REVIEW: Shrek Forever After

20 05 2010

DreamWorks really struck it big with the “Shrek” franchise.  The original won the first Academy Award for Best Animated Film.  The sequel was the third highest grossing movie of the decade.  Then, out of nowhere, the magic makers forgot what made their previous two installments so successful and churned out a third installment void of joy, laughter, and fun.  I prayed that “Shrek Forever After,” the supposed final entry in the series, would provide closure while still providing the entertainment of the first films.

My wish was their command.  This “Shrek” is a jubilant celebration of the series that will serve as a perfect bookend of the series.  It will have you howling from beginning to end, surpassing the total laugh count of “Shrek the Third” in mere minutes.  Everything you love about “Shrek” is present here – all the adult humor, pop culture references, send-ups of your favorite fairy tales, and the characters we’ve come to adore.

But at the same time, it doesn’t rely on your lingering nostalgia from 2001 and 2004.  “Shrek Forever After” has plenty to give us that is new and exciting, from the introduction of the maniacal Rumpelstiltskin to an engaging plotline that twists Frank Capra.

Think I’m crazy for mentioning Capra and Shrek in the same breath?  Or even suggesting that they are in the same vein?  Watch “Shrek Forever After” and try not to think about the parallels.  Shrek, exasperated after a long day dealing with his three young kids and some demanding villagers, hastily strikes a deal with Rumpelstiltskin for a day as a real ogre again.  He agrees to trade one day from his childhood that he can’t even remember for this day, but the renowned trickster pulls a fast one and steals the day Shrek was born.  Our favorite ogre plunges into a world where his true love Fiona is an Amazonian rebel leader, Donkey is a stagecoach driver belting out the best of the ’90s, Puss in Boots is quite a fat cat, and Rumpelstiltskin is king of Far Far Away.  In order to return every thing back to the way it was, Shrek is forced to rediscover what’s really important to him.

And the storyline provides a great way for us as the audience to look back on why we have fallen in love with this series over the years.  The movie is filled with clever allusions to the previous three movies, serving as an enjoyable reminder of the first time we laughed at the hilarious antics.  In my opinion, the creative minds behind “Shrek” are at the top of their game when they are doing over-the-top satire and veiled pop culture refererences.  “Shrek Forever After” doesn’t have much of that humor, but what it does have are great one-liners and repeated gags, which are incredibly effective and don’t tire quickly.

As for those curious about the look of the movie, the 3D isn’t a waste of money, but it may not be the wisest use of it either.  It was made to be seen with an extra dimension, so there’s no hasty conversion technique being applied.  Yet nothing pops out of the screen and appears majestic, making the 3D nice but not entirely necessary.

The phrase “finish strong” gets thrown around a lot nowadays, particularly in regards to races and competitions.  The “Shrek” series has finally arrived at the finish line, perhaps not exactly with the blaze of glory that it had at the beginning.  But even if it isn’t as as strong as the initial installments, “Shrek Forever After” returns some much needed thunder to the series, making the end funny and enjoyable.  A- /

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5 responses

20 05 2010
Heather

Wow, surprised at such a high rating. I was entirely lackadaisical after the third one and had no intentions of a theater viewing if not for my wee ones begging to go see it. You have my hopes raised!

20 05 2010
Marshall

I’m a HUGE sucker for kid’s movies. Like, massive. So keep that in mind…

20 05 2010
Frank Mengarelli

I cry while watching The Land Before Time.

20 05 2010
Marshall

It’s been a long time since I’ve joined Cera, Little Foot, and Petrie in the prehistoric days, but I remember that being a pretty emotional kids movie. Probably jerked on those tear-ducts a few times…

20 05 2010
CMrok93

Surprised with this one big time! I still haven’t seen the third but from what i hear isn’t that good, but still I’m trying to give it a shot.

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