Movie Review: Shrek Forever After (2010)
Fortified with vivid voice-work from a celebrity-stocked cast, Shrek Forever After follows in the footsteps of three previous films, all of them but one being clearly superior to this film. This one, we are told, will be the last installment in the series—and that – dear readers – is a good thing.
The only monumental flaw in this could-have-been positively charming endeavor is its plot, an audacious rip-off of It's a Wonderful Life, and believe it or not, Back to the Future. Add a little something (or big something) green and you have this inferior end to a now magic-drained fantasy. The novelty of the 2001 film has long since worn off.
Shrek (Mike Myers) has fallen into a routine of being “the good ogre” and misses simpler times when humans were terrified of the big, green monsters. In despair and frustrated with his plain life of husband and father, he strikes a deal with Rumpelstiltskin (Walt Dorn) in which he gives away a day of his life in return for one day of being a mean, terrorizing ogre like olden times.
The plan is a horrible manipulation. Shrek finds that the day he gave away was the day of his birth. Consequently, he never existed, leaving Rumpelstiltskin to rule and thrive in an empire of Wizard of Oz witches and maliciously employed magic.
With the voice talents of Eddie Murphy (Donkey), Cameron Diaz (Princess Fiona), and an irresistible Antonio Banderas voicing Puss in Boots, Shrek Forever After gets off to an almost incomprehensibly fast start, but does manage to be entertaining and emotionally satisfying in course, as Shrek strives to undo the wicked work of Rumpelstiltskin to reclaim his old life. But if he doesn't act fast, he will be “erased from existence,” Back to the Future-style!
Written more for children than adults – with its repetitive and highly annoying sound effects that will have the little tikes laughing and the adults cringing – this Shrek will appeal more to younger children than older kids. Even long-time fans will not find themselves dazzled by what is offered. The writers are obviously out of ideas.
Grade: B- (3 stars)
Rated: PG (for some intense action and crude humor)
Director: Mike Mitchell
Summary: Rumpelstiltskin tricks a mid-life crisis-burdened Shrek into allowing himself to be erased from existence and cast in a dark alternate time-line where Rumpel rules supreme.
Starring: Mike Myers "Shrek" Eddie Murphy "Donkey," Cameron Diaz "Princess Fiona," Antonio Banderas "Puss in Boots," Julie Andrews "Queen," Walt Dohrn "Rumpelstiltskin / Priest / Krekraw Ogre," Kathy Griffin "Dancing Witch / Wagon Witch #1"
Genre: Animation / Adventure / Comedy / Family / Fantasy