“When the first Shrek movie came out, it was pretty groundbreaking,” said Joel Crawford, co-director of Puss in Boots: The Last Wishhe told Polygon in a recent interview. “With CG, it was so awesome [with] the detail you could feel, and the audience was captivated by that pursuit of photorealism. So, to do, 20-odd years later, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish It feels like a fairy tale for our time, we said, we have to push it.”
And he and co-director Januel Mercado did it. Unlike the four Shrek movies and the first Puss in Boots movie, which take a standard photorealism approach in lighting and design, the last wish it’s more stylized. The funds are lush. The lighting looks less photographic and more like an impressionist painting. The movements are more exaggerated and showy. It’s a massive departure from what audiences have come to expect from the Shrek franchise, but it was a departure the filmmakers were eager to take.
“It’s been over 10 years since the last Puss in Boots, and over 20 years since the first Shrek came out,” says Mercado. “We are always talking about how wonderful animation technology and its visual storytelling have evolved over the years. We feel like there has been enough time that we were able to retain the essence of this world and these characters, but we were able to take full advantage of the new technology and styles. [with] to share these stories. We weren’t going to miss that opportunity.”
Mercado and Crawford were inspired by animated projects like Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, arcaneand the bad boys, not just for their use of stylized animation, but for their celebration of the media that inspired their stories. for spider-verseThose were comics. And to the last wishthat meant fairy tale illustrations.
“I remember growing up with children’s books,” recalls Mercado. “Especially fairy tale books and illustrations, and how vivid these spreads would be and how simple they are for children, with just simple texts and narrations. But I remember that as a child I spent hours looking at the drawings and paintings, and seeing all the details that are in the environments. […] We wanted to do the same with the film medium to The cat with boots.”
“Our production designer, Nate Wragg, was really the one who directed how to express our specific story,” Crawford explains. “Specifically in this fairy tale style. So, it was a trial and error thing where we look at things and say, Oh, that’s too flat and graphic., either that’s too realistic. And so it’s really a process of finding it.”
Animation wasn’t the only element Crawford and Mercado hoped to evolve with. the last wish. After all, in 2001, Shrek it was groundbreaking not just for the CG, but for the edgy humor and more mature references that inspired a change of tone in American animation for the next decade or so. keep The cat with boots Relevant to the 2020s, the filmmakers wanted to revisit that sharp wit, but also expand the themes the film could deal with and tell a deeper story.
“With the original Shrek movies, there’s a fun romp about what we know as fairy tales and the Disney princesses we love. There’s always that subversive take that’s smart and fun to experiment with,” says Mercado. “It’s always like, Oh man, this is fun. She had never thought of it this way. It’s great to turn things around. That was something we wanted to come back to and continue as part of the fold. And the other side is also a genuine message, and [an] emotional story to tell.”
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish it is currently available on demand and on DVD and Blu-ray.