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Movie Review: Shrek Forever After

May 21, 2010

Shrek Forever After – A DreamWorks Animation Release

http://www.shrek.com/

Release Date: May 21st, 2010

Rated PG for mild action, some rude humour, and brief language.

Running time: 93 minutes

Mike Mitchell (dir.)

Josh Klausner (writer)

Darren Lemke (writer)

Christopher Beck (music)

Mike Myers as Shrek (voice)

Eddie Murphy as Donkey (voice)

Cameron Diaz as Princess Fiona (voice)

Antonio Banderas as Puss in Boots (voice)

Julie Andrews as Queen (voice)

John Cleese as King (voice)

Craig Robinson as Cookie (voice)

Walt Dohrn as Rumpelstiltskin / Priest / Krekraw Ogre (voice)

Photo credit: DreamWorks Animation.

Our reviews below:

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Shrek Forever After Review By John C.

*** (out of 4)

Shrek Forever After is the final chapter in the immensely popular series, and there’s not much denying what a satisfying end it is.  Shrek’s (voice of Mike Myers) life after kids has become monotonous.  Then the obnoxious troll Rumpelstiltskin (Walt Dohrn) offers him a deal to get his old life back for one day, in exchange for a day from his past.  After little thought and several eyeballtini’s, he signs the mysterious contract.  This takes him down a path of rediscovery, ala It’s a Wonderful Life.

Everyone and everything has changed.  Fiona (Cameron Diaz) is now a warrior, and none of Shrek’s friends even know who he is.  Because in this alternate universe, he never existed.  The now adorably overweight Puss (Antonio Banderas) – he no longer fits his boots – and the always hilarious Donkey (Eddie Murphy) steal every scene, as do the other fairy tale creatures.  One of the darkest, funniest scenes comes between Puss and another beloved character.  The only real problem here is that Rumpelstiltskin’s voice is quite annoying.  Although I think it’s meant to be that way, this character really is the weakest part of the film.

So how does Shrek Forever After rank with the rest of the series?  For me, it’s a few steps below the first two, but probably a notch above the third.  This is the end, but it’s one of the finest final chapters that we could have hoped for.  Over the end credits, we see a montage of scenes from the first few films.  This almost serves as a touching rite-of-passage for those of us who’ve been seeing a new Shrek movie once every three years since 2001.

If the recent How To Train Your Dragon was DreamWorks Animation’s masterpiece, then this is a crowd-pleasing encore.  Even though this is a lesser film, it is still a good one none the less.  Although it might be a little too dark for younger kids, Shrek Forever After is lots of fun for everyone else, regardless of whether or not you see it in 3D.

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Shrek Forever After Review By Erin V.

***1/4 (out of 4)

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this film.  I personally like all of the Shrek movies, just some slightly more than others.  It’s certainly not the best of the films, but not necessarily the least.  It does have the kind of plot turns more in tune to the 1st and 2nd installments, I noticed, and is very fitting in the Shrek universe.

Basically the story is, in Shrek Forever After, Shrek feels like his life is becoming mundane, and misses being a ‘real’ ogre.  When he signs a contract with the sleazy Rumpelstiltskin, the life he knows vanishes, replaced by a world that is darker, and makes Rumplestiltskin king.  With 24 hours to stop Rumple, Shrek has to figure out if he was really missing anything after all…

With it’s ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ type premise, we get an interesting take on changed character personalities.  I found Rumplestiltskin tied in well with a bit of interesting back story.  Granted, his voice in the opening ‘book’ scene did sound forced/fake to me, but as the film goes along, it tones down slightly, and does come to suit the character.  As always Puss and Donkey are great fun – and watch for Gingy’s new Gladiator role…  The humour here, while quite a bit darker at times, works.  An added plus is that the trailer doesn’t give it all away, and leaves surprises.

While the story is a bit predictable at times, it still holds your attention.  The animation continues to improve, and the 3D works well – not overly dark.  It would still play well in 2D though.  Overall, Shrek Forever After ends the series well (considering it was advertised as the ‘final chapter’, here’s presuming other than the Puss in Boots’ spinoff, the Shrek films will stay a nice group of four).  The credits also provide a look back through the films, and thank those who’ve worked on them for the last decade.

This is good summer fun for about 7 and up (a bit too dark for younger).  A good resolution to the series, this one is worth seeing in theatres, and will probably enjoy a strong theatrical run.

[An interesting note is that DreamWorks’ Animation has three releases this year.  How To Train Your Dragon, Shrek Forever After, and this November, Megamind – for which a full trailer is attached to Shrek Forever After.  Bear in mind though, that the medium – animation – is pretty much the only thing these films seem to share – they’re all in quite different genres.]

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Shrek Forever After Review By Nicole

*** (out of 4)

The last film in a series of four, Shrek Forever After tells a time travelling story that takes a fresh look at the main characters.  In this tale, Shrek is going through a mid-life crisis.  His kids are now a year old, and they keep him busy all the time.  As a family man, he is no longer scary, and tourists gawk at him, not giving him any privacy.  At the birthday party for his kids, Shrek decides he has had enough.  He wants just one day of his old life back, so he goes to the devilish Rumpelstiltskin to grant him his wish.

Rumpelstiltskin, in a quest for power, convinces Shrek that if he signs a contract to change just one day, everything will be good.  Instead, Shrek is transported to a parallel universe where he has never been born. Here, Rumpelstiltskin is king, and all the ogres are slaves to witches.  Donkey too, is a slave.  Puss in Boots is a pampered, overweight pet to Fiona, who is a warrior in an Ogre resistance army that is trying to overthrow Rumpelstiltskin and his army of witches .  Shrek never intended his world to become a dystopia, and if he doesn’t have love’s first kiss by the end of the day, he and his kids won’t exist.

Shrek Forever After is an exciting movie, reminiscent of both Back to the Future and It’s a Wonderful Life.  Shrek Forever After is also one of the most mature of the Shrek movies.  It’s dark tones, as well as witches, make it more suitable for older kids.  However, for kids over a certain age, Shrek Forever After has a lot of comedic moments, and is a lot of fun.  Some of the best moments come from Puss in Boots, as well as Gingie, who is a gladiator who battles animal crackers.  Shrek Forever After is a fun movie to see over the long weekend.

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Shrek Forever After Review By Maureen

*** (out of 4)

There comes a time in many a parent’s lives when in frustration they lament, ‘can’t I have my old life back even for a day?’  In Shrek Forever After, on the occasion of the triplets first birthday, Shrek asks exactly that.  When the annoying and grumpy character Rumpelstiltskin overhears Shrek, he offers the ogre a deal Shrek can’t resist.  Then in a ogreish It’s a Wonderful Life, Shrek discovers a darker Far Far Away with Rumpelstiltskin in charge, and Fiona, Donkey and Puss strangers to him.

Younger viewers who aren’t familiar with the first three Shrek movies will find this fourth installment somewhat dark and scary.  Rumpelstiltskin’s world is full of evil witches and gladiator fighter ogres.  For the rest of us this movie has just the right balance of dark and light humour.  Donkey and Puss steal every scene they are in.  These two are funnier than ever.  The other characters from the previous movies also provide lots of laughs.  Watch for a particular gasp moment involving my favourite sweet, Gingie.

While this isn’t the best of the Shrek movie it still is a lot of fun.  The Shrek and Fiona romance story is still there and the songs throughout the movie work really well.  The Shrek movies all have solid soundtracks.  As for the 3D exerience, go ahead if you enjoy 3D, otherwise Shrek Forever After will play out just as well in 2D.

Treat yourself and your family and friends to a place Far, Far Away for the holiday weekend.  This one’s worth seeing now, in theatres.

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Shrek Forever After Review By Tony

*** (out of 4)

Shrek Forever After, the fourth in the series, is somewhat darker than the others. Bored by domestic life, Shrek is tricked by Rumpelstiltskin into going back to a day before he found Fiona.  Unfortunately in that alternate reality, Rumpelstiltskin was king, ruling with his army of witches, while the ogres were a band of rebels in hiding, led by Fiona.  Shrek would have to reform his friendships with Donkey and the now obese Puss in Boots, and kiss Fiona before the day was over to break the spell.

This is a worthy sequel, even if it may not be the best of the series.  People unfamiliar with the franchise might not get all the references to previous episodes, and small children may find it scary in places. The 3D is well done, particularly in the opening shot of a horse-drawn carriage, though the film would still hold up well in 2D.  A sequence of images from earlier films over the closing credits makes this seem, as advertised, to be the last in the series, but I wouldn’t bet too much on it.

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Consensus: Shrek Forever After is a fun summer movie, and is able to stand up with the other films in the series.  For older kids (7+) and adults, it’s worth seeing in theatres. *** (Out of 4)

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