Has a draggy middle section, but lots of fun overall
There is a lot to like about the 'Faerie Tale Theatre' series. Many of their adaptations of various well-known and well-loved fairy tales are charming, clever and sometimes funny, a few even emotionally moving. 'Faerie Tale Theatre' puts its own magical spin (whether playing for laughs or straight) on the best of the episodes while still capturing the essence of the stories, while also giving further enjoyments in seeing talented performers in early roles or in roles that are departures from their usual roles.
While not one of my favourite episodes of 'Faerie Tale Theatre' (talking about the episodes before "Puss in Boots" for a moment, there is a personal preference for the likes of "Hansel and Gretel", "The Boy Who Left Home to Find Out About the Shivers", "The Princess and the Pea", "The Three Little Pigs", "The Snow Queen", "Rumpelstiltskin", "The Pied Piper of Hamelin", "Little Red Riding Hood", "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" and "Cinderella"), "Puss in Boots" is still very enjoyable stuff. A lesser episode for me somewhat, but marginally better than "Pinocchio", "Beauty and the Beast", "The Nightingale" and "Jack and the Beanstalk".
"Puss in Boots" is let down by a middle section that loses momentum to the point of dragging pretty badly, some of what happens feels like padding that goes on for a little too long. For my liking, Brock Peters is not quite sinister enough as the ogre and overdoes the deranged-ness, a character that should intimidate but made to look a little more on the foolish side than the witty side.
Ben Vereen in the title role however is just delightful, his make-up and costume also some of the best on both counts of the whole show. He clearly is having so much fun and uses his voice, body language and expressions very cleverly. Gregory Hines is likeably convincing and shares great chemistry with Vereen, while the Princess of Alfre Woodward radiates with charm.
The production values are well above average as well, very nicely designed and costumed and the photography doesn't look too cheap at all. The music has a sultry and energetic jazziness that fits surprisingly well after fears of it being out of place.
Writing is witty and funny, lending itself very well to humour, while also being remarkably intelligent and cool, and apart from the draggy middle section the story will absorb kids and adults alike. The highlight is a terrific battle of wits climactic pay-off between Puss and the ogre, one of the highlights of the original story.
In summary, lots of fun apart from dragging in the middle, Vereen in particular makes it worth watching and helps make it one of the better adaptations of 'Puss in Boots'. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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