The Ultimate Guide to Christmas Specials

Christmas TV specials, limited series and movies are bigger than ever these days from now until the New Year, you’ll be able to find some festive yule-tide programming every night of the week. From the traditional viewing of It’s a Wonderful Life, the different versions of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, to baking shows and live music specials, we’ve got them all listed on the new Christmas TV Specials page. (Since not all of the networks list their specials early, this list will be updated throughout the coming weeks, so check back often for new additions!)

Banderas is awesome in the redemptive Puss in Boots

I really liked the first Shrek movie. Same goes for the Shrek 2. Things started wearing a little thin with Shrek the Third and DreamWorks went one movie too far with Shrek Forever After. So when the studio announced that they were creating a spin-off of the franchise, I thought, “What the Shrek?” It could have been worse though. They could have decided to do a movie solely on Gingy.

Puss in Boots is by far my favorite character of the series and apparently I’m not the only one. It has the same look as the Shrek films but a whole different feel. Gone are all the modern pop culture references and music from the 80’s. Also gone is the uncomfortable if not inappropiate humor found in the other flicks. Instead, we are treated to all new original music, fast paced action scenes and a squeaky clean storyline that is a bit deeper than it first appears.

Puss in Boots is its own story with no mention of the green guy, Donkey or the princess. Although similar in name, this Puss isn’t based on the 1697 French fairy tale. At all.

Antionio Banderas once again voices the swashbuckling striped kitty that was raised in an orphanage and earned his boots as a symbol of honor. It is there where he meets the mischievous Humpty Alexander Dumpty (Zach Galifiankis), a genius inventor with big dreams of making it rich. Soon, Humpty has a great fall…from grace and causes trouble for Puss who must try to clear his name. Along the way, he meets his match in Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) a well-respected, de-clawed thief and an excellent dancer at The Glitter Box. The trio track down the notorious Jack and Jill (Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris), wanted outlaws who have stolen some fabled magic beans. The beans in question are said to grow a giant beanstalk that will take them to find a goose that lays golden eggs. Somehow, in this convoluted story, retrieving the golden eggs will set everything straight.

Puss in Boots has a lot more action than you would think for an animated movie and takes full advantage of the 3D technology that is so prevalent in today’s movies. The film starts off good, gets muddled in the middle and then finishes strong. It is best when they focus on cats and their idiosyncrasies. Hayek is a good choice for Softpaws. (If they had cast Penelope Cruz, we wouldn’t be able to understand a thing she said.) The story drags a bit with the orphanage back-story but the scenes with Puss’ adoptive mother are sweet. I wasn’t crazy about the Humpty character and the J and J villains are pretty forgetful too. More could have been down with this pair, but looks like the writers ran out of ideas for them. Still, Puss in Boots is a movie that the whole family can enjoy and has a nice message of redemption…to boot!

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