Shrek Forever After
Starring the voices of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, and Antonio Banderas
Directed by Mike Mitchell (Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo)
Rated PG for mild action, some rude humor and brief language
Appropriate for all ages
In this fourth and final installment of the Shrek series, Shrek finds himself a husband, a father, and stuck right in the middle of a mid-life crisis. After all, he used to be a fierce ogre, and now no one is the least bit scared of him anymore. But when a mischievous wizard named Rumplestiltskin offers him the chance to be feared for a day in exchange for something inconsequential to Shrek at the time, he gladly accepts the bargain. Unfortunately, the contract he signs throws him into an alternate universe where his very existence may be in question at the end of the 24 hour period.
It’s hard to believe that the first Shrek came out in 2001, but that being said, Shrek the franchise has matured with the years. Very fitting for a movie about an ogre that feels that his best years are behind him, for in a way they are. The first two films were wildly creative, full of invention and irreverent humor that was unlike what we had ever seen in an animated film before. The third film was, well, let’s try to forget about the third film. And now this movie shows an ogre that wants to go back to the beginning again.
As a movie, it’s actually a great tale about growing up and accepting responsibility for not just your life but for your family as well. I’ve never thought these films were meant for children, although they can certainly be enjoyed by them, but rather they are adult in nature, and this new addition proves it grandly. There are some nice moments throughout and much more drama than comedy.
Here’s the problem. Shrek is right in not being satisfied with his life in a way. His coolness and creativity have kind of been stripped out of him by now. This new film, while telling a clever story, is not funny nor hip in any way (aside from a few chuckles at an overweight Puss in Boots). In fact it feels tired. Maybe it’s because there is a brand new writing and directing team and they were wrong for the project. But any way you look at it, the story is the very definition of irony. And while they could have left the theme the same, they should have reinvented Shrek in a way that wouldn’t have made him so stinkin’ lame. C+