After settling into swamp life with his wife Fiona (Diaz) and three boisterous kids, Shrek (Myers) starts to miss the excitement of being an ogre. So when Rumpelstiltskin (Dohrn) offers him one day of true ogredom in exchange for one day of Shrek's childhood, he signs on the dotted line. But Rumpelstiltskin has an evil plan, and now Shrek is lost in an alternate reality in which his friends Donkey and Puss (Murphy and Banderas) don't recognise him. Neither does Fiona, and he only has one day to capture her heart.
The film has a warm, engaging tone that draws us into the dramatic possibilities rather than the comical ones, which is an interesting change of tack. As a result, there aren't many zingy satirical touches, although the screenwriters continue to plunder fairy tale lore with references to Robin Hood (forest ambushes) and The Wizard of Oz (cackling witches).
But their biggest reference point is the Shrek movies themselves, and the biggest laughs come in the way they subvert their own story in this new reality in which Puss is a pampered fat cat, Donkey is even more clueless than before and Fiona is a fiery warrior princess. And the fast-talking, slithery Rumpelstiltskin is a terrific new character.
Meanwhile, the animation is seriously impressive, with gorgeously detailed imagery, although the unnecessary 3D leaves it looking somewhat murky. This is mainly a problem with the expansive but gloomy settings; the characters emerge more realistically than ever, with vivid movement and witty touches that really bring them to life, along with the now-effortlessly perfect voice work of the cast.
All of these elements come together wonderfully in various big set pieces, including a couple of exhilarating action scenes. But this isn't a classic. If young kids are bored by the serious themes and older audiences yearn for more wackiness, at least we have a story that holds our interest. Plus lots of fart jokes.
Run time: 93 mins
In Theaters: Friday 21st May 2010
Box Office USA: $238.3M
Box Office Worldwide: $734M
Distributed by: Paramount
Production compaines: DreamWorks Animation, Pacific Data Images (PDI)
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 58%
Fresh: 109 Rotten: 80
IMDB: 6.4 / 10
Director: Mike Mitchell
Producer: Teresa Cheng, Gina Shay
Screenwriter: Josh Klausner, Darren Lemke
Starring: Mike Myers as Shrek (voice), Eddie Murphy as Donkey (voice), Cameron Diaz as Princess Fiona (voice), Antonio Banderas as Puss in Boots (voice), Julie Andrews as Queen (voice), Jon Hamm as Brogan (voice), John Cleese as King (voice), Craig Robinson as Cookie (voice), Walt Dohrn as Rumpelstiltskin / Priest / Krekraw Ogre (voice), Jane Lynch as Gretched (voice), Lake Bell as Patrol Witch / Wagon Witch #2 (voice), Kathy Griffin as Dancing Witch / Wagon Witch #1 (voice), Mary Kay Place as Guard Witch (voice), Kristen Schaal as Pumpkin Witch / Palace Witch (voice), Meredith Vieira as Broomsy Witch (voice)
Also starring: Teresa Cheng
As with his Formula One documentary Senna, filmmaker Asaf Kapadia cleverly uses archival footage to...
This declining franchise really needed a jolt to the head, but the producers disappointingly opt...
Resisting the temptation to capitalise on the camp value of these characters, Channing Tatum and...
Wacky enough to make us smile but never laugh out loud, this screwball comedy harks...
A relentless onslaught of violent action, this movie is notable mainly because there's a woman...
First-time feature filmmaker John Maclean takes a strikingly original approach to the Western, creating a...
Despite this being a film about Sherlock Holmes, the fact that it's not much of...
Both shameless and shamelessly entertaining, this relentlessly boyish movie carries on exactly as the TV...