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Wednesday, May 16, 2007 01:58 am

Shrek’s long march

The green ogre is like an old dog – no new tricks

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Untitled Document The Shrek film franchise is like a dog. The first movie’s a puppy: cute, cuddly, fresh. The second is a bit clumsy and awkward, and the novelty is wearing off. The third entry? You guessed it: There’s no teaching this green ogre any new tricks. It isn’t so much that Shrek the Third is a bad movie; it’s just that Shrek isn’t anything special anymore. Without question the screenplay, which lists seven different contributors, moves the story of the put-upon ogre and his princess bride along at a breakneck pace. However, much of the territory the film covers is hardly new, and the  banter between the film’s three principals shows signs of becoming labored. As the tale begins, King Harold (voiced by John Cleese) declares on his deathbed that he wants Shrek (Mike Myers) to take over for him. The ogre pleads to be let out of this obligation and is told that his wife, Fiona (Cameron Diaz), has a distant relative, Artie (Justin Timberlake), who can take the reins. Trouble is, Artie’s off at a private school, so Shrek and his crew, including Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) set out to find him and bring him back. Meanwhile, Prince Charming (Rupert Everett) hears of Shrek’s absence and plans a coup with fellow fairytale losers. It’s a good thing Fiona and her Princess Posse are on hand to watch over things. There’s a sense that director Chris Miller knows that Shrek and his cohorts are beginning to overstay their welcome. Shrek the Third stumbles towards a climax that’s anything but special. In the end, I couldn’t help but think that that was just what was intended. Shrek’s journey in this third chapter is far longer than it should be. Let’s hope that it’s his last.
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