“When the first Shrek movie came out, it was quite groundbreaking,” Joel Crawford, co-director of Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, informed Polygon in a current meeting. “With CG, it was so impressive [with] the detail that you could feel, and audiences were wowed by that chasing of photorealism. So in order to make, 20-something years later, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish feel like a fairy tale for our time, we said, We need to push it.”
And he and also co-director Januel Mercado did. Unlike the 4 Shrek flicks and also the initial Puss in Boots flick, which all take a typical technique to photorealism in lights and also layout, The Last Wish is much more elegant. The histories are lavish. The lights looks much less photo and also much more like an impressionist paint. The activities are much more overstated and also attractive. It’s a huge separation from what target markets have actually concerned get out of the Shrek franchise business, yet it was a separation the filmmakers aspired to take.
“It’s been over 10 years since the last Puss in Boots, and over 20 years since the first Shrek came out,” Mercado claims. “We’re always talking about just how marvelous animation technology and its visual storytelling has evolved over the years. We felt like there’s been enough time where we could retain the essence of this world and these characters, but we could take full advantage of the new technology and styles [with] which to share these stories. We weren’t about to miss that opportunity.”
Mercado and also Crawford were motivated by computer animated jobs like Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Arcane, and also The Bad Guys, not simply for their use elegant computer animation, but also for their party of the tools that motivated their tales. For Spider-Verse, that was comics. And for The Last Wish, that suggested fanciful pictures.
“I remember growing up with children’s books,” states Mercado. “Especially fairy-tale books and illustrations, and how vivid these spreads would be, and how simple they are for kids, with just simple texts and storytelling. But I remember as a kid spending hours just looking at the drawings and the paintings, and seeing all the details that are in the environments. […] We wanted to do the same with the film medium for Puss in Boots.”
“Our production designer, Nate Wragg, was really the one who helmed how to express our specific story,” clarifies Crawford. “Specifically in this fairy-tale style. And so it was a trial-and-error thing where we look at things and go, Oh, that’s too flat and graphic, or That’s too realistic. And so it’s really a process of finding it.”
The computer animation wasn’t the only aspect Crawford and also Mercado wanted to advance with The Last Wish. After all, back in 2001, Shrek was groundbreaking not simply for the CG, but also for the edgy humor and more mature references that motivated a tonal shift in American animation for the following years approximately. To maintain Puss in Boots pertinent for the 2020s, the filmmakers intended to take another look at that sharp wit, yet likewise broaden the motifs the flick might handle and also inform a much deeper tale.
“With the original Shrek movies, there’s a fun play on what we know as fairy tales and Disney princesses that we love. There’s always that subversive take that’s clever and hilarious to experience,” claims Mercado. “It’s always just like, Oh man, this is fun. I’ve never thought about it this way. It’s cool to turn things on its head. That was one thing we wanted to go back to and continue as one part of the fold. And the other side of it is also a genuine message, and [an] emotional story to tell.”
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is presently readily available as needed and also on DVD and also Blu-ray.