other brothers get the mill and “an ass” – as in a donkey, you perverts. Luckily, the cat talks, has an appreciation for fancy footwear, and dedicates himself to bettering the life of his new petulant owner.
Puss in Boots isn’t a daring, sword-wielding rogue in the story – he’s basically a con man who, through orchestrating a series of elaborate deceptions, is able to help his master climb the social ladder. Puss lies to the King, claiming that his owner is a nobleman, and to seal the deal, he has said owner strip naked and pretend to be the victim of a theft to get a free wardrobe of fancy clothes. Trust us: in the real world, such a scheme will only result in a lifetime ban from Nordstrom and a chilly ride in a squad car.
Eventually, with Puss in Boots’ help, this guy’s able to bullshit his way into marrying the King’s daughter. Which is, to some, a “questionable” moral. If you don’t get the inheritance you wanted, let someone else lie and cheat in order to earn you riches, despite your abject incompetence and general uselessness? Obviously, the Shrek films routinely revise and distort these familiar children’s characters – and it’s a good thing they did so here because absolutely no one wants to watch a CGI family movie about a talking cat who’s basically the Rudy Giuliani of the Fairy Tale world.
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