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Shrek Forever After (A Movie Review)


Featuring the voices of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas, Walt Dohrn, Julie Andrews, Jon Hamm, John Cleese, Craig Robinson, Jane Lynch, Lake Bell, Kathy Griffin, Mary Kay Place, Kristen Schaal, Meredith Vieira, Ryan Seacrest, Cody Cameron, Larry King and Regis Philbin.

Screenplay by Josh Klausner and Darren Lemke.

Directed by Mike Mitchell.

Distributed by Universal Pictures. 93 minutes. Rated PG.

It is almost ten years since the original Shrek became a hit. It is three years from the third film in the series becoming a bit of an expensive bomb. It is at least a good five years since the names of voice stars Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy and Antonio Banderas were considered to be selling points for a movie. After the troll character has been saturated into popular culture with a Broadway musical, TV specials, video games, toys, etc., the question lingers: Is there really a crowd waiting for a fourth and final Shrek movie? In fact, wasn’t the third one also supposed to be the final chapter at the time?

Apparently Dreamworks thinks there is an audience out there, because with their aggressive pricing policies if you opt to pay extra to see Shrek Forever After in both IMAX and 3D, the film is the first wide release to hit the $20.00 mark for a single ticket.

Is it worth the $20.00? Probably not. I saw it in 2D on a normal sized screen and I don’t feel I lost any of the experience – and I had a $10.00 savings. In fact, Shrek Forever After does not even seem to be overly set up for 3D – it seems more like the recent Clash of the Titans or upcoming Last Airbender where 3D effects were added on in the last minute as an excuse to charge extra. In fairness, Shrek Forever After was always planned as a 3D film – it just doesn’t really probably need or warrant the extra dimension.

Okay, I know, some people out there are wondering shouldn’t I be reviewing the movie rather than the cost of the movie? Fair enough point, but Dreamworks opened the door to this by charging a historically high charge for a completely average movie, so I think it is worthy of note.

Now, on to the movie…

Shrek Forever After may as well be called It’s a Wonderful Shrek. The series has always been a hip goof on hoary old fairy tale clichés, so I guess it was only a matter of time before they dragged out the old storyline where the hero wishes that he had never existed – only to find out how differently life would have gone without him.

Ironically, life would have gone on just the same for most of the audience without this movie. The Shrek series is just running out the clock here – occasionally stumbling over some real laughs, but mostly just wildly overexerting and overacting (as if it is possible for a bunch of animated characters to overact).

Ironically, most of the laughs here are courtesy of the bad guy, Rumpelstiltskin – played by Walter Rohrn, who seems to be channeling John Lithgow at his most flamboyant.

Also, in fairness, Mike Myers does some of his best, subtlest and most emotional voice work in this chapter, even though it is at the service of some rather pedestrian writing.

Is Shrek Forever After awful? No, not at all. In fact, it is a little step up from Shrek the Third. Still, the franchise feels tired and creaky. It’s time to go away from the land of Far, Far Away.

Hopefully, this time the filmmakers are being straight about this being the final chapter.

Ken Sharp

Copyright ©2010 All rights reserved. Posted: May 30, 2010.


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