Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

I’m not really much of a Shrek guy to be quite honest with you.  I found the first Shrek film to be reasonably entertaining, but the second one was simply terminable in my humble opinion.  But, being as how that film raked in close to 400 million bucks, you don’t need to have MBA in finance to know that a third film will be speeding down the pike before you can say ‘Cha-Ching!’  The problem with ‘Shrek 3’ as was the issue with ‘Shrek 2’ is that there’s simply not that much there.  I mean it’s animated beautifully, and the voice acting is assured and competent, but the jokes aren’t all that funny that often, and the pacing is a bit uninspired. 


As we get reacquainted with Shrek (voiced by Mike Myers) and Fiona (Cameron Diaz), they are watching over the kingdom of Far Far Away as Fiona’s father King Harold (John Cleese) is ill, knocking on the stairway to Heaven.  Of course assisting Shrek and Fiona with the royal daily duties are his loyal friend Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and the always suave Puss In Boots (Antonio Banderas).  King Harold takes a decided turn for the worse, but in his dying words he asks Shrek to be the new king of Far Far Away.  The big green ogre balks at this and knows there must be somebody better suited for the task, so in his new dying words King Harold does mention the existence of one known heir, a nephew named Artie.  So Shrek and his motley crew of talking animals (sounds like the Devil to me) go off on a quest to find the new King Artie.


On the other side of town Prince Charming (Rupert Everett) is sick of being mocked and scorned and has formed an alliance with all of the villains of fairy tale lore, including Captain Hook, The evil queen in Snow White and Rumplestilskin among others to take the land of Far Far Away and create their own happily ever after.

Shrek has also learned that he is about to become a father, and when he meets the geeky, picked on Artie (Justin Timeberlake) he is forced to do some soul searching about his feelings, his ability to be a father and his the way he relates to others.  He also has to get back to Far Far Away and save the land from the Evil (kind of) Prince Charming and rescue his wife and restore peace to the land.  Will he succeed?  Well I’m not one for spoilers but…


One should always be concerned with a film that has no less than eight credited screenwriters.  EIGHT!  Now I have no idea on how eight people can get together and work on a script, which equates to like 4.5 keyboard keys per person, but I would guess it would damn near impossible to come up with a cohesive, focused, coherent and flowing storyline with that many credited screenwriters.  I use the word credited, because we all know there had to be some uncredited forks in that pie as well.  The thing that is disappointing about that many screenwriters means that it equates to about half a funny joke per writer as that was about how many laughs ‘Shrek 3’ had going for it.  All those writers, who I am assuming are all fatherless men between the ages of 32 and 40 apparently spent most of their time squeezing in various pop culture references which I got, but went completely over my 11-year-old sons head who had to be satisfied looking at the pretty colors flying by.  Some of the references I sure hope went over his head at least, such as the dope smoking gag, or the hooters restaurant gag, or the numerous other decidedly adult oriented references sprinkled throughout the film.


The soundtrack was another issue for me as well, as the throng of screenwriters and producers completely forgot who they were making this movie for.  I love the song ‘Live and let die’ and ‘Thank you for letting me be myself’.  But anybody under the age of twenty wouldn’t know Paul McCartney or Sly Stone if they slapped them in the face.  When young future king Artie proclaims that his city will be built on ‘Rock and Roll’, I know that’s a Starship reference, but I’m an old man.  It was like this throughout the entire film.


There were laughs to be had though as the narcoleptic Sleeping Beauty was pretty darned funny, and Banderas and Murphy managed to squeeze some laughs out of the audience but overall, ‘Shrek 3’ was a fairly disappointing effort.  I actually enjoyed the fairy tale send up of Little Red Riding Hood in the animated ‘Hoodwinked’ much better than ‘Shrek 3’ though  the animation in ‘Hoodwinked’ looked like a child’s scribble scrabble next to that of the excellence in ‘Shrek’, but the STORY was more coherent, crisper, cleaner and funnier in ‘Hoodwinked’.


All I can say is remember who these films are ultimately for.  If the plan is to make an animated feature for adults, which I’m completely down for, then market it as such and screw the Fast Food tie ins, and Wal-Mart merchandising.  ‘Shrek 3’ has tried to make a movie for everybody, and as a result has created a film for practically no one except marketing executives.

Real Time Web