There’s a lot to be said about the Shrek franchise. The first Shrek (2001) started as an anti-thesis to all Disney princess movies, parodying and, at the same time, paying tribute to all our favourite fairy tales we grew up with. Later, Shrek 2 (2004) expands its landscape and scope to include story plot points that mirrors a newly-wed life. Sadly, Shrek The Third (2007) degenerated into a sort of money-churning tent-pole for Dreamworks Animation, with the studio unable to come up with any other decent movie attractions since Shrek (Shark Tale (2004) and Over The Hedge (2006) anyone?).
However, with the successful arrival of Kung Fu Panda (2008) and How to Train Your Dragon (2010), perhaps the studio personals decided it would be a great time to end this franchise once and for all. And the result of that is Shrek Forever After. Is this as worthy an animated film as Shrek which has once beaten Pixar’s Monsters, Inc. at the Academy Awards? Or is this just another movie that the studio hopes to earn some money with before they end the franchise once and for all?
After three films of facing unwelcomed trouble, Shrek and Fiona has finally settled down and truly lived forever after. Yet, Shrek, having suddenly winded up a domesticated family man, is also starting to long for the days he felt like a “real ogre”. Shrek is then duped into signing a pact with the smooth-talking dealmaker, Rumpelstiltskin. Unfortunately, [if you haven’t seen the trailers, then spoiler alerts up ahead] he 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.
In Shrek Forever After, we finally get a sequel that we’ve been waiting for. We get a chance to revisit all we loved about the first movie. And, finally for once, we don’t get elaborate scenes of the filmmakers trying to make lame jokes out of famous fairy tale characters. (Sleeping beauty falling out of the carriage asleep? Really…) In this final movie in the franchise, the filmmakers seem to have a deliberate intention of not mindlessly introducing anymore famous fairy tale characters. The ones that do get introduced at least helped with advancing the story. Thanfully, too, the filmmakers also chose to focus the story plots around our foursome: Shrek, Fiona, Donkey and Puss.
That being said, the film never goes beyond what it has been. Shrek needs to get the new Fiona to fall in love with him all over again, yet we never get to see anything remotely touching other than Shrek proving himself to be an irritating ass. Donkey is just as irritating with his quick-mouthing dialogues and singing. When Rumpelstiltskin hires a bounty hunter to capture Shrek, the one he chose had an unfortunate gift of bringing disco beats to the screen whenever he appears (and that irritates me A LOT).
The voice-acting was tiresome. You can almost feel Cameron Diaz saying ‘oh, I’m sick and tired of being Princess Fiona’. The only exception being Antonia Banderas having a blast with his character being transformed into a Puss-out-of-Boots.
Shrek Forever After could well have been the sequel we’ve all been waiting for. The premise allows us chances to love Shrek all over again. It’s definitely better than Shrek The Third. Yet, the uninspiring directing and voice-acting accounts for the film’s degeneration into simple parody flair. So is it worth watching? Only if you missed the charm of the first movie and would give any chance to revisit the sets and characters in that movie.
RATING: ***1/2 out of 5 stars
image credit: Paramount and DreamWorks Animation via Screenrant