Anthony's Film Review
Shrek Forever After (2010)
The final chapter of the Shrek series manages to return to the spirit of the earlier Shrek movies...
After the very disappointing Shrek the Third, I wasn't even sure if I wanted to see the fourth Shrek movie, Shrek Forever After. Knowing that the ogres Shrek and Fiona became parents in the third movie, I couldn't think of what else DreamWorks Animation could possibly do to continue the series, even if the fourth movie is intended to be the final Shrek movie. But eventually, I put aside all my concerns about the movie and started watching it with a totally open mind. And you know what? This movie is actually a good one. Allow me to elaborate.
The fourth Shrek movie, interestingly enough, doesn't begin after the events of Shrek the Third. Rather, it starts in the past, sometime during the first Shrek movie. The king and queen of Far Far Away are desperate to save their daughter, Princess Fiona, from captivity, and prepare to sign a document with Rumplestiltskin that would solve their problems by erasing the past. But just before they do, they quickly learn that Shrek the ogre has saved Fiona, cancelling their intention to sign. The purpose of this scene is simply to introduce Rumplestiltskin as the villain, because he is bitter about not getting the deal he wants.
Right after this prologue, we get into the movie. Shrek and Fiona are at their swamp home, along with their three ogre babies. They, along with Donkey, his dragon mate, their donkey-dragon kids, and Puss-in-Boots, form one big happy family. Or so it seems. Apparently, Shrek does find parenting to be very monotonous and his life to be less exciting than years before. It's so bad that he loses his temper at a birthday party. That's when he opens up to Fiona about how he longs for the good old days.
What happens next is very obvious. Shrek has a chance encounter with Rumplestiltskin. The two talk for a while before Shrek learns that Rumplestiltskin can help change his past. Shrek signs the contract, and right away, Rumplestiltskin disappears, along with the rest of the surrounding world. Shrek finds himself in the same place, but everything has changed. People are afraid of Shrek, to the ogre's delight. However, the rest of the land of Far Far Away is now a dark landscape. Basically, Shrek Forever After is like any time travel or alternative universe story where all sorts of things have gotten screwed up.
Basically, Shrek is on a quest to undo what he has done and restore the world that he has lost. He has to do it before the day is over, or else the curse he unleashed will be permanent. I must say that the adventure is interesting to follow, because the whole thing is eerie. For one thing, Donkey, Fiona, and Puss-in-Boots do appear but have different occupations and do not know Shrek. As for Rumplestiltskin, he is the ruler of this horrid place, and with the persona of a slick and ruthless con artist, he is certainly a villain who is nearly as cruel as Lord Farquaad from Shrek 1 or the evil fairy godmother from Shrek 2.
Shrek Forever After features the same elements that have made the earlier films work, including humor, pop culture references, a fun story, and amusing characters. Thankfully, it doesn't go overboard with the humor and pop culture references, which was perhaps Shrek the Third's biggest mistake. So if there is any fear that Shrek Forever After is as bad as Shred the Third, don't worry, it isn't. Instead, it falls in the same category of quality as the first and second Shrek movies. I would even go as far as to say that the best way to enjoy the series of Shrek movies is to watch the first, second, and fourth movies in order while ignoring the third one.
With that, I shall now say that I'm relieved that Shrek Forever After is not a bad movie and that it wraps up the series once and for all. Kudos to Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas, Julie Andrews, John Cleese, and the rest of the cast for lending their voices to memorable characters. Thanks also go to the people at DreamWorks Animation for bringing us this series of movies about the lovable ogre and his pals. As much as I hated the third movie, I enjoyed following the adventures of Shrek over the ten years that the series has lasted.
For more information about Shrek Forever After, visit the Internet Movie Database.
In addition, check out my reviews of the following: