Compare that to the scene in the second film when Puss-in-Boots decides to switch sides:
Puss-in-Boots: Stop, ogre! I have misjudged you.
Shrek: Join the club. We got jackets!
Now that’s the kind of snappy line that a guy like Eddie Murphy can wrap his tongue around. There are dozens more of these in Shrek 2, but barely a handful in The Third. You can hear the talented voice cast straining to make the most out of the lines, but it’s mostly in vain.
The movie is also a little crowded, both literally and metaphorically. What with old favourites like Donkey and Puss, and new additions like Artie and Fiona’s gang of fairytale ladies-that-lunch, things feel a little rushed for a 92-minute-long movie. Throw in the two completely separate plot lines, and Shrek’s anxieties about child rearing and you have to wonder if anyone under 10 will be able to keep up.
Granted Shrek has never been a true kiddies franchise – the sardonic humour has always favoured teens and adults – but this one is just too adult in structure and content to really hold the tots’ attention. After a (well executed) dream sequence in which Shrek finds himself swamped by hundreds of ogre babies, the kids in the theatre I attended began yelling “Mommy, where have the babies gone?” When kids have to ask a question like that, you’ve lost them.
The movie has other charms though. It’s by far the prettiest Shrek we’ve ever seen, with gorgeous chiaroscuro lighting and fluid “camera” movements. The battle sequences are particularly fun to watch – full of visual tricks stolen from action films. But, you have to admit, if the visuals are the best thing about a Shrek film, then something is very wrong.
- Alistair Fairweather
The world's favourite ornery ogre may be starting to run out of steam, but he's still funnier than most of his rivals. Thing is, do we really want a fourth film?
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