Shrek Forever After (2D) reviewed

Shrek Forever After is the fourth and supposedly final film in the popular CGI-animated franchise. The fairy tale-themed family comedy is also one of the biggest hits of the American Summer, maintaining the top spot at the box office for an impressive three weeks even when faced with serious high profile competition. But despite being such a commercial success, Shrek Forever After is a dud. While stronger story-wise than Shrek the Third, this concluding chapter of the Shrek series is dull and, worst of all, criminally unfunny. The film’s title may as well be Shrek: Four Times the Meh-ness!

The problem with Shrek Forever After is that it has no heart and vibrancy. Those qualities, which made the first two films in the series so enjoyable, have largely evaporated. Everyone involved in the project seems to be just going through the motions. Eddie Murphy as Donkey, in particular, is on auto-pilot. Most of the character’s rapid-fire quips are gone, and his hilarious comic unpredictability has been stripped away to be replaced by the completely banal.

Coincidentally, the loss of one’s sense of individuality and “edge” is a major theme in Shrek Forever After. The film’s plot is essentially It’s a Wonderful Life, with ogre Shrek (Mike Myers) wishing to reclaim the carefree, self-centred life he led before meeting Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) and settling down as a husband, father and celebrity saviour of the fairy tale kingdom. Suffocated by domestic routine, Shrek rashly makes an agreement with magical trickster Rumpelstiltskin for a day free of responsibilities. As a result, Shrek finds himself in a grim alternate reality, where he was never born; let alone saved Fiona. Shrek then has just 24 hours to activate the agreement's escape clause, and that means winning the heart of Fiona – a hardened freedom fighter in this universe – and regaining the trust of friends who are terrified of ogres.

Shrek Forever After is so focused on Shrek’s race against time, and insistence that he learns to appreciate what he has, that the film's sense of humour seems to have been forgotten. There are perhaps maybe four laugh-out loud moments in the entire movie. At the same time there is little evidence of wit, and even less cleverness or innuendo for adults in the audience to appreciate - as there was in prior Shrek films. Shrek Forever After plays out like a bland action film for kids. And even then, the action scenes are largely unoriginal. The only exception is the too short dragon double-team sequence which utilises some clever choreography.

The best things about Shrek Forever After then are Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) and Rumplestiltskin’s disturbing giant goose – complete with fangs. Both characters have only small roles, but seeing as Puss is, yet again, one of the highlights of a Shrek film, it’s safe to assume that we can look forward to the suave feline’s own movie when it releases late next year.

Shrek Forever After is a disappointing final chapter in the Shrek saga. The film is not shockingly bad, but given its blandness and all-round lack of personality, the audience quickly loses interest in the events depicted onscreen. We just don’t care. For a movie that’s supposed to be an emotional capstone for a series that’s entertained audiences worldwide for the last nine years, that’s a massive failure.

Undemanding viewers may find Shrek Forever After a pleasant way to pass 90 minutes. However, anyone who fondly remembers the energy, intelligence and riotous humour of the first Shrek will find nothing satisfying this time around. You can honestly skip Shrek Forever After without any regrets.


Anonymous said…
It was ok , but yes , my 6yr old daughter only lol'ed once during the movie. Should have been more fun.
Cleric said…
Aw man! I was looking forward to it. Sad to hear now that it's not that good :(
Pfangirl said…
Thanks for commenting guys. Yup, Anonymous, it definitely should have been more fun.

Cleric, sorry to be the bearer of bad news:P
Very good article,thanks.

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