Well our favorite green protagonist is back. Shrek (Mike Myers), Fiona (Cameron Diaz), Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) have returned in the fourth and final installment in the Shrek franchise, “Shrek Forever After” the first to be released in theaters in 3D and IMAX. Shrek has battled dragons, rescued the beautiful princess, saved his in-laws kingdom and started a family. What’s left for an ogre to do?
Well, when we join Shrek again, he and Fiona are busy with family life — doing the average daily routine — but the monotonous activities of everyday life quickly start to wear Shrek thin and he begins to start detesting what he has become, a softy. The villagers who used to run in fear of him now want to get his autograph and hear his “ogre roar,” which makes him long for the days when he used to feel like a “real ogre” and was feared by all. Shrek is mislead into signing a contract by a new smooth-talking villain named Rumpelstiltskin (Walt Dohrn), who, in a few convenient flashbacks, we learn was on the verge of getting the kingdom signed over to him in exchange for releasing Fiona from her curse. Unfortunately for him, Shrek rescued her from the tower and his plans were dashed. Well, he’s been off in his “carriage park” brooding away, hoping for the day when he can get revenge on the ogre that ruined his plans.
In a last ditch effort to reclaim his ogre-hood, Shrek signs a magical contract from the conniving con-artist to get a day of being his old scary self back; the only catch is that he has to give up a day. He makes the even bigger mistake of letting Rumpelstiltskin pick the day he will give up. So Shrek is transported to an alternate Far Far Away and is completely enjoying villagers running in terror. But the wistfulness of his day quickly turns sour when he realizes that his wish has had a more widespread effect then he thought, when he finds wanted posters for Fiona and sees that Far Far Away is now ruled by Rumpelstiltskin, ogres are hunted down and enslaved, Donkey is a pack mule and Puss is a fat and sassy house cat. Now, he has one day to stop Rumpelstiltskin, get Fiona to fall in love with him and get back the life he now realizes was “the good life.”
At this point in time, all of the main characters are well established and you can tell the actors had fun voicing this movie, but the simple charm and humor that adults get and children love seems to be fading away. Although this movie is a huge improvement over the last one, and the graphics and 3D effects are really amazing at certain points, the storyline is just not up to par with the quality of the first and second films.
“Shrek Forever After” still has the pop culture references that you love and the pop/rock songs and musical numbers with which you’re familiar, but the simplicity and “WOW” factor of Shrek seems to be gone. I would say that the biggest problem this movie has is with the writing, the screenplay just isn’t worthy of being the ending of this saga in my opinion. They obviously worked on improving the graphics and animation — the new ogres added many of the laughs — but I just wish they would have spent more time on the storyline and plot.
This is an enjoyable film that had the kids laughing and also the adults at times, but don’t expect the film to have you rolling in the aisles. I can only compare the films structure to “It’s a Wonderful Life” where you don’t know how great you truly have it until it’s gone. So maybe it is a good thing that Shrek and the gang are saying their farewells to the big screen with this final chapter because it seems the writers have ran out of steam and originality. The kids will like this film, the parents however will be less amused. Although 3D nowadays is more of a gimmick, it does add to and enhance certain action scenes. This film is definitely not a rush out and watch opening night kind of film, unless you have small children that are eager to see it; otherwise, wait to see it on DVD.
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