Shrek Forever After is a merely passable Shrek, if you’ll forgive the oddly coined phrase. It does not have the originality, freshness and vibrancy that the first two have and even falls a little short of the third installment. It’s not so much the retread factor that leads to this feeling of being underwhelmed so much as it just the uninspired effort of this film’s storyline.
The story being singled out because plot-wise there’s nothing technically wrong. Things happen pretty much as they should here and it even throws in a twist or two. However, to quote Rumplestiltskin in this very same film the “metaphysical paradox” is a rather unnecessary encumbrance to an extent.
The film seeks to tell a story about “the grass not being greener on the other side” and “how lucky you are” by having Shrek suffer a sort of existential crisis and not really feeling like an Ogre. Which is all well and good. In fact, his ennui and the demonstration thereof leads to the best bit of filmmaking in the whole picture when we get a quick quotidian montage showing just how bored with his life Shrek had gotten.
So the film is well set-up it’s just how they decide to convey the aforementioned lessons that’s a bit convoluted. Shrek ends up being tricked into signing a contract which changes the past and of course has a very convenient escape clause. Which is all very convenient after its complicated.
It’s just a tired premise that’s applied to characters which were fresh at a time. It’s funny but it riffs on the same things too frequently such as the annoying kid who wants Shrek to roar or Puss in Boots fat jokes. They are funny but just very frequent.
Most of the voice talents are all fine and don’t really stand out too prominently except perhaps for Antonio Banderas as Puss in Boots. The real stand out is Walt Dohn as Rumpelstitlskin who brings energy,verve and pizzazz to his roles and is really one of the bright spots of the film.
As for the 3D, it’s not in your face but it certainly doesn’t look bad at all. It’s most definitely not a con job as some recent 3D experiences have been.
While it may not be the best note for this franchise to go out on let us hope it is truly the final chapter. Perhaps the only thing worse than closing your franchise in less-than-stellar fashion is lying about the fact that its over.