The Flick Chicks

Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Shrek Forever After

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Shrek Forever After

Like all fairy tales, this one eventually had to come to an end. Yet, only in movieland can a fairy tale, like so many comic book adaptations, turn into a money making franchise spawning sequel after sequel.  Now, after the original blockbuster and two followups, the fourth installment of Shrek from Dreamworks Animation studios brings the story of the loveable big green ogre to a conclusion, and it is satisfying one at that. I am glad to report Shrek Forever After is better than the third, disappointing sequel and is back on track and on par with the first highly enjoyable film that introduced Shrek to  movie audiences.

Directed by Mike Mitchell with returning stars supplying the voice over leads,  "Shrek Forever After” revisits Shrek (Mike Myers) who is now settled into married life with his true love Fiona (Cameron Diaz) and their triplet babies. That doesn't mean the big lug is happy.  Sick and tired of being thought of as a celebrity hero, overwhelmed with the demands of his wife and kids, and bombarded by busloads of fans who invade the privacy of his swamp home, the mellowed Shrek misses the the time when he was feared as an ogre and now thinks of himself as a jolly green joke.  Enter the manipulative, scheming, and diabolical magic maker Rumpelstiltskin (impressively voiced by animator, Walt Dohrn) who takes advantage of Shrek's weak moment by tricking him into signing a contract to exchange any one day of his life for a day when he was single and “wanted” as the scary, big bad ogre.  It doesn't take too long before Shrek finds out there is a catch and a heavy price to pay. By making the deal with the little villain, he has changed the future and has only 24 hours to make it right.   

In going back in time to the way it was before he met Fiona, Shrek has a rude awakening upon discovering that noone knows him.  Unbeknownst to Shrek, Rumple  took the day he was born and therefore, in this alternate version of Far Far and Away, the big green guy never existed. It turns out, his faithful friend, the fast talking, funny Donkey (Eddie Murphy) is a slave to broomstick flying witches. The scene stealing Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) is literally a fat cat, though nonetheless irresistible,and Shrek's sweetie, Fiona is a strong, kick ass warrior and leader of the “Ogre Rebellion” against the tyrannical reigning King, Rumpelstiltskin, and his band of wicked witches.

Writers Darren Klemke and Josh Klausner have borrowed the similar plot device that has been used over and over again in movies like A Wonderful Life and Back to the Future to name a few. Though the idea is not original it continually works, as in this unfolding storyline. The film is filled with all the right stuff you would expect from a good animated fantasy tale and moves along at lively pace.  As in the previous installments, its is fun to see the inclusion of several pop culture references and fairy tale characters including Pinocchio, The Pied Piper, Three Little Pigs, The Big Bad Wolf, and Gingerbread Man. Julie Andrews and John Cleese are back on board lending their vocal talents to the King and Queen. Adding to the mix are Jane Lynch, Jon Hamm, Craig Robinson Kathy Griffin, Lake Bell and Meredith Viera,  supplying the voices of supporting/sideline characters.

Some of the clever, funny dialogue and sight gags, may go over the head of youngsters, but there is enough colorful, humorous shenanigans and action to keep them, as well as adults, entertained. What's more, the family friendly, revitalized franchise is filled with visually stunning 3D animation,  lots of heart and a great message.  Audiences could not have asked for a better way to end the series and leave us happily ever after.