In the fourth and final installment of the SHREK’ series, we find ourselves returning to the classic formula that made us love the first film. The humor, serious themes, and clever jokes remind us of just how much adults can enjoy a kids movie. This is the story that we’ve waiting for.
In “Shrek Forever After,” we see just how great life can be for a retired ogre. Shrek (Mike Meyers) is a family man, long retired from his days of being chased by villagers with pitchforks. He married the love of his life, Fiona (Cameron Diaz), and has three little ogre children: Fergus, Farkle and Felicia. Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and his family come over for waffles every morning, Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) comes over to eat dinner and tell Shrek’s heroic tale every night. But before long the routine starts to ware on the lovable ogre, and we see his life spiral into a “Groundhog Day” like repetition. Shrek finally has all that he can take, and blows his lid at the kids’ first birthday party.
On a long walk to cool off, Shrek runs into Rumpelstiltskin – an evil dealmaker who wants nothing more than to steal the throne of Far Far Away from Fiona’s parents – the King (John Cleese) and Queen (Julie Andrews). The curly-toed charlatan deceives Shrek, promising him one day where things return to the way they used to be. But to make Rumpelstiltskin’s magic work, Shrek must give a day to get a day. Without thinking twice, Shrek gives away a day from when he was just a baby. Little does Shrek know that he is being played, and the day he will be giving away is the day he was born. This transforms his world into one where he never existed, therefore never saving Fiona or meeting any of his friends. And even worse – Rumpelstiltskin is the king of Far Far Away!
“Shrek Forever After” tells a great story, and is full of clever twists that keep the audience guessing. It is an interesting concept to show a world without Shrek, after knowing the lovable ogre for all of these years. The best part of the film is that it is story driven, and takes itself more seriously than the previous two films. The original “Shrek” was a movie that both kids and adults could thoroughly enjoy, and the fourth installment returns to it’s roots. It does a good job of keeping adults entertained, while not going over the heads of the kids in the audience. The jokes are consistently funny, and seldom miss their mark. Much of the alternate reality shows us characters that we are quite familiar with, but have changed immensely without Shrek around.
The voice acting is just as good as it was in the first film. I never have found any of the actors to cause problems for the series. The films have always had a great cast, and the characters have stayed pretty consistent since the beginning. Mike Meyers does a good carrying the film along, and displays quite a range of emotions as he endures a world where everyone he knows and loves doesn’t even know he exists. It is fun to see the rest of the characters interact with Shrek, as he tries to convince them that they are his friends. It is especially comedic as he tries to convince Fiona that they are in love.
In the end, “Shrek Forever After” is a great close to the series. If you have a chance to see it in 3D, I would recommend it. They don’t over-do it, and it really adds depth to the world. The movie brings us back the classic Shrek that we all know and love, and the only disappoint thing now is that it is the last movie. But at least the series ends happily ever after.
“Shrek Forever After” is an A
Another Take By Zac:
The latest Shrek film greatly improves upon the abysmal third film and while it feels a tad to greatest hits and unoriginal it is solid fun and works when it isn’t trying to use pop songs for humor.
Shrek is a bit tired of family life and the routine and while he loves his family he needs a bit of a break. Enter Rumpelstiltskin, after a failed attempt to swindle Far, Far, Away from Fiona’s parents around the time Shrek saved her from her tower. Stiltskin just so happens to roll up on an angry Shrek and offers him a day in the life of the good ole days in return from one day in Shrek’s childhood. Shrek is whisked away through space and time and ends up in a world where he never existed and Stiltskin is in charge of Far, Far, Away; as Shrek wasn’t born and in turn could never save Fiona.
Obviously, Shrek must track down Fiona and get his life back from Rumpelstiltskin and his path and arc as he comes to grips with what he is losing in the real world has a nice punch of poignancy and heart. In fact, the early scenes are well played and inspired storytelling that sucks you in and reconnects you to these characters that are admittedly easy to love. The added spin on the re-courting of Shrek and Fiona gives the film enough of an original spin that as they retread similar troupes and themes you don’t mind all that much.
Like I mentioned earlier the attempts to use pop music for humor fails at every turn and of the seemingly endless string of pop songs they use, only a couple don’t feel woefully out of place. Other than this I don’t have too many complaints, but it would have been nice to have a bit more originality in the picture. The 3-D worked quite well, and while a couple scenes were a tad contrived to utilize the 3-D, the finale uses it to great effect and DreamWorks is quickly showing they know what they are doing with this 3-D stuff. It might not match the amazing moments in How to Train Your Dragon, but Shrek Forever After definitely trumps every other 3-D effort besides Coraline, Avatar, and the afore mentioned Dragon.
The action in the film is also where most of the films creativity comes into play and while a scene might seem like it is there strictly for the use of 3-D the animation team more than makes it interesting. The finale actually is quite the action spectacle with all hell breaking loose and a creative fight for or heroes to get out of. The ending even managed to have an emotional effect on me as I was happy to see these great characters get an ending they deserve.
The voice work in the film is solid and as good as one can expect as it should be old hat to most of these guys who have been around for multiple films. John Hamm and Craig Robinson supply some nice humor to the ogre clan, but Walt Dohrn as Rumpelstiltskin really brings the weird. Beyond his voice, Dohrn creates an odd and bizarre villain that while never menacing is off beat enough to keep us on guard while we can still laugh at him, good work all around by him.
In the end, Shrek Forever After is a solid sequel and learns from the many pitfalls of the previous Shrek effort. While things feel familiar at times there is enough new to enjoy and plenty of fun action to get wrapped up in. I really hope this is the end of the Shrek series, the universe will be revisited in Puss in Boots, as I think the film is a solid a fitting end to the series. The 3-D is worth your dime as well as this is one of the best uses of the technology so far though the heart and story the picture evokes through its characters is the real worthy price of your admission.
Shrek Forever After is a B