Shrek The Final Chapter
By Dirk Sonniksen | May 21, 2010
Director: Mike Mitchell
Writer(s): Josh Klausner, Darren Lemke
Starring: (Voice) Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas, Walt Dohrn, Julie Andrews
Caught up in the day-to-day calamities of domestic hell, Shrek (Mike Myers) pines for just one day to be that disruptive, terrifying, carefree ogre of yesteryear. But who’s a big green guy to turn to when life gets dull? If you’re Shrek, relief lies in the maniacal mind of Rumpelstiltskin, a twisted little fellow who’s willing to grant Shrek his wish—but at a price. Shrek agrees to give Rumpelstiltskin one day of his life, and in return Shrek is granted a day of fun and frolic, sans the wife and kids. But Shrek will soon find that you can never really go back, and quickly learns that being “invisible” has its price. The adventure begins, with Shrek setting out to right the upended land of Far Far Away, and once again seek out the elusive True Love’s First Kiss.
The fourth installment of the über-successful Shrek franchise, much like the previous three, uses old tricks and gimmicks to bring in the crowds. In the case of Shrek Forever After, it’s a fresh helping of It’s a Wonderful Life, with Shrek being shown what life would be like without him. This alternate universe was a fairly obvious choice for a series that many believed had run its course; with Charming and Fairy Godmother out of the picture, the series needed a reboot of sorts.
Enter Rumpelstiltskin (Walt Dohm), an antagonist that brings back memories of Pee-wee Herman—with an evil side. The new bad guy, coupled with a badass Fiona (Cameron Diaz), army of ogres in-tow, breathe life into a series that had started to wane with Shrek the Third. Donkey and Puss take more of a backseat in Forever After, which was a bit disappointing, as their comedic vibe tends to drive the story in previous installments. In general, Shrek Forever After features a trimmed-down cast of characters, with less of the fairy tale oddballs you’ve come to expect and the inside jokes with that adult appeal, but the film overall will still have adults laughing with the kids.
It was a no-brainer that Forever After would be in 3D, and unlike many of the latest 3D failures, Shrek Forever After actually benefits from this latest cinematic craze. There are no zany, jump-out-at-you type effects, but the look of the film is pleasing to the eye, and probably comes closet to rivaling the 3D prowess of UP.
It is indeed fortunate that director Mike Mitchell stayed true to the previous Shrek films, an approach that was desperately needed for the final installment. This was one that could have gone horribly wrong, but ends up an entertaining, cohesive romp through a battered but madcap Far Far Away, with plenty of the comedic fun that the folks in the Shrek camp have become known for. Shrek Forever After is also referred to as “The Final Chapter”; please let this be the final chapter. This is a fitting end to a franchise that has placed an indelible mark on animated film…and made a handful of actors extremely rich.