Shrek Forever After

  • Title:  Shrek Forever After
  • Director:  Mike Mitchell
  • Date:  2010
  • Studio:  Dreamworks
  • Genre:  Animation, Romance, Comedy, Musical
  • Cast:  Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderes, Julie Andrews, John Cleese
  • Format:  Color, Widescreen Animation
  • DVD Format:  R1, NTSC

“You have three beautiful children, a wife who loves you, friends who adore you, you have everything.  Why is it that the only person who can’t see that – is you?”  — Fiona

I bought the Shrek films in a complete set, and it turns out the only one I hadn’t seen was this one, the fourth and final Shrek film.  This time around, Shrek goes through a mid-life crisis, fearing he has lost his “roar”.  He makes a deal with Rumplestilskin to have one day as an fierce ogre again in return for giving up one day of his own life.  However, Rumplestilskin takes the day Shrek was born, creating a weird alternate universe where Fiona’s parents no longer exist, Rumplestilskin rules Far Far Away with an Iron Fist and the help of a troop of evil witches, and Fiona Warrior Princess leads a band of less than successful ogre rebels.  Donkey pulls a wagon for a pair of evil witches, meanwhile Puss-in-Boots no longer wears his boots and hat, no longer fights, and has gotten very over weight.  Moreover, since Shrek was never born, after 24 hours he will cease to exist, making all the changes permanent.  It’s sort of Shrek does “It’s a Wonderful Life”.

However, I still enjoyed this film.  Overall, the first film is the best, but all four, including this one, manage to keep the characters in character and true to themselves.  Even the alternate universe Fiona, Donkey, and Puss, all ring true to themselves.

Shrek discovers that if Fiona experiences “True Love’s Kiss” her curse will be broken, and Shrek also will be freed from his contract with Rumplestilskin.  However, when Shrek finally kisses her — she hasn’t fallen in love with him.  However, never fear, the film has a happy ending, and Fiona kisses Shrek a second time, having fallen for him, she and everyone else is returned to the birthday party that Shrek had stormed out of.  The ending credit music is, “I’m a Believer”, as in the first film.  This is found by a montage of “best of” scenes from all four films.

Again, I enjoyed the film.  This time the theme is more about being grateful for what you have, rather than themes of self-acceptance,  but it’s still a well-thought out movie.

Recommendation:  See it!  May as well complete the set.
Rating:  3.8 out of  5 Stars
Next Film:  Singin’ in the Rain

Shrek the Third

  • Title:  Shrek the Third
  • Director:  Chris Miller
  • Date:  2007
  • Studio:  Dreamworks
  • Genre:  Comedy, Romance, Musical, Animation
  • Cast:  Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas, Julie Andrews, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Justin Timberlake
  • Format:  Color, Widescreen Animation
  • DVD Format:  R1, NTSC

“I know what it’s like to not feel ready for something.  Even ogres get scared, you know, once in awhile.”  — Shrek

“OK, girls, from here on out, we’re gonna’ take care of business ourselves.” — Fiona

In the third Shrek installment, Fiona’s father, the King, dies, and leaves Shrek as his heir.  But Shrek isn’t ready, and thinks the kingdom won’t accept an ogre as king — until he finds out, on the king’s deathbed, that there is another heir, Arthur.

Shrek decides to go with Donkey and Puss-in-Boots to find this lost heir.  Just before he leaves, Fiona tells him she’s pregnant.  Shrek is nervous and slightly terrified at the prospect of becoming a father.

Meanwhile, all the princesses and her mother give Fiona a baby shower.  This is thankfully interrupted by Prince Charming, who has gathered all the evil-doers in Far Far Away to attack the castle.  Charming, a frustrated actor who was failing at dinner theatre, is still trying to impress his mother, Fairy Godmother, by becoming king and taking over the kingdom.

Although Fiona, the Queen, and the princesses initially escape, they are betrayed by Rapunzel (who has made a deal with Charming to become his wife and defacto queen of Far Far Away).  Once in a dungeon room, the princesses (Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty) all announce they will wait to be rescued.  Fiona thinks they should rescue themselves, but isn’t sure how.  The Queen breaks them out of the dungeon cell — and Fiona liberates the Princesses.  I loved this scene, especially the bra burning. The Princesses, the Queen, and Fiona then attack the castle to rescue Shrek, and defeat Prince Charming.

However, during the final conflict at Charming’s show (a play starring Charming and Rapunzel in which Charming defeats Shrek and wins the Princess), Shrek and Arthur convince all the villains they should be who they want to be, and fulfill their dreams.  Charming, however, is not taken in by this – as all he wants is control of the kingdom.  Shrek and Artie manage to defeat Charming.

Instead of the big musical number to end the film, this one has a montage of Shrek and Fiona as new parents to three little ogres.

Overall, I really liked the Liberation of the Princesses part of this film (including the combat montage to “Barracuda”; the second plotline — Shrek and Donkey (with Puss-in-Boots) on yet another quest to a distant land felt like it had been done.  Charming’s rousing of the villains was interesting – but by the end of the film I actually felt kinda’ sorry for Charming.  I think the film could have done a better job of  being fair to his character — he almost became a cardboard villain so to speak.  Also, with a lost boy king named Arthur, I expected Arthurian/Holy Grail/etc type gags, but other than a psychedelic Merlin the film completely ignored that opportunity.

There also isn’t as much in the way of  sight gags and verbal wordplay as their has been in the previous two films.

Recommendation:  See it
Rating:  3.5 out of 5 Stars
Next Film:  Shrek Forever After

Shrek 2

  • Title:  Shrek 2
  • Director:  Andrew Adamson, Kelly Asbury, Conrad Vernon
  • Date:  2004
  • Studio:  Dreamworks Pictures
  • Genre:  Animation, Musical, Romance, Comedy
  • Cast:  Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Julie Andrews, Antonio Banderas, John Cleese, Jennifer Saunders
  • Format:  Widescreen, Color Animation
  • DVD Format:  R1, NTSC

“Stop!  I have misjudged you!” — Puss-in-Boots
“Join the club — we have jackets.”  — Shrek
“On my honor, I am obliged to accompany you until I have saved your life and you have spared me mine.” — Puss-in-Boots
“I’m sorry, the position of annoying talking animal has already been taken.”  — Donkey

In the second Shrek movie, Fiona and Shrek return from their honeymoon to an invitation from Fiona’s parents to go visit them in Fiona’s home kingdom of Far Far Away.  Fiona thinks this is a great idea and is sure her parents will love Shrek.  Shrek is considerably less sure, and is convinced meeting his in-laws will be a disaster.  They make the long and boring trip to Far Far Away (depicted as Hollywood) only to have the King and Queen be shocked that Fiona has married an ogre, especially the king.  Fairy Godmother, meanwhile, a conniving woman, plots to get her son, the swarmy mama’s boy, Prince Charming married to Fiona, as the King had promised.

This round, it’s Shrek’s turn to show his insecurities, especially about his looks as an ogre.  He takes a potion which turns he and Fiona human (and Donkey into a white horse).  Fairy Godmother and the King try to get Fiona to fall for Charming, but in the end — she tells Shrek she loves him.  And she wants to be with the ogre of her dreams.

Like the first Shrek film, Shrek 2 is filled with great sight gags, inside jokes, word play, and reversals of typical Disney-style fairy tales.  It also pokes fun at the Hollywood Fairy Tale as well.  Puss-in-Boots, voiced by Antonio Banderas is a great addition to the cast.  And, like the first film, the music is great (particularly Fairy Godmother belting out a jazzy rendition of  “Holding Out for a Hero”).

Recommendation:  See it!
Rating:  4 of 5 Stars
Next Film:  Shrek The Third

Shrek

  • Title:  Shrek
  • Directors:  Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson
  • Date:  2001
  • Studio:  Dreamworks Pictures
  • Genre:  Animation, Musical, Comedy, Romance
  • Cast:  Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, John Lithgow
  • Format:  Color, Widescreen, Animated
  • DVD Format:  R1, NTSC

“Bachelorette Number Three is a fiery redhead from a dragon-guarded castle surrounded by hot boiling lava. But don’t let that cool you off. She’s a loaded pistol who likes pina coladas and getting caught in the rain. Yours for the rescuing, Princess Fiona!”  — Magic Mirror

“You know, Donkey, sometimes things are more than they appear.”  — Shrek

 “It’s the world that seems to have a problem with me. People take one look at me and go, ‘Oh help, run!  A big, stupid, ugly, ogre.’ They judge me before they even know me. That’s why I’m better off alone.”  — Shrek

Shrek takes the typical Disney-style Fairy Tale and inverts it, casting the Ogre as the hero who must rescue the Princess. But not only that, Shrek pokes great fun at Disney and as traditional Fairy Tales and even nursery rhymes. It’s almost like watching a parody of the Disney Fairy Tale genre; and the sight gags and verbal humor work very well. But what Shrek is also about is being true to yourself, seeing yourself as beautiful for who and what you are, and coming to terms with the “real you”. And that is a very good message to be sending to kids and teenagers — especially girls, but boys too. Because, for all that Shrek seems to be comfortable with his Ogre lifestyle — he’s also completely alone. And although at first he seems happy that way, very early on in the film, Donkey becomes his friend, and eventually Shrek and Fiona realize their feelings for each other and are married. Or, at least, become a couple.

The film begins with a musical introduction of Shrek, a content and happy ogre. When townspeople show up with pitchforks and burning torches — he runs them off. Meanwhile, all the fairy tale, magical, and even nursery rhyme characters are being rounded-up by Lord Farquaad. Farquaad dumps these “unwanted creatures” in Shrek’s swamp. Shrek wants peace and quiet, so he goes off to Lord Farquaad’s castle, fights off the Lord’s champion knights, and agrees to take on a quest:  he will rescue Princess Fiona, in return for Farquaad giving him his swamp back.

In a fairly standard fairy tale way, Shrek and Donkey get to the castle where Fiona is being held, rescue her and escape from the dragon. However, the dragon is female and develops a crush on Donkey. This will be important later in the story.

The way back to Farquaad’s castle will take three days and nights. And Fiona has a secret — she refuses to let anyone see her at night because of a curse. At night, Fiona turns into an ogress and thinks she’s ugly and unlovable. She wants to marry and experience “True love’s first kiss” to break the curse. Fiona also is adept at martial arts, doing the “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” thing to take out Monsieur Robin Hood and his Merry Men. Gradually, over time, Fiona and Shrek come to like each other, but there’s a horrible misunderstanding, and Fiona chooses Lord Farquaad. Meanwhile, Donkey has learned Fiona’s secret. Shrek also rejects Donkey, mostly due to the same misunderstanding. Donkey, though, goes to confront Shrek and the two make-up and become friends again. Donkey then sets Shrek straight, and the two are flown to Lord Farquaad’s castle to stop the wedding. Shrek interrupts the wedding, Fiona chooses Shrek and kisses him, and the curse is broken — revealing her true form to be that of  an ogress. Shrek and Fiona drive off in an onion-shaped carriage.

Overall, Shrek is an excellent film. It’s very funny, it’s got a good story, and the “moral” of being true to yourself and learning to love who you really are is good for children, teens, and adults. I recommend it.

Recommendation:  See it!
Rating:  4 out of  5 Stars
Next Film:  Shrek 2