Shrek feels forced as a great idea is squeezed too hard

2008-10-02 08:05

Shrek and Shrek II were successful because they sent up fairytales and pop culture and yet did not stint on the fart jokes. They appealed to everyone and raked in the millions, so Dreamworks said “Kaching!” and they made another one, milking the idea for all it was worth.

In fairytales, good things come in threes. Not so in Hollywood. Sequels aren't always crap - but have you ever seen a good movie that ended in III? And so it is with Shrek the Third, a largely pointless affair, without the freshness of its predecessors.

The plot has green ogre Shrek going through a sort of identity crisis. He is happy in newly-wed bliss with his wife Fiona, but then his frog king father-in-law croaks (geddit?), leaving him the kingdom. Shrek just wants to retire with Fiona to his foetid swamp, so he sets off with his friends Donkey and Puss-in-Boots to find the next in line, Fiona's cousin Artie. Artie is at high school, where he is such a dork that even the kid with chronic nosebleeds picks on him.

Shrek also has to face the bad Prince Charming again, and deal with the fact that he's going to be a father (a crisis that gives rise to a great dream sequence).

I did enjoy this film. I laughed a bit and admired the animation. There are funny references that the kiddies won't get and lots of puking and farting, which - or so I am reliably informed - they will. It's just that it all feels rather contrived, as if someone did a kind of demographic survey and then stuck in a gag for each age group.

The mechanical feel of Shrek the Third makes it a considerably less satisfying experience than it could have been.

It's hard to stretch the fairytale gags, but if there is truth in the rumour that Shrek V - yes, V - is in the works, they're going to have to.

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