Last night I went to watch Shrek Forever After with my family harbouring no expectations whatsoever be it good or bad. I certainly enjoyed Shrek 1 and 2 but the third installment left me wondering who or what screwed up during production cause unlike the first two, the third movie played it straight with the overdone Hollywood clichés and suffered horribly for it. That bad taste it left me with balanced out the high expectations that the first two instilled in me so it didn’t even register in my mind when it came out. I still ended up watching it though and to my surprise, it was actually good.
Basically this movie deals with how Shrek handles his newfound lifestyle of being a family man and how he’s no longer the once feared ogre he was in the past. He feels frustrated by the many downsides that comes with being a family man as well as a celebrity. After he finally reaches his breaking point (which is humorously subverted by the way) he storms off to calm himself down and comes across Rumplestiltskin who offers him a deal where he gets to relive one day from before he rescued Fiona from the tower and this ends up in him having to realize that he had things all wrong as he tries to return things back to normal.
The plot is basically a “Shrek learns a lesson” story and as simplistic and clichéd as that sounds the movie actually pulls it off quite nicely. It’s not as ambitious as any of the previous movies but I’ll chalk that up to the fact that Shrek’s character doesn’t really have much more development to go through and that this one was meant to be an epilogue however unnecessary as it may be. Maybe they wanted to end the franchise with a movie that didn’t make you want to slam your head into the wall but whatever the reason, they went with something much less than what you’d expect of a Shrek movie. Despite the lack of volume, the movie is packed with excellent scenes which included some very well done dance numbers and a couple of touching moments shared between Shrek and Fiona.
The humor and jokes here fit right into the plot and very few jokes fell into the category that only those the maturity of a child could appreciate. There were quite a few references that I didn’t catch though – for example, the songs that Donkey sings as he’s made an ass of himself by the witches in that cart-pulling scene. There was even some dead baby humor thrown in there courtesy of the Gingerbread man. I chuckled at that scene and applaud whoever came up with that and I may have been the only one who did last night as everyone else groaned at what happened to poor old Gingy. The best joke may have been the very clever “Do the roar” bit since it was definitely something that could happen in real life, just not with an ogre.
When all is said and done, Shrek Forever After is somewhat underwhelming compared to all of its previous installments with its measly ONE hour length and the lack of involvement from the normally huge and colorful cast seen previously. It could have done much better with maybe 20 more minutes of footage that could have easily been added in just after ogres dance but I guess the high detailing of the CG work limited that in some way. Oh well, it was a decent movie to end the series so it may just be worth watching if you’re a Shrek fan.
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