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Angela May 23, 2010

After the awful piece of shit that was Shrek The Third, it was with much trepidation last night did I hand over my twelve bucks and walk into the fourth and alleged final chapter in the series.  The good news?  It doesn't totally suck.

It's actually pretty decent.  The alternate reality and time paradox angles play host to a number of interesting story ideas, effectively turning a few of the series' conventions on its head.  The idea that Shrek needs to reacquaint himself with all the characters gives the series a much needed reboot in the butt, and there's a moment or two (especially toward the end) where you think, "Oh wow, is this how it's really going to play out?"  It's basically "It's A Wonderful Life", set forth in Far Far Away. 

With that said, it's still a very average film.  There's little in the way of standout memorable sequences, certainly not on the level of the Dragon's Keep rescue from the first or the big castle siege/ballroom dance number at the end of the second.  Rumpelstiltskin falls squarely third in the line of Shrek villains after Farquaad and Fairy Godmother, but he's at least more interesting than Prince Charming.  He's got a devious, weasel-like personality that works for his character, as well as an underlying motive that's made clear early on.  They really scaled back on the pop culture references and parodies this time, which I'm still deciding whether it was an improvement or a detriment.  The favor against them will undoubtedly make for a more timeless story, but in the process, a lot of the edge that made this series work is robbed, resulting in a far more run-of-the-mill film.

The visual look hasn't changed much, but one can definitely discern some notable technical improvements in the animation rendering.  This becomes obvious when they do a montage of the best sequences from all four movies throughout the end credits.  As for the music, with the exception of the Shrek main theme peppered in a few places, Gregson-Williams' score is a blandly uninspired affair.  Even the licensed stuff they used this time around neither matches the scenes nor sticks out in the mind.

I rarely ever do a ranking style like this, but I'm fairly confident in where I stand with these films:

Shrek 2 >>> Shrek 1 >>>> Shrek 4 >>>>>> Shrek 3

So, yeah.  Forever doesn't disappoint, but it doesn't really impress either.  If reaching middling status has become the franchise's new aim, then I believe it's time to put this puppy to rest.

Adam Corn May 23, 2010

Hmm I would consider that part about the end credits partly spoilerish.  Not that it divulges details of the plot, but I would have preferred it to be a surprise.  (I know I'm asking for it by reading a review before seeing the movie, but still.)

After the awfulness of Shrek the Third I had no intention of the seeing this latest installment, but given the decent reaction it's getting may give it a go on a slow weekend.  Still I'm relieved to read it didn't do gangbusters opening weekend box office; hopefully Dreamworks will take that as a sign that it's time to let the ogre retire to his swamp.

Nice to see someone else appreciates Shrek 2.  I've read lots of comments about it being a step down from the original but after plenty of viewings I like it just as much if not more.  Both of the first two films have their qualities.

Ashley Winchester May 23, 2010

Seriously, this better be the final freakin' chapter. That didn't stop Jason however....

I think Capcom holds the crown for pointless sequels (X6, X7...)

Also, did we need a Toy Story 3? *cringe*

SonicPanda May 24, 2010

Ashley Winchester wrote:

Seriously, this better be the final freakin' chapter.

Also, did we need a Toy Story 3? *cringe*

Well, there were originally going to be SIX Shrek movies, but Bernie Madoff apparently stung Katzenberg of Dreamworks, so they truncated it. There is a Puss in Boots spinoff forthcoming, however.
As far as TS3 is concerned, that's Disney's fault. Once the ink was dry on their deal formally acquiring Pixar, the first things they asked for were sequels to Toy Story and Cars (ancilliary money is absolute nuts on the latter). What's more, the original movie Pixar had slated for after those two, Brave, has been bumped down the line for...Monsters, Inc 2. Three sequel in a row. Remember when Lasseter took over their animation department to cure their sequelitis?

Angela's critique of Shrek 4 gives me hope, mainly because her preference order for the other films mirrors mine pretty exactly. I still probably won't catch it in theatres, but at least I won't be dreading the inevitable Christmastime DVD viewing. I'm behind on my animation anyway; still have yet to see Princess and the Frog.

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