Shrek has been a big hit in our household since the first film came out what seems like half a lifetime ago but the announcement of a new, and allegedly final, movie received a mixed reaction because for us “Shrek The Third” was to the Shrek series what “Epsiode 1 – The Phantom Menace” was to Star Wars. We desperately wanted to like Shrek the Third, we really did. We just, well, didn’t. We even bought the DVD in case the kids wanted to watch it again but I think it’s still sitting somewhere, immaculate in its shrink-wrapped perfection… if only I could remember where we put it.
This left me in a quandary. Should I let the happy memories of the first two movies lie undisturbed or should I let bygones be bygones but risk further disappointment and disillusionment? What didn’t improve my frame of mind was reading the Daily Telegraph (online I hasten to add… I wouldn’t pay money for it) talking about Dreamworks reluctance to kill off “its monstrous cash cow”. Yikes!
I needn’t have worried. In short, I have to say that for me “Shrek Forever After” far exceeded my meagre expectations and is a really fitting finale to the series, if finale it truly is. I’m not going to get into spoilers and I’m not even going to assume you’ve seen the trailers for it but if you stick with me for just a minute I’ll tell you why I like it.
Firstly I got to see all my favourite Shrek characters but with a twist on the familiar and in the movie Shrek has to renegotiate and rebuild his relationships with them because of his unfortunate dealings with Rumpelstiltskin, who at points looks for all the world like “Syndrome” from the “Incredibles” thanks to a variety of wig changes. The core cast is on form with a top performance from Mike Myers as Shrek and Cameron Diaz as Fiona, though I find that I always have a soft spot for Eddie Murphy’s Donkey so was particularly pleased to have him reprise the role.
Secondly, it has a plot! Once you’ve seen the film you’ll probably work out why I’m using the word “Terminator” here and I hope you’ll agree with me that it really is nicely done. I genuinely did find myself wondering how the plot was going to unfold because although I knew that it was going to be a typical Shrek happy ending the fall and rise of Shrek was by no means an obvious path.
Thirdly. 3D. You know what it is and whether you love it or loathe it Shrek Forever After does a good job of it.
Lastly, it doesn’t make any mention of the third movie at all. Yes, Shrek and Fiona still have kids but there’s no mention of “Artie” or “Prince Charming”, whew.
My only remaining thought is whether it stands on its own as a movie or whether it doesn’t make complete sense if you haven’t seen the previous Shrek movies. If you’re one of the few who is in that position perhaps you can comment once you’ve seen it?
They may have a mountain to climb with the impending release of Toy Story 3promising to be a big box-office draw but it really is worth checking your local cinema’s listings and getting yourself down there to see it, particularly if you have any fondness for the first Shrek films.
Once you’ve seen it do comment and let me know if you think it’s as good as I do or whether I’m just being nostalgic….
Shrek Forever After is released in the UK 2nd July.