Movie Reviews

Shrek Forever After

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Rating: 7 out of 10
Movie Details: View here

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 (voice)
Jon Hamm as Brogan (voice)
John Cleese as King (voice)
Craig Robinson as Cookie (voice)
Walt Dohrn as Rumpelstiltskin / Priest / Krekraw Ogre (voice)
Jane Lynch as Gretched (voice)
Lake Bell as Patrol Witch / Wagon Witch #2 (voice)
Kathy Griffin as Dancing Witch / Wagon Witch #1 (voice)
Mary Kay Place as Guard Witch (voice)
Kristen Schaal as Pumpkin Witch / Palace Witch (voice)
Meredith Vieira as Broomsy Witch (voice)
Ryan Seacrest as Father of Butter Pants (voice)
Cody Cameron as Pinocchio, Three Pigs (voice)
Larry King as Doris (voice)
Regis Philbin as Mabel (voice)

Directed by Mike Mitchell

Summary:
A solid story, fun jokes, and impressive 3D animation make "Shrek Forever After" worth checking out despite the lack of memorable new characters and a weak finale.

Story:
Shrek seemingly has it all. He has a wife that loves him, three cute children, loyal friends, and an adoring public. But he soon finds himself missing the single life and the joys of being a scary ogre. His frustrations soon explode into a very public and very embarrassing outburst.

Then along comes Rumpelstiltskin with an offer Shrek can't refuse. In exchange for one day again as a carefree ogre, Shrek must give Rumpelstiltskin one day of his own life. Shrek agrees without reading the fine print and soon finds himself in a new world. He's a feared ogre again, but he's also in a world where Rumpelstiltskin is king and Shrek was never born. Can Shrek find his former friends and turn the tables on Rumpelstiltskin or will he lose everything he ever loved?

"Shrek Forever After" is rated PG for mild action, some rude humor and brief language.

What Worked:
The last "Shrek" movie was a bit of a disappointment for me, so I was happy to see that "Shrek Forever After" was a significant improvement. While I still think "Shrek 2" is the best of the series, this is a decent ending to the franchise.

First off, it has a strong story. Anybody that's a father knows that on most days having a family life is the best thing ever. And then there are some days where everything drives you crazy and you look back fondly at those bachelor days. "Shrek Forever After" perfectly captures that feeling. It culminates with a birthday scene at a fairy tale version of Chuck E. Cheese, a place that will test the sanity and patience of any parent. That makes the story easily identifiable and a lot more fun to watch as Shrek eventually learns to appreciate what he's got. It's a good message for any parent to be reminded of.

The story also sets up this fun parallel world where Shrek was never born. We see alternate versions of Fiona, Donkey, Puss in Boots, and the Gingerbread Man. But the real scene-stealer is Puss In Boots, a cat now so fat and lazy that he'd give Garfield a run for his money. (Note to DreamWorks Animation I still want to see a Puss In Boots solo movie!)

"Shrek Forever After" is also shown in 3D and this is a case of the gimmick actually helping to enhance the animation. With the witches as the bad girls, there's a lot of flying going on. Anyone that's seen "Avatar" or "How To Train Your Dragon" knows that flying looks great in 3D. You also start to really notice the texture on Shrek's face, the hairs on Donkey's head, and all the plants in the forest. It looks great. But the absolute best 3D scene is when Puss In Boots does his trademark 'big eyes, cute face.' You haven't seen it to its full effect until you've seen him do it in 3D.

What Didn't Work:
While "Shrek Forever After" is a significant improvement over its predecessor, it does have some big problems. The first 3/4 of the movie is quite strong and a lot of fun. However, as the movie enters that final act, it just kind of fizzles and ends a bit weakly. We're treated to the usual 'final big fight' and there's nothing impressive about it. In fact, your expectations are built up so much that when the finale arrives, you're thinking, "Oh, this is the end? Huh." It is disappointing.

This movie also does not introduce any memorable new characters. "Shrek 2" introduced Puss In Boots. This time we're introduced to Rumpelstiltskin and a few new ogres. Rumpelstiltskin is a decent enough bad guy, but he's easily forgotten. The new ogres should have been a major opportunity to introduce a lot of quirky, disgusting, funny ogres. We don't get that. The only one that comes close to having any personality is Craig Robinson as Cookie, and he has maybe three lines in the movie. The same goes for the witches. Instead of having fun with the female voice actors, the witches are simply background dressing and hardly used. It seemed like a wasted opportunity. In fact, the only memorable new character in the whole movie is a fat little kid that's a secondary character that repeatedly pesters Shrek to "Do the roar."

The Bottom Line:
"Shrek Forever After" has enough in it to entertain both adults and children and make it worth checking out, especially in 3D. While it's not the grand finish to the series that you would hope for, it's a definite improvement that makes you forget its weaker predecessor.

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