John Mulaney's Jack Horner Proves There's Room For Two Iconic Villains In 'Puss In Boots: The Last Wish' (2023)

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With Jack Horner, 'Puss in Boots: The Last Wish' proves that there is room in a film for more than one exceptional villain.

John Mulaney's Jack Horner Proves There's Room For Two Iconic Villains In 'Puss In Boots: The Last Wish' (1)

Puss in Boots: The Last Wishis a film that undeniably bursts with joy. The action choreography, electrifying animation, and main character growth flow organically and with lots of energy.Joel Crawfordyjanuary marketofPuss in Boots: The Last Wishalso stands out in the elaborationa rich, thematically brilliant villain in The Wolf/Deathwith a fantastic vocal performance byWagner Mora, spooky sound design (that hiss) and amazing animation. Surprisingly, he's not the film's only fantastic antagonist. "Big" Jack Horner - voiced byJohn Mulaney– is far less nuanced than Lobo, but still fun.Puss in Boots: The Last Wishtake a simple lullaby about a child who sticks his finger in a cake and pulls out a plum and creates a magnificent villain. Like everything else in the movie, "Big" Jack Horner throws as much evil at the wall as he has fun doing it.

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Horner is a classic fairy tale villain in 'Puss in Boots: The Last Wish'

John Mulaney's Jack Horner Proves There's Room For Two Iconic Villains In 'Puss In Boots: The Last Wish' (2)

The film's creative team said in an interview withanimation worldthatPuss in Boots: The Last Wishit is a celebration of fairy tales in its appearance. Jack Horner harks back to one of the funniest parts of classic fairy tales: the bad guy who is pure evil andorthat. He wants to control all magic and fights Gato (Antonio Banderas), Pata Mansa Kitten (Salma Hayek) and the Bear Crime Family (olivia colman,Ray Winstone, youyou are samson) with his collection of magic items, earning money from a thriving cake business he controls with his purple thumb. In its first moments, Horner creates a sense of fear among his bakers who seek approval for his plum pies. He is later enraged when the thieves who stole his wishing star mock him about his childhood as "Little Jack Horner". In revenge, Horner uses his Midas Tactile Gauntlet to turn one of the thieves who stole the wish star map into solid gold. (To be fair, heThatpromise them "their weight in gold" beforehand.) From the startPuss in Boots: The Last Wish, Horner shows his cards as someone who works alone, values ​​power and will use force to maintain his image. Who else has a giant stained glass window of themselves as a knight in glowing purple armor holding a merman while riding a unicorn?

NoPuss in Boots: The Last Wishwe see a flashback to Horner as a child singing his lullaby to sell pie, then having a tantrum as people gape at Pinocchio ("What's so awesome? I've always been a kid?"). Later, the ethical error (Kevin McCann)—the consciousness of Jiminy Cricket-esc that he accidentally triggers—presses Jack about his past. Horner quickly debunks any theories about him having a tragic backstory, as he had “only loving parents and stability and a mansion and a thriving bakery business for me to inherit. Useless crap like that. He hardly appreciates what his family has given him; all he wants is to control all magic "and no one else can".

Horner knows (and loves) he's a villain in 'Puss in Boots: Last Wish'

John Mulaney's Jack Horner Proves There's Room For Two Iconic Villains In 'Puss In Boots: The Last Wish' (3)

Oh, and Jack Horner has no value for life. He threatens to shoot Perrito (Harvey Guillen), a puppy, in the face with a baby unicorn horn and constantly doesn't care that his workers die. Horner watches them die fighting the Pocket Full of Posies and kills some of them when he accidentally shoots them with unicorn horns. And to repeat: he specifically hasbaby unicorn horns. And he just laughs at their deaths, even more excited to see the unicorn horns turn the beings into confetti explosions. He then leaves the remaining bakers to die while holding on to it like a bridge to walk over a gorge, watching most of them fall to their deaths. He laughs again and says, "You can't bake a cake without losing a dozen men." The Ethical Bug ends up calling Jack an "irredeemable monster". Jack agrees, removing the error, and only saves a baker after asking her if she talks a lot.

Horner is fully aware that he is a horrible person and laughs at the kindness.Puss in Boots: The Last Wishhe never tries to bring out the good in Jack, and the movie is all the better for it. So many fairy tales and film adaptations of these stories delight in having an "incurable monster" for the protagonist to fight. Jack Horner is the perfect embodiment of this archetype and is a lot of fun. He shows so much joy in owning these magic items and then wasting them just to get the wishing star. He screams as he forces the phoenix to burn magic flowers instead of wasting time smelling the roses. Horner just acknowledges that he's horrible and wants power, and as a villain, he's fun. Mulaney's delivery helps as she gleefully jumps headlong into this character and scores so many good lines. Her insults, “Little Bo Creep” are fantastic, and the way he can elicit moments of candor while wistfully talking about world domination earns hilarity. And Mulaney can go between screaming like a smug child when he wants to have his way and wallowing in total darkness, criticizing his young self and exclaiming "Little Jack is dead!" Mulaney deserves credit for going all-in on this despicably charming villain.

Horner is the opposite of Puss in 'Puss in Boots: The Last Wish'

John Mulaney's Jack Horner Proves There's Room For Two Iconic Villains In 'Puss In Boots: The Last Wish' (4)

Thematically, Horner has little connection to the main story ofPuss in Boots: The Last Wishon the surface. But there is a tie that unites him to Gato: his pride. The entire movie is an examination of Gato's status as a legend and his efforts to maintain that lone hero status left him in his last life with few allies and no one to connect with. He learns to value other beings and be open with others, including having a panic attack in front of Puppy and finally appreciating Kitty. Now, Horner lacks all of those attributes and doesn't care. He cares little for the consequences of his actions, even if he literally and physically leads those who support him to death. Jack is a warning to the most extreme narcissists who let their egos take over without a filter.

Jack meets his deathat the end of Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, like most fairy tale villains. His arrogance gets in the way and he ignores Cat and Kitty as he falls for Puppy's distraction. Horner's overconfidence is his undoing, but not before he eats his magical Alice in Wonderland-style snacks to grow up and escape his endless nanny bag. Horner serves as an amusing adversary to the team's cat and friendship, and asPuss in Boots: The Last Wishhimself, he harkens back to classic fairy tales for being an engaging and hilarious villain.

Puss in Boots: The Last Wishis playing in theaters now.

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