NOTE: This is the same review as done on the
Third" DVD. Picture and sound quality notes have been added.
Please. No more Shrek. I know I'm too late with that request, because there's a fourth Shrek movie, a Christmas special and a spin-off of Puss-in-Boots on the way. Green talks, I know. Money making Shrek.
"Shrek The Third" is now on Blu-ray.
I'm not a Shrek hater. Really really. I thought the original "Shrek" (2001) had some nice moments, but relied too much on winking at the audience. Aren't we being clever in ripping on fairy tales and Disney's mythology factory? And how about highlighting famous actors over a good story, and giving Mike Myers a lot of fart jokes to play with? "Shrek 2" (2004) was a surprising sequel that was better than the original. It expanded on plot and had good laughs throughout. The film even had a sweetness to it. "Shrek The Third," on the other hand, feels worn and lacks spark.
The story is simple, yet convoluted. Shrek's father-in-law, King Harold (John Cleese) croaks as any old frog would, leaving Shrek to take over the throne. Ever the reluctant hero, Shrek takes Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and Puss (Antonio Banderas) on a quest to find the rightful heir, a nerdy kid named Artie (Justin Timberlake). In the meantime, Fiona (Cameron Diaz) is pregnant.
The series seems like it's running on fumes. I'm sure if the "Shrek" movies came out when I was 12 years-old, the fart jokes and the spewing baby barf jokes would be just as hilarious now as they were with the first "Shrek" movie. I appreciate a gross joke as much as the next person. But doesn't it seem like most kid movies today go for the cheap laugh? I understand that the character of Shrek is gross to begin with, but it seemed that he was more tolerable to watch in "Shrek 2." Mike Myers, the voice of Shrek, is an extremely talented actor, but his reliance on jokes based on body functions isn't funny anymore.
The voice talent in "Shrek The Third" is impressive. You can't go wrong with Julie Andrews, Eric Idle, John Cleese and Rupert Everett. They do a fine job in this film. Antonio Banderas really stole the show in "Shrek 2," but is given very little to work with here. Eddie Murphy gives the character of Donkey spark, but I can't help to think this character was essentially the same as Mushu from "Mulan" (1998). Cameron Diaz provides a sweet and kind presence to the character of Fiona. She's not given much to work with in this picture, though.
Like a disaster film from the '70s, "Shrek The Third" tries to cram as many stars into a tight little 92-minute timeframe as possible. Frankly, when I go to an animated film, I'd rather just concentrate on having a good time. I'm an animation buff and I can reasonably point out a Chuck Jones film, or the fact that Mel Blanc did a certain character voice. I really wish, and this won't be granted, that animated films would be advertised based on story and character. Part of the magic of an animated movie is that the voice talent isn't seen in the promotional ads. The makers of "Shrek" relish in making the voice talent the star. I can just see the poster for part four with a huge picture of Shrek in the middle, with little picture boxes of the real life actors on the bottom. Remember DreamWorks, I came up with that idea!
The animation is very good in "Shrek The Third," though I still have an issue with how the humans look. They still appear too computerized to my eyes. Their mouths don't move at all naturally, and their eyes look rather cold. In "Shrek 2," when Shrek turns into a human being, he looked human. The other humans, then and now, look too robotic. I think out of all the characters and animation in this "Shrek" film, Puss-In-Boots is the best. He's fully fleshed out and has a lot of charm in his facial expressions.
The score, as with the other "Shrek" movies, relies mostly on needle-drop music. Harry Gregson-Williams underscores, and I think appropriately, the film with theme music. Most movies today rely too much on licensing popular songs, and "Shrek" is guilty of this as well.
"Shrek" is a money-making franchise, no doubt. Being the anti-Disney/Pixar rival, DreamWorks and PDI (Pacific Data Images) have created a staple at the movies with the green ogre & his pals. I have no problem with that. I just wish upon a star that the next Shrek is a lot fresher, and less crass.
Special thanks to Click Communications
Photos: © DreamWorks/Paramount. All rights reserved.
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