#1601: Puss ‘n Boots

PUSS ’N BOOTS

SHREK 2 (HASBRO)

“The fairy tale continues as everyone’s favorite ogre faces his greatest challenge of all — the in-laws in Shrek 2.  Shrek and Princess Fiona return from their honeymoon to find an invitation to visit Fiona’s parents, the King and Queen of the Kingdom of Far Far Away.  With Donkey along for the ride, the happy couple ventures off on a whirlwind of new adventures with a host of new fairy tale characters to lampoon along the way.”

Man, remember when the Shrek franchise *wasn’t* totally overplayed?  What a time that was.  Seriously, the summer that Shrek 2 hit theaters, I don’t think any of us could have foreseen the juggernaut on the horizon.  But, in retrospect, perhaps we should have.  The first film, being a somewhat sarcastic twisted fairy tale, was initially aimed at a slightly older audience.  As such, the action figures were produced by the more collector-oriented McFarlane Toys.  For the second go-round, the sights had definitely shifted, and the license was handed to the more kid-friendly Hasbro.  They were actually pretty sensible about it, and gave their best shot at creating a line that was at least somewhat compatible with McFarlane’s stuff, just adding in some of the second film’s newly added characters.  As undoubtedly the breakout hit of the film, Puss ’n Boots was of course amongst those figures released.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Puss ’n Boots was released in the first series of Shrek 2 figures from Hasbro.  He and Dragon were the two shortpacks, at least initially, which did make them hard to find for a bit there.  The figure stands about 3 1/2 inches tall and he has 4 points of articulation.  Yeah, not a lot of mobility there, but to be fair, that was more or less consistent with McFarlane’s offerings.  He’s really only good for the one pose, but it’s a pretty decently chosen one, so that works out alright.  Also, he’s rather on the large side in terms of relative scale with the rest of the figures.  He should really be about half the size.  As far as his sculpt goes, Puss isn’t awful, but he’s definitely a little more anthropomorphized than his animated counterpart.  The “arms” in particular seem to take a much more human shape than they really should have.  His boots also seem a bit downplayed in their scale relative to the rest of the figure.  While they should look clearly oversized, they don’t so much look that way here.  I’d wager this is a symptom of Hasbro having to work from slightly earlier versions of the character model.  Making matters worse, there’s the head, which has been split at the jaw in order to make way for Puss’s “hair ball shooting” action feature.  Unfortunately, I never much found this particular feature to be of much merit, so all it really ends up doing is making his head look kind of weird.  It also causes his torso to be a bit elongated, so as to house the mechanism for the feature.  All-in-all, it was a very odd choice.  Puss included his hat and cape, which were both removable.  My figure lost his cape somewhere along the way.  The hat’s better than you might expect, though.  It’s a little bulky and oversized, but not terribly so, and it manages to say in place in his head pretty securely.  The paint on Puss ’n Boots is actually not awful.  The colors are generally a good match for the animation model, and they even got the proper variations to his fur.  Puss was packed with his sword (seen here), as well as Gingy and the three blind mice (not seen here).  Presumably, all of the various extra characters were there to make up for his slightly diminished size, but, like Puss, the other four are definitely way too large to actually fit with the rest of the figures in the line.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got Puss ’n Boots at a Costco of all places.  My family had a membership there for maybe a year, and we were stopping there in preparation for a road trip we were going on over the summer.  Costco’s toy selection was never much good, but they had like a single case of the Shrek 2 figures, and just so happened to have both of the short packs.  Antonio Banderas’ turn as Puss ’n Boots was my favorite part of the sequel, so I was definitely down for getting him.  And, by nature of when I picked him up, he was one of a small handful of figures that ended up going on the trip with me.  He’s a little worse for wear these days, and perhaps not the greatest figure, but he’s certainly got a bit of a charm about him.

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