It’s ‘ogre and out’ for Shrek and the gang in this final chapter…
Every three years since 2001 a movie has been released that furthers the story of everyone’s favourite ogre, Shrek. While the first film could have stood alone, the box-office easily opened up the possibility for a sequel, and when Shrek 2 went on to become the third highest grossing domestic film of all time (it has now been knocked to fifth) the studios looked to continue the franchise. Shrek the Third came out to mixed reactions, though still climbed high on the box-office charts opening the door for what the studios are calling “The Final Chapter” in the series, Shrek Forever After.
Having watched the previous Shrek films in the week leading into this one, I better saw the connection the films had, intertwining small pieces of the previous installment in order to move the story forward somewhat in the next. It worked well, and for the most part the fourth and ‘final’ installment does bring everything full circle, and gives as much closure to a story as one would need.
This time around we find Shrek (Mike Myers) living his daily life at the swamp with his wife, Fiona (Cameron Diaz), and their three kids. Before long Donkey (Eddie Murphy) arrives, along with his dragon wife, their kids, and Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas.) After a wonderful day together, Fiona sees a shooting star and wishes every day could be like that one. This scene is followed by a montage of the exact same day happening over and over in the exact same fashion, which eventually drives Shrek to the edge of insanity. With the townsfolk now seeing him as a celebrity, asking for autographs and photo ops, Shrek feels a sense of nostalgia for the days when they ran in fear of his bellowing roar, and the simple fact that he was an ogre.
Unhappy with his current lot in life, Shrek makes a deal with the evil Rumpelstiltskin (Walt Dohrn), who coincidentally has been down on his luck since Shrek rescued Fiona in the original film. Seeing this as his chance for happiness, Shrek makes the deal to give one day of his life in order to receive one day with everything how it used to be, with humans fearing him and no kids or wife pestering him. Rumpelstiltskin, always looking to make a deal that works in his favour, seeks his revenge by taking in return the day Shrek was born.
In the alternate universe that Shrek is taken too, he sees what would have happened had he never rescued Fiona. Rumpelstiltskin has taken control of the kingdom of Far, Far Away, and has his witch cronies out hunting down all the remaining ogres; including Fiona who has taken it upon herself to lead a revolution against the mad dwarf. Puss in Boots has lost his edge, and is now just the overweight, pampered house cat of Fiona, and Donkey pulls a carriage for the witch cronies after an ogre is caught. None of the characters have any recollection of Shrek, even though he has memories of them from his time. Shrek soon finds out that in order to set things right, he’ll have to once again get Fiona to fall in love with him, although this time he has both odds, and time working against him.
One of the main highlights of the Shrek series is the wonderful voice acting. It seems that no matter how small the role in each installment, the same voices for each of the characters we’ve grown to love would return. Take John Cleese and Julie Andrews for instance, who are the voices of Fiona’s parents, King Harold and the Queen. The two appear briefly at the start of Shrek Forever After to help introduce Rumpelstiltskin as the new villain of the film in a flashback sequence and after a few lines, aren’t heard again. This may not seem like a big deal, but it helps bring the films together, and make the entire series feel more complete because of it.
Myers, Diaz, Murphy and Banderas all come together once more and the chemistry between them is perfect as usual. The four play off of one another as though they’re all on-screen together, which can be a difficult feat with voice-acting if not done properly. The comedic timing of the film is great, and one of the strong points of this entire series is the amount of originality brought to the humour with each installment; rarely resorting to running gags in order to bring a laugh.
Opening on the highest amount of 3D screens ever, I actually couldn’t find it playing around here in 2D, and had no choice but to put my glasses on and see what the film had to offer. As someone who isn’t a major fan of 3D, I again found myself underwhelmed by the feature; even though the film was made for it from the start. I just don’t see the need to put out the extra money for the film when there’s really no great sensation given by the addition of a third dimension to the product. There were a couple of scenes where Shrek was tossed at the screen, or things along those lines, but there is nothing to be gained by seeing the film in 3D (which is the case, I find, with most 3D films as of late) and if you’re trying to decide, and have the option, I’d say stick with 2D if for no other reason than to save a few dollars.
3D aside though, as I won’t dock the film because of it, Shrek Forever After is a fun, charming, often laugh out loud movie that fans of the series will enjoy. It wraps up the story of Shrek and his family quite nicely, and brings a great sense of closure to the series, allowing it to go out on a high note (quite literally, in fact, as the film ends once again with the singing of Puss in Boots and Donkey during the credits.)
Director: Mike Mitchell Notable Cast: Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas Writer(s): Josh Klaussner & Darren Lemke
Brendan Campbell was here when Inside Pulse Movies began, and he’ll be here when it finishes - in 2012, when a cataclysmic event wipes out the servers, as well as everyone else on the planet other than John Cusack and those close to him. Brendan’s the #1 supporter of Keanu Reeves, a huge fan of popcorn flicks and a firm believer that sheer entertainment can take a film a long way. He currently resides in Canada, where, for reasons stated above, he’s attempting to get closer to John Cusack.