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Shrek Forever After (2010)

A movie directed by Mike Mitchell

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Happily Ever After?

  • May 29, 2010
Rating:
+2
In 2001 Dreamworks lit up the Animation World when they released Shrek.  At the time the movie was a clever satire (and mockery) of what Disney had bee producing for the years prior.  A much more vibrant fairy tale that inspired so many animated films to try and break from the mold of always having to be the sort of Disneyesque fairy tale that such films as Disney classic Princess movies were.  For the longest time it seemed like only Dreamworks could make such a film.  Shrek kept marching on as the second did an awkward and hilarious take on meeting the parents while the third finally introduced us to Shrek's fears of parenthood.  The trilogy literally went something like this:

Shrek and Fiona Sitting in a Tree
K-I-S-S-I-N-G
First comes Love
Then comes Marriage
Then comes Shrek with the Baby Carriage!

While the first two were delightful films, the third showed that momentum surrounding the series was slowing down.  While not a bad movie in its own right, Shrek the Third was missing some of the comedic charm the first two had.  The first two films were laugh out loud funny while the third gave you a few laughs but not many, and the story wasn't quite as amusing.  Shrek Forever After has the blessing (or burden) of having to outdo the third film.  Something that you'd think wouldn't be quite as challenging.  The problem is... the series is pretty stale now.

The first three Shrek films was your basic love story unfolding before our very eyes.  Albeit, it was very hilarious.  The Fourth one takes a turn and asks the dreaded "What if..." question, but it takes a moment to get it set up.  The film begins with a flashback.  Back when Fiona was trapped in a tower, Fiona's parents were desperate to free her that they went to Rumplestiltskin and offered to sign over their kingdom for Fiona's release from the tower.  Just before they can sign the contract, however, Fiona was rescued from the tower.  The rest, as they say is history.

Now Shrek spends his days as a loving husband and father.  He goes through the same routine day in and day out.  Wake up, feed the babies, change their diapers, greet the townspeople and then Donkey brings over his kids (those creepy donkey/dragon hybrid... things).  At first this new life is exciting for Shrek, but after a while he gets tired of it.  The people of Far Far Away love him, but they're constantly reminding him that since he's had kids he's gone soft.  It's to the point where Shrek isn't exactly feeling like an ogre anymore.  When at his children's first birthday party he snaps and begins to wish that he could back to the way things were before Fiona and before the kids.  Back to the days when he was an ogre and people feared him.  It just so happens Rumplestiltskin can help him with that.  All it takes is Shrek signing a contract to trade a day of his life.  So that he can live just one more day in which he can be a real ogre. 

Of course, Rumplestiltskin has his own motives.  And when Shrek signs the contract he's transported to a world in which he never existed.  A strange alternate reality in which Rumplestiltskin rules the land of Far Far Away, his friends don't recognize him... and neither does Fiona.  Now Shrek has twenty-four hours to set things right... but he'll need to get Fiona to fall in love with him all over again to do it.  If he doesn't, then he'll cease to exist forever.

The overall premise behind Shrek Forever After is surprisingly fun.  The idea itself is pretty neat and clever.  Especially for Shrek.  Unfortunately the execution isn't quite as great as the plot in and of itself sounds.  There are some good moments, but there are many more that aren't as well polished.  For a fourth film, however, it's not half as bad as just about every other #4 you can think of.  Most of Shrek Forever After's problems come mostly from the fact that this is a franchise that's just running out of steam. 

The characters aren't half as likeable as they once were.  Part of this comes from the fact that we're dealing with an alternate universe in which none of the characters recognize Shrek... so why should we care about most of these characters.  You get a good dose of Donkey and Puss, but for the most part classic supporting characters like The Gingerbread Man and Pinocchio are pushed to the side.  More than that, throughout the story Shrek is constant belaboring his friends for not knowing who he is... even after understanding just what it is he's gotten himself into.  None of this sort of stuff holds the story up, but it can feel like Dreamworks was running out of ideas from time to time as there are a few moments that are stuck in there for the sake of making a movie out of something that might've best been served as an episode in a TV series.  Rumplestiltskin also just isn't as interesting as either Lord Faquaad or Prince Charming.  He's slightly less obnoxious than the latter villain, but he's hardly someone you'll remember after the credits roll.

That's not to say Shrek Forever After doesn't have it's moments.  In spite of a shaky story the ending moments are very heartfelt and touching.  There are also a lot of inside references to the first film that are a treat.  It's like shaking hands with a familar friend you haven't seen for nine years. 

When the first Shrek debuted one thing that Dreamworks was known for was throwing in several pop culture references and songs into their films.  It was one of the key things that, at the time, set it apart from Disney and Pixar.  Shrek Forever After is no different, except this time around you don't appreciate it.  It doesn't add much and most of these moments just aren't funny.  After seeing films such as Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon, these sort of pop culture refernces seem beneath Dreamworks Animation at a time when they've just produced two movies that didn't need them to be so good.

The biggest stab to Shrek Forever After, however, is that the movie just isn't that funny.  There's a lot of energy from the voice cast but the clever, witty dialog isn't as fantastic as it once was.  That's not to say you won't laugh.  The funny moments are just few and far between.  If you were not that impressed with Shrek the Third, there's really no reason to be even slightly curious about Shrek Forever After.  The ending can be touching, but it's about the only time you feel any sort of emotion at all.  It's not a disaster of a ride, it's just hard to admit that the green ogre was once one of the more interesting characters in film and now he's just stale and boring.  It's easy to forget Shrek Forever After shortly after you've seen it.  Not because most of what it does is old hat, but because you get the feeling that they were running out of ideas. 

The story is pretty simple and the movie is pretty short, but you get the feeling after watching it that the light bulb must be flickering just before it goes out.  The heart and soul of what made the Shrek movies so good is almost completely gone..  To keep the franchise going at this point would be like forcing a kid with a broken leg to walk.  It just seems cruel.  Shrek had a decade of making us laugh, and we salute him for it.  Which is why perhaps it's time to send the big green ogre off to a well deserved retirement before they kill the magic completely.

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May 31, 2010
When the Pied Piper gets the funniest scenes in the movie, you know Shrek has all but lost its former glimmer. Those were laugh out loud moments for me, but you said it yourself: the film just isn't as funny as its predecessors. I completely agree that Shrek Forever After is forgettable, but that's not to say I didn't enjoy it for what it was. Great review, man!
 
May 29, 2010
Thanks for the review, the community was empty on the Shrek movie last week! Very thorough analysis as always. Methinks I will skip this one and maybe save it on dvd or something. I did like the first Shrek movie and # 2 wasn't so bad, but seeing as I didn't enjoy the 3rd flick then I am staying away from this one. Great line with "After seeing films such as Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon, these sort of pop culture references seem beneath Dreamworks Animation at a time when they've just produced two movies that didn't need them to be so good"--dead on.
 
May 29, 2010
My son would have given Shrek three stars, and he is generous...so it looks like your review is spot on. Although I did not see the film, and probably won't from what I have heard from those who have...
 
1
More Shrek Forever After (2010 movi... reviews
review by . December 09, 2010
Happily--without getting cliche'--'Shrek Forever After' bounces back from 'Shrek the (Mediocre) Third' with the trajectory needed that its predecessor lacked. The hero is in dire straits; the characters are in fine form; and the audience is spared from tired dialogue and unnecessary tangents found in the last outing. The plot, furthermore, is solid and stirring--with some really neat tie-ins to the other films. While the ideas are truly revitalized, this final (?) effort is, nevertheless, not as …
review by . March 16, 2011
Shrek Forever After is nothing like the quality of the first two, however it is much more watchable than the third. That being said, it does have its moments, but the story arc just feels like they ran out of ideas and were just trying to milk the franchise for all its worth. However, the voice cast is still good and the movie is technically brilliant as always, though I can't speak for the 3D. I also found that Rumplestiltskin was a very funny villain, although not quite as good as Prince Charming …
review by . January 01, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Falling in Love All Over Again!
So, any guy would wonder what he has signed up for after getting married and having to work his *s* off to feed his 3 kids, even if he married the princess! Hey, don’t those little kids remind you of cabbage patch kids?! So, what does DreamWorks do? Bring the guy back to his heroic moments and relived his greatness and with that hopefully the magic of romance would be back!       It’s all about finding love **again**! For both Shrek and Fiona, who had history …
Quick Tip by . December 28, 2010
Good news that it's the final chapter! Capitalizing on its success over and over again is just not the way to do it, imho.The story simply gets old. I did have fun watching it coz this is the 2nd of the series that I watched.
Quick Tip by . December 20, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Its not as good as the 1st and 2nd movies but more entertaining than the 3rd. The shrek series is still a major improvement over many other kids movies today though!My 2 yr old neice loves it especially the music.
review by . May 21, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
"Shrek Forever After" (if that is its real title) achieves exactly what it wanted to achieve simply by being a fun animated comedy with characters we've come to love. Still, for something so heavily promoted as being the final chapter, I'm surprised at how small and ordinary it seemed. Movies like this should end with a bang, emotionally and physically; they should not go from beginning to end on a slow and steady burn. By the end, most will feel as if they've been entertained. I felt that way. …
review by . June 18, 2010
Shrek Forever After is the fourth and supposedly final entry in the series of films chronicling the comical adventures of a green ogre by the name of Shrek. The first film released in 2001 was an instant hit. In 2004 it was followed by Shrek 2 which was also a delightfully entertaining animated-comedy. Then in 2007 the series took a misstep with Shrek the Third which was forgettable to say the least. Now we have Shrek Forever After which, though not as bad as Shrek the Third, still doesn't measure …
Quick Tip by . July 20, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Please, please, please - let this franchise die already. The third movie killed it and the 4th only buried it deeper.
Quick Tip by . July 19, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
The story is pretty simple and the movie is pretty short, but you get the feeling after watching it that the light bulb must be flickering just before it goes out. The heart and soul of what made the Shrek movies so good is almost completely gone.. To keep the franchise going at this point would be like forcing a kid with a broken leg to walk. It just seems cruel. Shrek had a decade of making us laugh, and we salute him for it. Which is why perhaps it's time to send the big green ogre off to a well …
Quick Tip by . June 03, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Not the best of the series, but much more fun than the 3rd. I think it was a fitting end. And since I have room left .. "Do the roar" HaHA!
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Sean A. Rhodes ()
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I'm a more analytical person. I believe that the purpose of the review is not for me to give you my opinion but for me to give you an analysis and help you decide if you want to get it. If you reading … more
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Shrek Forever After in US theaters May 21, 2010 starring Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas, Ian McShane. Shrek (Mike Myers) has become a domesticated family man. Instead of scaring villagers away like he used to, a reluctant
http://www.themovieinsider.com/m1824/shrek-goes-fourth/

After challenging an evil dragon, rescuing a beautiful princess and saving your in-laws’ kingdom, what’s an ogre to do? Well, if you’re Shrek, you suddenly wind up a domesticated family man. Instead of scaring villagers away like he used to, a reluctant Shrek now agrees to autograph pitch forks. What’s happened to this ogre’s roar? Longing for the days when he felt like a “real ogre,” Shrek is duped into signing a pact with the smooth-talking dealmaker, Rumpelstiltskin. Shrek suddenly finds himself in a twisted, alternate version of Far Far Away, where ogres are hunted, Rumpelstiltskin is king and Shrek and Fiona have never met. Now, it’s up to Shrek to undo all he’s done in the hopes of saving his friends, restoring his world and reclaiming his one True Love.

Poster art for "Shrek Forever After."

Shrek Forever Afterdelivers laughs, life lessons, and a striking picture of the realities of parenthood in this surprisingly good, fourthShrekfilm. Like the original film, this fractured fairytale works because of the humor--it pokes fun at the whole fairytale genre on a multitude of intellectual levels while simultaneously offering visual humor that's ...
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Details

Director: Mike Mitchell
Release Date: May 21, 2010
Studio: Paramount Pictures

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