MOVIE REVIEW …
SHREK FOREVER AFTER
A Hollywood director once described his latest blockbuster as being too 'toyetic'. He meant the film had become a mere cipher for merchandising opportunities than providing genuine entertainment. Shrek Forever After could be described like this as it becomes lost in a vacuum of creative retreat. That's probably a harsh way to describe the latest chapter in a beloved animated series, but the inventive well which served it wonderfully over four movies appears to have finally run dry.
Living in his swamp with Fiona and three kids, Shrek is starting to feel the pressure. Tired of the daily familial and work routine, he wishes for a day of hassle-free fun. Rumpelstiltskin offers him a contract where Shrek arrives in a time before he met his wife and friends, but also when the wicked Rumpelstiltskin reigns supreme. Wanting his old life back, Shrek races against the clock to restore the balance and the craziness of his fame filled life.
Shrek Forever After suffers from a bad case of 'sequel-itis' where each proceeding film lessened what made the original so great. Ever so surely the charm of Shrek's first outing has been deflated with the latest having nothing new to say. It's not that it's bad - just ordinary - as if the writers couldn't think of anything new and decided to re-hash the first film's plot. This may have been an ok idea at the time, but as Shrek's audience has grown so unfortunately has the series' mythology, as the more adult tone to the story prevents it from re-capturing the joyful fairytale qualities of previous entries.
There's still some fun to be found if you look closely. Rumpelstiltskin is a nice addition with his wicked ways well served by the coven of naughty witches. This is the only new element which works as most of the story focuses on Shrek's courting of Fiona which we've already seen. The voice cast are still fine as is the animation which is superb as always although once again the 3-D version adds nothing to the overall effect other than taking more money out of the pocket.
Billed as 'The Final Chapter', it can only be hoped the producers take heed. A tired re-tread of what was done better before, it's time the jolly green ogre found new pastures and for animation to find a new hero to spin the ever growing merchandise web.
Movie Review by Patrick Moore
Shrek Forever After released in Australia on Thursday 17 June 2010.
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Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at current movie releases in Australia.