Time for Shrek to stay away
Fish and certain guests tend to wear out their welcome after three days. Similarly, it is the rare film franchise that does not start to become threadbare after its third entry. The Shrek series certainly did begin to wear a bit thin during Shrek the Third and sadly, Shrek Forever After continues that trend. The characters that were once fresh and irreverent come off here as stale and far too familiar, as do the gags.
Ironically, the film comes to resemble its main character as Shrek (voice by Mike Myers) is dealing with a midlife crisis. Depressed over not having the freedom he once had, he leaves his home, as well as Fiona (Cameron Diaz) and their brood behind, in a tiff one day. He encounters Rumpelstiltskin (Walt Dohm) who smooth-talks him into a pact that will take Shrek back to his glory days, as long as he gives the trickster one day out of his past life. He claims the ogre’s birthday, thus ensuring he was never born and might now claim Fiona’s hand in marriage.
Needless to say, it’s not a very wonderful life and Shrek tries to make things go back to the way they were. This does set up some interesting gags, particularly with Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas), who’s let himself go, and the always-entertaining Donkey (Eddie Murphy), whose singing is a delight. Shrek must also win back Fiona, who now is an Ogre-battling warrior, and dethrone Rumpelstiltskin, who’s in charge.
There are sparks of wit here and there, yet the film never gains a full head of steam. Seeing the alternate Shrek universe does have its delights. There are more than a few surprises as writers Josh Klausner and Darren Lemke have much in store for each of the characters. However, there’s a sense that they’re running on fumes here and that they barely have enough new ideas to get to the finish line. As for the 3-D effects, they really come to life when a flying brigade of witches hit the screen. Needless to say, you’ll be amazed by their broomstick maneuvers. Other than that, this technology adds little to the film, just as this entry adds little to the Shrek franchise.
Contact Chuck Koplinski at firstname.lastname@example.org.