Shrek Forever After Movie Review
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.