Shrek Forever After Review
After three films of diminishing quality, more than anything, Shrek Forever After begs the obvious question: why? Unfortunately the answer is also all too obvious with the franchise having grossed one billion dollars domestically and oodles more overseas. For what it’s worth, this installment is better than the last but fails to hold a candle to Shrek 2 and pales to the point of apparition when compared to the original.
The characters that populate the “Shrek” universe remain as endearing as ever in principle, but after four movies there is little that can be done to keep them animated, so to speak. That is why it comes as no surprise that the plot of this film has the mythical land of Far, Far Away being turned on its head by the devious Rumplestiltskin, morphing all familiarity into a bizzaro world of sort, and I’ll admit, it does add an iota of charm to the proceedings. Shrek (Mike Myers) finds himself tired of family life with his ogre wife Fiona (Cameron Diaz) and longs for his bachelor days of terrifying townsfolk and signs a contract with "Rumple" as he is less-than-affectionately called. Things don’t turn out nearly as he imagined and Shrek must fulfill a loophole in the contract to turn things back to the way they were.
As for characters, the original gang returns along with Shrek and Fiona. We have the swashbuckling Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas), the chatty Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and Julie Andrews and John Cleese as the Queen and King respectively. There are also a number of celebrity voice cameos including Larry King and Regis Philbin and all add up to a lively time at the movies. In the movie's defense, the lack of freshness never translates to boredom.
The biggest issue with Shrek the Third was the weak attempt to inflate the voice cast, making things more monotonous. DreamWorks has clearly learned from this mistake and in addition to tweaking the familiar characters' personas in this alternate reality, find a decent villain in Rumplestiltskin (Walt Dohrn) along with great comedians the likes of Craig Robinson and Jane Lynch. The animation is as stellar as ever and it never ceases to amaze how life-like a film can look that has a talking donkey at its center.
What makes this descendant of Shrek somewhat distinguishable is that it presents itself more as homage than adhering to the spoof ideology that characterized the others. Shrek Forever After is part Aladdin, part Bedazzled and more than a sprinkle of It’s a Wonderful Life. There are also many more laughs in this film than the previous, and can often be attributed to site gags sprung from the new universe (an obese Puss in Boots provokes more than a few guffaws).
What everyone has to remember, first and foremost, is that the “Shrek” franchise is meant for children and I don’t believe any of the four installments could disappoint an eight-year-old. It is the accompanying adults that need to be wary of the growing tedium in the franchise, but thanks to a plethora of talented actors and a significantly more satisfying storyline, Shrek Forever After makes for an entertaining diversion, even if it’s no longer magical.
Shrek Forever After
Directed by Mike Mitchell
Written by Josh Klausner, Darren Lemke
Starring: (voices) Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas
Other Player Affinity Reviews
"Yuck! Put a nail in the coffin of the Shrek series already.
The fourth -- and better be final -- entry in the ogre-centered DreamWorks franchise is not the least bit funny. Rather than catering to the adult audience and inside humor that made the original a hit, Shrek Forever After
aims for sentimentality but comes across increasingly annoying and boring for having done so. The peripheral characters previously enjoyed such as the Gingerbread Man, Pinocchio, and Puss in Boots play very little role in the fourth movie and don’t bother to be humorous when onscreen anyway. Bury Shrek six feet under and dance upon the grave. Rating: 3/10
Player Affinity Composite Rating: 4.5/10