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Shrek Forever After (2010) **

June 6, 2010

Written by:  Josh Klausner and Darren Lemke
Produced by: Teresa Cheng and Gina Shay
Directed by: Mike Mitchell
Rated PG for mild action, some rude humor and brief language
93 min
U.S. Release Date: May 21, 2010

Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Mike Myers has introduced and sustained several movie successful franchises.  All have been heavily of the comedy variety without much wavering.  The “Shrek” series, though the marketing has been focused toward children, contains loads of under-the-radar adult humor and pop culture references to entertain parents and childless adults as well.  Over the last decade, viewers have experienced a trilogy of “Shrek” films and there has been a lot of time to get comfortable with the characters and into the inside jokes between them.  “Shrek: Forever After” hangs more on the side of introspective drama than relentless comedy, with characters re-evaluating whether they’re really satisfied with their current stage in life.  With this new turn, do paying viewers (paying A LOT with 3D up-selling) care enough about these characters to go on a soul searching journey in the land of Far Far Away?

Shrek (Mike Myers) and Fiona (Cameron Diaz), since the trilogy, really have lived happily ever after.  They have a house, three kids and tons of friends that adore them.  Shrek, however, is beginning to get tired with his mundane life.  Everyday is the same: he takes out the garbage, watches the celebrity bus tour go by (which apparently Shrek has become somewhat of a celebrity in Far Far Away), takes care of his kids and spends time with Fiona, Donkey and Puss.  The montage in the opening minutes of the film convey Shrek’s frustration with life fairly well.  Needless to say, despite his life being pretty perfect from an outsider’s persecutive, Shrek wants a life change.

It is just at this point that a small shifty man named Rumpelstiltskin comes along.  We learn a little bit about his back story, but he has quite the vendetta against Shrek.  After overhearing Shrek and Fiona argue about Shrek’s recent frustrations, Rumpelstiltskin has a plan: to offer Shrek a deal he can’t refuse.  As a result of this deal, Shrek wakes in a world where he is still the terrifying ogre of the forest and where his family is no longer around.  With almost immediate regret, Shrek must fight to get his old life back and convince all of his old friends, who no longer remember him, to help him.

First of all, the voice work in this film is the best it’s been in the “Shrek” series.  Maybe it is that the series expanded outside of its original genre, but Mike Myers (Shrek) in particular showed a lot of range in his performance.  All of characters get into meatier dialogue scenes where the vocal talents are forced to bring more dynamics into their roles.  In that aspect, the film is pretty successful.

To answer the question posed in the introduction, it’s a pretty tough sell for viewers of a traditionally somewhat mindless comedy series to then get flipped over and sit through a drama about the same characters.  The elements of a typical “Shrek” film — action, slapstick comedy and pop culture references — are definitely not as present in this installment.

Overall, the fourth “Shrek” movie is a bit of a letdown.  Though there are a few fun scenes here and there, it lacks the entertainment level that the other three possess.  Trying to take a well known series and flip it on its head is a risky move, and it didn’t quite pay off here.  If you must see this, forego the uplift of 3D and watch it in its standard version.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. windi permalink
    June 6, 2010 8:26 pm

    I liked it better than the 2nd movie, that’s for sure. My boys really liked it quite a bit, so I guess it was worth the money.

    Of course, we opted for 3-D *sigh* and I wasn’t terribly impressed. Honestly, I think the only 2 movies in which I’ve enjoyed the 3-D were UP and that one about the blue people..oh, Avatar, that’s the name! (Hehehe)

    Anyhow, I liked that this movie has less of the adult innuendos than the other ones.

    But yeah, 2 stars, I can see that. I’d probably give it 2 1/2. Shrek has run it’s course and it’s time to put it to bed! LOL

    • June 6, 2010 8:34 pm

      If you haven’t seen it, I HIGHLY recommend seeing HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON in 3D!

      • windi permalink
        June 7, 2010 9:06 am

        oh yeah, I did see that one, it was good too! 🙂

  2. Eve permalink
    June 6, 2010 8:26 pm

    I am glad that I read this–we were almost going to see it today–but I had a feeling after the letdown of Shrek 2 that it wasn’t going to be all that great. Anxiously awaiting your take on Toy Story 3–have you seen the trailer? Looks equally disappointing.

    • David J. Fowlie permalink*
      June 6, 2010 9:25 pm

      Equally disappointing? In all of Pixar’s 10 films, I have yet to be disappointed.


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