Shrek Forever After is the fourth film in the ogre starring fantasy series from Dreamworks and according to the marketing material the final film in the series. It is quite sad witnessing the transformation of the once witty and enjoyable series from a fantastical romp in fairytale land for both children and adults alike to an unfunny and at times desperate feeling film.
Sure Shrek has all the trappings that made its past films such successes. It has Mike Myers in the roll of the grumpy green ogre, Shrek. It has Eddie Murphy returning to his talking ass routine as Donkey. It has Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas, Julie Andrews and John Cleese all returning to fill their famous roles but much like the third film in the series, Shrek Forever After is just missing the heart that the first two films in the series had.
In this fourth, and hopefully final installment, Shrek is having something of a midlife crisis. His life has become formulaic and in a moment of weakness he, being the ogre he is, signs over his existence for just one day feeling like a real ogre, like the old days. He does so to Rumpelstiltskin, who has eyes on ruling Far Far Away, and Shrek’s task this time around is to set things right by convincing Fiona, now a warrior princess to love him all over again, ultimately destroying Rumpel’s plans.
The premise in itself should work but instead of trying to do something new with the characters, the story directs them in a purely unoriginal direction, complete with tired jokes. Despite running only 93 minutes long, Shrek Forever After feels long and while watching it I kept feeling that I had seen this all before. And most of it I have seen before.
The film does have a couple saving graces. The film looks great. The animation is spot on and with Shrek Forever After, Dreamworks has delivered the best looking Shrek to date. But it is the ending that shines the most. The dialogue spoken between Shrek and Fiona during the ending sequence is heart-warming and tear inducing but sadly to get to this you have to sit through nearly 90 minutes of unoriginal and unfunny material.
Ultimately the film failed to entertain me in anyway shape or form but worst of all it failed to entertain my youngest daughter, who at two is showing the makings of a critic. As we were leaving the theater she looked up to me and said, “Daddy, that was not a very good movie”. Sweetheart, I wholeheartedly agree.
2 out of 5.