Shrek Forever After (2010) - Can't Stop the Movies
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Shrek Forever After (2010)

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Andrew INDIFFERENTAfter watching the (hopefully) final Shrek film, Forever After, I must confess that I feel kind of sorry for the cast.  This is keeping things in the perspective that they are making boatloads of money with each new film, but they just seem tired and worn out.  I've never really hated any of the Shrek films but they've been slowly miring in a kind of comedic angst that makes it seem like everyone involved is forced to come up with as many lame pop-culture references as possible.

So, trudging into the dance scenes popular musical hits from more than thirty years ago and chase scenes set to more contemporary tunes, I can report on the quality of the final Shrek film.  Or to be more accurate, I can report on what I think I may remember about the final Shrek film, because the whole effort is so flat that nothing sticks.

Shrek Forever After finds Shrek, Princess Fiona and Donkey (still voiced by Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, and Eddie Murphy) enjoying the rewards of their many battles.  But Shrek is slowly growing unsatisfied with the way life has turned out.  There was a time that he was feared and, in his eyes, respected in a way.  Now he's just a stuffed shirt waiting on his wife and kids every day to greet an always adoring public.

This isn't the way an ogre is supposed to be treated.

This sounds like a pretty sweet life, but Shrek has a bit of a mid-life crisis going on so none of this really makes him happy.  Our plot proper kicks in when Shrek meets Rumpelstiltskin (Walt Dohrn) and, through an accidental use of a wish, Shrek creates an alternate timeline where he never met Donkey.  As a result, Princess Fiona is toppled from the throne by Rumpelstiltskin, the ogres of the land have banded together in a resistance group, and all hope seems lost unless Shrek can find a way to kiss Princess Fiona.

Now, if you're familiar with Dreamworks' track record and with the Shrek franchise overall, I shouldn't need to point heavily at how this fairly tale is going to work out.  The film approaches the story the exact same way as all the other films.  There's a new villain for hire in the Pied Piper, which gives the film multiple reasons to break out into dance numbers.  This didn't quite annoy me since the Pied Piper lends himself to that sort of thing, but it does show how dry the creative well has been for the franchise.

The chase scenes are nothing to force your kids to watch.  There's none of the occasionally witty made for adults double entendre's that used to litter the script.  Then the voice acting approaches a level of engagement and excitement heretofore unreached by the comatose.  Mike Myers has trouble deciding if he's even going to try his Scottish-brogue for Shrek most of the film, Eddie Murphy just sounds tired, and I had to look at the credits closely to see if Cameron Diaz was even still involved.

I was immensely grateful for every second Puss-In-Boots had on-screen.

Worse still, the supporting cast of fairy tale characters is completely sidelined for the ogre resistance army.  This was a horrible mistake, as The Three Blind Mice, Pinnochio, and The Gingerbread Man (plus many others) were at least good for some energy and a possible strong chuckle.  Now we just get a bunch of meat heads talking about war and it's not right at all for the film.

Bare minimum, my favorite Shrek creation, Puss-In-Boots, is spared and gets to lighten up the screen briefly.  I've always been a huge fan of the character because Antonio Banderas has a lot of fun playing with the animated caricature of his typical on-screen persona.  In this "final chapter" we see that the alternate timeline Puss is battling a severe obesity problem but still thinks that he can throw down with the rest of the battle ogres.  That he is actually somewhat capable of doing so in short bursts provides a decent bit of amusement, and Banderas is the only voice actor still committed to his role.

That is all there really is to say about the film.  How you will enjoy the film depends on how much you liked the previous ones.  If you're annoyed by the pop songs and self-referential script, then you'll find it boring and tedious.  But if you're on the other end of the spectrum and have enjoyed the previous films, then you'll just find it boring and somewhat amusing.

This is a boring film from a franchise that has long since lost it's initial spark.  I can only hope that the filmmakers will keep their word and make this the final installment, but the $700 million that the film brought in may say otherwise.  Ah well, at least I can look forward to more Puss-In-Boots if that ends up being the case.  But please keep "Shake Your Groove Thing" out of any other installments please and thank you.

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Shrek Forever After (2010)

Directed by Mike Mitchell.
Written by Josh Klausner and Darren Lemke.
Based on the book by William Steig.
Starring Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and Walt Dohrn.

Posted by Andrew

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  1. You will be happy to learn that Puss In Boots will have his own spin off movie next. I am not a fan of the Shrek series at all and I found this one to be like the rest, loud, frantic and highly forgettable. Its been a good year for animated films, but this one is very low on the list.

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