— by RACHEL COYNE —
Despite the fact that “Shrek the Third” was a pretty solid conclusion to the Shrek story, Dreamworks is offering a fourth installment, which they insist is the final chapter. Unless it’s wildly successful, in which you can expect to see “Five Golden Shreks” in theaters next Christmas.
In a short teaser for “Shrek Forever After,” it seems that all is not well in Far Far Away. Shrek is under a curse that turns his happy swamp life upside-down; Fiona is wanted by angry villagers, Donkey has no idea who Shrek is, and Puss is no longer the svelte, debonair cat he once was, instead is favoring a life of blissful (and fat) domesticity. Can Shrek save the day and return everything to how it once was?
The usual band of voice talent returns for “Shrek Forever After,” including Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, and Antonio Banderas. Even Eric Idle as Merlin and Justin Timberlake as Artie are back for more adventure. Rumpelstiltskin is the newest fairy tale character to join the cast, voiced by cartoon writer/animator Walt Dohrn.
All snark aside, I did enjoy the first three “Shrek” movies (the second one being my personal favorite), so I’ll eventually see “Shrek Forever After.” I just wonder how necessary it was to milk four movies out of the premise. The third movie was already clearly struggling to live up to the first two, so is there enough magic left in Dreamworks’ bag of tricks to make this fourth (and final?) chapter worthwhile?
“Shrek Forever After” longs for its happily ever after on May 21.