Shrek Forever After * * *

Genre: Animation

Director: Mike Mitchell

Writers: Josh Klausner, Darren Lemke

Voice Cast: Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas, Walt Dohn

Running Length: 93 minutes

Synopsis:  Shrek (Mike Myers) and Fiona (Cameron Diaz) are now happily married ogres, with three children in tow, and best friend Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and family an integral part of their lives. However, life has become so routine that Shrek suffers from a mid-life crisis, hoping to find a way out from his mundane existence. Rumplestiltskin (Walt Dohn) hears his wish and grants it, but Shrek fails to read the fine print on the contract, and is tricked into an alternate version of Far Far Away where he never existed and Rumplestiltskin is king – and Shrek has only a day to fix everything. Yes, it’s basically an animated take on It’s A Wonderful Life.  

Review:  With all the Shrek movies making big bucks, it’s little wonder that yet another sequel has been made(claimed to be the final installment, but Puss in Boots already has a spin off coming next year so…). The good news is that Shrek Forever After is very much improved from Shrek the Third, and at times is reminiscent of the first two films in the Shrek franchise. However, even Shrek cannot escape the trappings of 3D, and it now has the dubious honour of being the animated film with the most poorly implemented 3D I have had the chance to see (so far). My advice – don’t bother shelling out the extra money for 3D for this film.

Although the first Shrek had a very different visual aesthetic to Pixar’s films, nothing much has improved or changed over the past decade, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing since the benchmark was set pretty much from the beginning. There are some attempts early in the film to make things “pop” in 3D, but as the film progresses these instances become fewer and further between. In fact, with the frequent chase and action sequences in the film, the 3D implementation simply cannot keep up. The same goes for the voice talents – we’ve all heard these voices before, and although it’s unimaginable to replace them at this point in time, even Mike Myers seems to be dialing in his performance.

It may seem like there are a lot of niggling points for Shrek Forever After, but the film is solidly entertaining despite these flaws. There are still fun pop culture references (the usage of “Top of the World” by the Carpenters is rather inspired), and some good gags to be had (although many of the funny parts have been included in the trailers for the film). And Puss in Boots’ googly eyes never, ever fail to crack me up regardless of the number of times I see it.

However entertaining and fun the movie was, there’s also this consistent feeling that this fourth movie is a very good time to give closure to the main Shrek franchise. I cannot imagine sitting through yet another Shrek movie, and since the franchise has already done a Frank Capra, even the alternate reality angle has been covered. Let’s hope that the almost-assured box office success of Shrek Forever After won’t change the producers’ minds.

Rating:  * * * (out of four stars)

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