By Charly SHELTON
Shrek has had many misadventures over the nearly 10 years since the green ogre debuted from the then new animation department of Dreamworks SKG. He saved the princess, defeated the evil Lord Farquaad, married his princess-turned-ogre true love, then he was turned human, saved his princess again – this time from the evil Prince Charming and his mother, The Fairy Godmother, then after all that, he settled down, had three kids, became king, abdicated his throne to King Arthur, and finally back to his swamp to raise his family in peace. Or so he thought.
Shrek (voiced by Mike Myers) is a celebrity, loved by all, with a devoted wife Fiona (voiced by Cameron Diaz), and three ogre kids, a loud best friend Donkey (voiced by Eddie Murphy) and an ensemble cast of friends gathered from all fairy tales.
But he felt he wasn’t a real ogre anymore – he wasn’t feared, dirty and alone, he was a community member and leader. So he enters into a deal with Rumplestiltskin (voiced by Walt Dohrn) to trade one day from his childhood for one day as a real ogre like he used to be.
All seems to be going well until he sees Rumple is king and his friends are oppressed. And the kicker is that the day that Shrek gave up was the day he was born. So unless he finds a way to void the contract by the end of his day, Shrek will have never existed. Essentially “It’s A Wonderful Life” but with Shrek.
“Shrek” was released in 2001. It opened small, but was a hit at the box office ($267 million domestic) and a great movie all around. Then “Shrek 2” came out in 2004 to a huge box office reception ($108 million opening weekend, $441 million domestic), and was a pretty good movie, but didn’t strike gold like
the first did. In 2007, “Shrek the Third” came out, and most movie critics wished it hadn’t. Despite that, it outdid both previous movies opening weekend ($121 million opening weekend, $322 million domestic).
Now “Shrek Forever After” (also known as “Shrek Goes Fourth”), the final chapter in the franchise, opened to first place with $71 million – surprisingly low considering the pattern of success from
the previous films as well as what it was up against: Iron Man 2 and Robin Hood leftovers in second and third respectively (both of which beat out SNL spinoff “MacGruber” in its opening weekend, which took sixth with $4.1 million).
And this movie was so much better than the last two “Shrek” adventures that the shock is compounded by the fact that the worst of the four films (Shrek 3) opened nearly twice as big as this, the best film since the original. It gets the whole cast together and makes up for the previous films by making this one so much fun. If you have a chance, see this film. There is something for everyone in the family.
If you have the option of this or any other film in theaters now, see this. “MacGruber,” which also opened this week, is a waste. It fell prey to the same problem as “Reno 911: Miami” – the FCC was not watchdogging them, so they overused the vulgarity, sexuality and language almost to the uncomfortable point. Not worth paying for in theaters, maybe as a DVD if anything.
“Shrek Forever After” is a great film. Take the whole family to see the final Shrek adventure and live the fairy tale one more time.
Rated PG, I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars.