Shrek the Third

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It Might Have Been Better to Stop at Two.

May 19, 2007 (Updated May 19, 2007)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Some very funny jokes, the film looks nicer than the first two.

Cons:Silly plot, ho hum jokes.

The Bottom Line: Eh.


I purposefully didn’t read any reviews prior to going into my showing of Shrek the Third this evening. After loving the first film and enjoying the second one even more, I hoped the third edition of the Shrek story would be even as close to as good as its predecessors. Sadly, The Third lacks the magic, humor, and creativity of the first two movies.

Shrek the Third picks up shortly after the second film leaves off. Due to the illness of Fiona’s father, she and Shrek are left in charge of the kingdom, with mixed results. Shrek, Donkey, and Puss in Boots take off in search of Arthur, an heir to the throne and Shrek’s only way to escape from being stuck as king for life. He who would be king turns out to be in the midst of puberty, socially awkward, and generally unexcited about the prospect of ruling the world. In the meantime, Fiona announces her pregnancy and villain Prince Charming returns in an attempt to make his own “happily ever after.”

My Thoughts
Shrek the Third clearly represents an effort to trade on the success of the franchise’s two earlier films with a minimum of effort. The plot feels cobbled together, with themes of father issues mingled in with girl power and traditional fairy tale elements. While the second film in the series seemed to flow logically from the first one, The Third feels very much like a story was made up to give the characters something to do. Perhaps a completely new villain would have helped – Prince Charming, a favorite of mine from the second film, begins to feel a little tired by the end of this one.

The more important question for me, though, is whether this film is as funny as its predecessors. I consider animated movies like Shrek to be enjoyable, escapist entertainment. The first two movies, particularly the second, made me laugh out loud throughout. I even chuckled at the second one when I watched it during a two hour dental appointment which involved multiple cavity fillings. Sadly, The Third is simply not as funny as I hoped it would be. It has a few funny portions, to be sure. Puss and Donkey each get some great one-liners, and I laughed nearly every time Pinocchio appeared on screen. However, the swamp breath jokes and flatulence humor didn’t do much for me, and other jokes have been done to death. I get that Prince Charming is effeminate and the mice are blind. Most disappointingly, I found the pop culture references in this movie to be slightly stale and not particularly innovative.

I’ve been pretty negative thus far. Honestly, Shrek the Third isn’t really that bad compared to recent animated films outside the franchise. I like what has been done with various fairy tale princesses (Snow White, Cinderella, etc.) who we hadn’t seen much of before this movie. The animation quality has also been improved since the earlier films and for this reason I’m glad I splurged to see the film on the big screen. I generally have no complaints about the voice acting and find Justin Timberlake to be a nice addition to the cast as the slightly whiny Artie. Some people will probably really like this movie. I personally just found myself feeling lukewarm about the thing as a whole.

Overall…
The way I feel about Shrek the Third can best be described as “unenthusiastic.” I didn’t hate the film, nor did I actively dislike it. It even made me smile and giggle at times. That said, I can see why some people have given the film a below average rating and I would be hesitant to give someone a recommendation to go see it. Shrek the Third has some great moments but on the whole, the film remains firmly situated in the realm of mediocrity.


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