WARNING: IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE FILM ‘PUSS IN BOOTS’, DO NOT READ ON UNLESS YOU ARE COMFORTABLE KNOWING SOME OF THE ITS THEMES.
Puss in Boots is a good film. Its funny, as a good children’s film should be, for both adults and children. Its clever, enough to hold its story together and introduce new characters, but not too clever as to lose its way. Its gorgeous, as the Shrek films are, so it is very easy to watch. Its not a great film, but its good. There was something in there that troubled me immensely, however.
The crux of the film is that the eponymous Puss, and his childhood friend Humpty (Dumpty) trying to redeem themselves in the eyes of the town in which they grew up – and repay the bank that Humpty had robbed, tricking Puss into doing the same. They do this by stealing (bear with me, it’s a children’s film) the Goose that Lays the Golden Egg from the top of the beanstalk, of Jack fame.
Which means, at the end of the film, the residents of San Ricardo are all given a golden egg, implicating the intrinsic value of such a commodity, and the townsfolk are brought together in the spirit of forgiveness to their former outlaws (although Puss is still an outlaw, which is where we meet him in Far Far Away in Shrek 2 (?))
That’s what rankled me.
Nice as that gesture is from Puss and Humpty, in giving all the residents of San Ricardo a golden egg, in doing so, they radically diminish the value of the eggs. As a commodity, the value surely comes only from their scarcity, so to ensure all people have them is to ensure that they are less valued by the people who do – i.e., everyone.
The golden egg itself has no purpose except its value (maybe it could be used as a doorstop, or something) so it is simply the value as commodity that is being implied. The only place that value would be retained would be outside the boundaries of San Ricardo. Even then, once a single golden egg had gone to a neighbouring town, its rarity value (within that town) would be lessened, so to ensure that same value, it would need the next egg-owner to visit another town, further afield; and that would continue, forcing people to go further and further away.
Perhaps a better plan would be to train up a town goldsmith, and then the eggs could be melted down and fashioned into something more valuable, but that again would only really have value (though of course it could have function within San Ricardo) outside of the town, which would necessitate somebody leaving town to sell, and probably ensure the efficacy of such products; who would want to buy golden horse-shoes without first testing them out? That would leave the goldsmith trainer (and later the goldsmith himself) as the power monger for as long as the golden eggs lasted.
I would posit, then, that instead of re-uniting and helping the town of San Ricardo, what Puss and Humpty actually did, was put the town on a slow-burning path to destruction, leading to separation and in-fighting and ultimately long-term depression once the golden eggs had run out (for the goose was reclaimed by its mother at the end of the film) because the townsfolk would grow used to the style of living that the golden eggs would afford. I would reckon that is far crueller and more painful than simply robbing the Bank of San Ricardo and inconveniencing them in the short-term as they had early on in the film.
Not a film redemption, then, but damnation.
There is, of course, the possibility that I’m taking the film too seriously.