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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 21, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 21
Shrek Forever After marred by lazy writing
Arts & Entertainment
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Shrek Forever After marred by lazy writing

by Scott Rice - SGN Contributing Writer

Shrek Forever After
Opening May 21


Take one part It's a Wonderful Life, add a dash of pop culture references, a little Wizard of Oz, a touch of Faustian deal-making, a bevy of stars, and a dollop of Brothers Grimm, and you get Shrek Forever After.

On the positive side, the production values are great. The movie looks good. The animation is fascinating, the 3-D turned out nicely, and the perspective tricks are fun without being corny. This is the first Shrek film in 3-D, and they've been made before - three times before, in fact.

The actors know what they're doing, even if they seem a tad bored. Cameron Diaz, Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, and Antonio Banderas are vets with mega star power who are sleepwalking through this one, and I get the feeling the only thing that will jolt them from their slumber is the sound of money falling through the air. But you can't blame them; they've all been here before - three times, in fact.

The new villain, Rumpelstiltskin (Walt Dohrn), is mean and greedy and vaguely effeminate, as usual. There are witches and dragons and scads of familiar characters tossed together who don't traditionally go together, just like before - three times, in fact.

It's all been done before but that's not the ultimate sin of Shrek Forever After. The ultimate sin is the lazy writing. The fourth Shrek flick finds the ogre bored with married life and losing his identity to his relationship (it's tough to be a father AND an ogre). Like a '70s-era car lot owner with white patent leather loafers and a matching belt, Shrek wants out.

This rather abject, yet all too familiar scenario is not the typical fairy tale horror show that usually falls upon our fairy tale protagonists. I have a feeling these scenes will ring way too true for many kids in the audience. As Shrek began to draw his discontent, a young girl behind me let out an involuntary groan and said quite loudly, "I don't want to watch this." It was heartbreaking.

The rest of the story is a rehash and hodgepodge of familiar plot turns and standard fairy tale devices. I won't worry about ruining the ending for you since the movie's title already does that.

If you're over 8 years old and you absolutely must have a Shrek fix, rent the original and save yourself some cash and be reminded that even an ogre can find true love. If you've got kids under 8 years old, make sure to take them to see it in IMAX, because the 3-D visuals are the best thing about Shrek Forever After.

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