Shrek the Third

Cast:
Mike Myers as Shrek (voice)
Eddie Murphy as Donkey (voice)
Cameron Diaz as Princess Fiona (voice)
Antonio Banderas as Puss In Boots (voice)
Julie Andrews as Queen Lillian (voice)
John Cleese as King Harold (voice)
Rupert Everett as Prince Charming (voice)
Eric Idle as Merlin (voice)
Justin Timberlake as Artie (voice)
Susan Blakeslee as Evil Queen (voice)
Cody Cameron as Pinocchio/Three Pigs/Ogre Baby/Bohort (voice)
Larry King as Doris (voice)
John Krasinski as Lancelot (voice)
Ian McShane as Captain Hook (voice)
Cheri Oteri as Sleeping Beauty/Actress (voice)
Regis Philbin as Mabel (voice)
Amy Poehler as Snow White (voice)
Seth Rogen as Ship Captain (voice)
Maya Rudolph as Rapunzel (voice)
Amy Sedaris as Cinderella (voice)
Aron Warner as Wolf (voice)

Summary:
Unfortunately, “Shrek the Third” isn’t nearly as good as its predecessors. The film has little new to offer and the trailers show most of the funny moments.

Story:
Some time after “Shrek 2,” King Harold falls ill. Just before he passes away, he asks Shrek to become king. Only wanting to return to his swamp with Fiona, Shrek refuses. It is then that King Harold reveals there’s another heir to the throne – Arthur. Eager to hand off his kingly responsibilities, Shrek, Donkey, and Puss in Boots set out on a quest to find Arthur. But just as they leave, Shrek gets another shock – Fiona is pregnant.

But that’s not all Shrek has to worry about. Prince Charming has returned to claim the throne, and this time he has new allies. Charming has rallied all the villains of Far, Far Away to overthrow Fiona and Shrek. Will all be lost or will Shrek save the day?

“Shrek the Third” is rated PG for some crude humor, suggestive content and swashbuckling action.

What Worked:
It’s a lot of fun to see all your favorite characters on the screen again. Puss in Boots steals the show once more along with Donkey. And when they switch bodies, as you’ve seen in the trailers, it offers even more laughs. Donkey’s half-dragon / half-donkey offspring are also fun to see in full action.

“Shrek the Third” takes one brief, funny twist when our heroes visit a high school. The jocks are jousters, the popular girls speak with “thee’s and thou’s”, and, of course, Donkey gets picked on.

What Didn’t Work:
Unfortunately, “Shrek the Third” is pretty boring. Most of the funny moments can be seen in the trailers and commercials and they lose their impact on the big screen. It doesn’t help matters that they have already done practically every fairy tale joke possible. This time when they appear on the screen, the jokes seem rather stale. It doesn’t help matters that the big finale is yet another mindless fight scene where all the characters do battle in order to wrap up the story quickly.

There are also no exciting new characters like there were in “Shrek 2.” While Puss in Boots stole the show last round, Justin Timberlake as Arthur is pretty boring. And, unfortunately, Arthur takes up a lot of screentime in the film. Several other new characters start to show promise of being entertaining, but they quickly lose their charm. Eric Idle as Merlin, Amy Poehler as Snow White, and Amy Sedaris as Cinderella have brief, glimmering moments of potentially saving the film, but that hope quickly fades away.

One of the few aspects of Shrek that’s intriguing is the arrival of the baby ogres (and if you’ve walked through a toy store lately or seen commercials, that’s not a spoiler). When they come on the scene, the movie gets a sudden jolt of humor and story possibilities. Unfortunately, it’s all too late. “Shrek the Third” is basically over by that point. They don’t appear until the last couple of minutes of the film and the final credits.

The music choices of this film are also really bizarre. For King Harold’s funeral scene, they sing Paul McCartney’s “Live and Let Die.” Huh? Later, we’re treated to a brief clip of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song.” But as good as the song is, they just pull out a 5 second clip and then drop it. This is immediately followed by a remake of Heart’s “Barracuda.” The final soundtrack seems like a disjointed mish-mash of classic rock songs.

As a side note, the plot of “Shrek the Third” has a number of similarities to the recent CGI film “Happily N’Ever After.” Both films featured the fairy tale villains teaming up to overthrow the good guys. On the bright side, Shrek is the better of the two films.

The Bottom Line:
While still somewhat entertaining, “Shrek the Third” isn’t nearly as good as the previous two films. Kids will love it, but adults may find themselves bored by the lack of anything new.

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