Toon Talk: Shrek Forever After
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by Kirby C. Holt
SHREK FOREVER AFTER
Disney Blu-Ray and DVD
It’s a Wonderful Shrek
Life has been good for the lovable green ogre known as Shrek, both on- and off screen. He has starred in three of the most popular animated films in the world, beginning with Shrek, the very first Best Animated Feature Oscar winner. The first sequel, Shrek 2, fared even better with audiences, surpassing the original at the box office. Sure, he stumbled with the uninspired Shrek the Third, but more than made up for it with the instant Christmas TV classic Shrek the Halls and the Tony Award-winning stage version Shrek The Musical. No doubt about it: Shrek is a star.
However, at the beginning of his fourth (and reportedly final) big screen adventure Shrek Forever After (in theaters now), our hero (once again voiced by Mike Myers) finds himself stuck in a rut … and not an ogre-friendly rut at that. Happily married with children to the fair ogress Fiona (Cameron Diaz), Shrek’s domestic bliss begins to gnaw at his natural ogre tendencies. His big green midlife crisis comes to head when he realizes no one -- not one pitchfork-wielding villager -- is afraid of him.
Enter Rumpelstiltskin (surprisingly for a DreamWorks movie, not voiced by a celebrity but by Walt Dohrn), the mischievous troublemaker of folk legend who, unbeknownst to our hero, holds a grudge against Shrek dating back to the events of the first film. Rumpel takes full advantage of Shrek’s current depressed state and tricks him into one of his infamous contracts, a shady deal that results in Shrek, a la It’s a Wonderful Life, never having been born.
Trapped in an alternative reality where nobody -- not his faithful friends Donkey (Eddie Murphy) or Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) let alone his beloved wife -- knows him, Shrek discovers that he has but one day to get his true love Fiona to kiss him. Alas, he has to get her to fall in love with him all over again first or he truly will be gone “forever after”.
For the first time in four films, Shrek fully embraces its fairy tale origins, and the result is a fast-paced, tightly-plotted roller coaster of a fantasy adventure. Yes, there’s still plenty of rich humor along the way, including plenty of the by-now familiar Shrek-ified anachronisms (that may not stand the test of time). But for once they take a backseat to the action, such as some jaw-dropping sequences set inside Rumpelstiltskin’s castle.
Pop culture is rife with “final chapters” that weren’t quite so “final”, from Freddy Krueger movies to Cher concert tours. One hopes that DreamWorks Animation resists the temptation to revisit Shrek & Company yet again, for Forever After is a fitting “happily ever after” for their biggest star.
Toon Talk Rating: B+
- Jake Gyllenhaal goes the action movie route with Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (Disney, May 28).
- The toys are back in Toy Story 3 (Disney/Pixar, June 18).
- Nicolas Cage stars in the fantasy adventure The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Disney, July 16).
-- Kirby C. Holt
-- Logos by William C. Searcy, Magic Bear Graphics
Kirby is a lifelong Disney fan and film buff. He is also an avid list maker and chronic ellipsis user ... In addition to his Toon Talk reviews, Kirby is the creator of Movie Dearest, a blog for movie fans.
Took Talk: Disney Film & Video Reviews by Kirby C. Holt is posted whenever there's something new to review.
The opinions expressed by our Kirby C. Holt, and all of our columnists, do not necessarily represent the feelings of LaughingPlace.com or any of its employees or advertisers. All speculation and rumors about the future plans of the Walt Disney Company are just that - speculation and rumors - and should be treated as such.
-- Posted March 18, 2010