Shrek The Third

2007-10-02 12:33
What it’s about:

Now that Shrek and Fiona are happily married, they are looking forward to moving back to the swamp. But then his father-in-law, King Harold, falls ill and Shrek is forced to find a new heir or become the next king himself. To make matters worse, Prince Charming is plotting a coup d'état and, with Shrek away, it’s up to Fiona and her pals to battle the army of baddies.

What we thought of it:

Can a movie franchise suffer from a mid-life crisis? That would certainly explain the problems with Shrek The Third. There’s no doubt that the series is in the prime of its life – the latest edition opened at number one in America and a fourth is already in the works – but something is rotten in fairytale land.

It’s not that the movie is bad per se, it’s more that what seemed so easy in the first two films now feels too much like hard work. Oh, there are plenty of gags, some of which are quite funny, but few as sharply honed as in the first two films. The writers’ emphasis used to be on clever visual puns and witty verbal exchanges, now they favour laboured slapstick and toilet humour.

Here’s an example of the kind of lacklustre writing that drags down Shrek The Third. In this scene Shrek and Artie (the nerdy heir to the throne) are finally bonding, and Artie is explaining what Shrek needs to be a better mentor:
Artie: With less yelling, and more soap.
Shrek: Thanks, Artie.
Artie: The soap is because you stink. Really bad.
Shrek: Yeah, I got that.

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?

Ryan Matthews 2007/06/26 9:23 PM
Black and White Alistair, You must be a fan of the band, not so? Chiaroscuro my ass.
Alistair 2007/06/27 8:49 AM
Umm, Ryan "Chiaroscuro" means "the drawing of forms where depth and space are illustrated by contrasting light and shade." It doesn't mean "black & white". And I don't have the faintest idea what you mean about a "band".
Jane 2007/06/27 8:56 AM
Stooopid People are just desperate to post their dumb ass comments...
Hlanganani C Mareana 2007/06/27 9:00 AM
Shrek fan i watched as two films over and over again, i just get enough of the movies, its the best, me and my family are Shrek fans, i'm just looking forwardto watching the new one to be released, hope is as good and more as the others
Melusi 2007/06/27 11:57 AM
Shrek rocks, He king King in my books...
zee 2007/06/27 12:07 PM
Unnecessary fast paced n overlaping I liked the pinochio role-it brought sanity and intellect exchanges- sort of calm things down for me, ever so sparingly though.
beef 2007/06/27 12:52 PM
Jane depressed sad jane! Jane...never had and never will have a partner in your life neeh, hence all the hatred when ppl express themselves..coz u dont know what it feels like..get urself a lifesize doll and name him will help your depressed state!!!
Tori Foxcroft 2007/06/27 1:54 PM
Bit of a letdown... I got a Shrek 2 T-shirt in my goodie bag, which kinda killed it for me. Donkey and Puss swapping roles was quite funny, though.
Brett Pillay 2007/06/27 2:15 PM
Shrek 3 I felt let down by this version of Shrek as I expected a lot more of the "cheeky" dialog between Shrek and Donkey. The highlight of the previous movies for my kids have always been the humour of Donkey. We certainly expected more for the kids.
suzette 2007/06/27 3:46 PM
mrs quite delicious
Jess 2007/06/30 9:53 PM
It was funny i really enjoyed the movie, it was still funny, i laughed so hard that i cried!
katey 2007/06/30 9:58 PM
Loved it ok, whoever this reviewer is needs some help, this was a great movie, somethign enjoyable. i had a baby boy (no older than 4) laughing loudly in the seat behind me. Want something fun, then see this
Alicia Chamaille 2007/07/01 3:05 PM
Shrek3 it was ok. not as good as the first two but that is because we expect it to be funny so in the end after you have watched it, it does not seem funny!!!
ASHLEIGH 2007/07/01 4:44 PM
FU N THE SHREK NEW movie was the best one ever
Cole 2007/07/01 4:59 PM
Shrek's goin down down down! The plot in Shrek the Third was the same as in Shrek2, where in the beginning Shrek and Fiona are battling things oout between them, then they're separated, then right in the end they realise that everything's ok so they live happily ever after, after fighting it out with the villians. The producers of Shrek need a new storyline with loads of excitement for the next movie, otherwise they'll lose all of their fans and viewers. The best movie so far was the first one, since at the time it was very original. But now, they're goin down!
Gani 2007/07/01 6:31 PM
Shrek the... every year until 2010 I enjoyed the third Shrek. Of course I expected it to be different from the 1st & 2nd ones, but still fun on its own. Please let them bring more Shreks - I'd rather watch many Shreks than the current political leadership debate. Gani, Bfn
Jessica 2007/07/01 7:16 PM
Good, but not good enough ok; i think this movie was great; but the writers are clearly running out of ideas. The storyline wasnt great; but at least there were still a lot of good scenes in there; but when Prince Charming tried to kill Shrek, and he had his sword out, there were 2 kids in front of me (about 5 years old) that started crying!!!! This one is a BIG change from the last 2. I just hope the writers think very carefully about the fourth one.
Emily 2007/07/03 9:21 AM
Awesome Shrek the 3rd was really good..... The ending was weaker than the first 2 but then again its hard to make things seem so funny to people who are expecting it to be something which it obviously wont be! How many of you could do better? And how many of you didn't laugh out loud at least once in that movie??
Nitasha 2007/07/03 1:06 PM
Still had the audience laughing I agree with Emily. People are expecting too much. I watched the movie after reading Alistair's review and immediately thought I would be disappointed and therefore did not have high expectations. If you go into the cinema with no high expectations as I did, then you will enjoy the movie. It is worth watching.
Gani 2007/07/04 9:13 AM
Jane "the stooopid" Can it just maybe be possible that pehaps Shrek and Donkey (and their loyal fans) are pressumably happier than what Jane the "Stooopid dump ass" will ever likely be? - Gani, Bfn
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