So six years after the release of the original Shrek movie, Dreamworks has followed up with the third in the series, namely the aptly titled Shrek the Third. Last Friday saw Chantelle and myself join up with Retha and two of her friends to catch the late night showing of Shrek 3 at Kenilworth Centre. Now I thoroughly enjoyed the first Shrek when it originally came out. The CG was pretty good, the story felt nice and original and the witty humour with tons of popular culture references made it an appealing humorous riot for the masses. The second Shrek that followed kept up the spirit of the original one, again helped along by an absolutely stellar script and wonderful voice-acting by an all star cast.
Shrek the Third has much of the above. Great CG graphics, great Soundtrack and great voiceover performances. However, I’m afraid that this time around the quality of script has severely let this franchise down. The story is rather weak, but more importantly, the thing that made Shrek such a winning recipe seems to have been completely mislaid this time around. Basically the charm and wit that was once present is no longer there. The movie has to resort to more crass and physical humour to try and get a laugh and to be honest, the whole experience feels very forced at times. And it doesnt help that the freshness that Shrek originally brought to the big screen has now faded and we sit with a safe, tried and tested recipe.
Basically, the story revolves around the death of Fionas father the King and the subsequent announcement that Shrek should be the one to succeed the throne. Shrek not liking the idea decides to set off in search of the only other eligible heir, namely Arthur Pendragon. At the same time Prince Charming draws together all the fairytale villains in the land in an attempt to take control of Far Far Away land once and for all. Throw Fionas pregnancy into the mix and one has all the ingredients for a disaster.
Once again, the CG used in Shrek is top notch, hitting the perfect balance for bright and cartoony visuals without coming across as lazy or sloppy visuals. Beautifully rendered backgrounds and characters bring the colourful fairytale world to life just as it always has. As brilliant as the animation is, it doesnt stand out anymore and is simply nothing special. And as always Shrek features a wonderfully eclectic and enjoyable soundtrack, again there really is nothing to complain about.
Special mention must however be made of the absolutely stellar performances put in by all the a-list celebrity voice talent used in the movie. Staples of the series such as Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, John Cleese, Anotnion Banderas, Rupert Everett and Cameron Diaz all make a welcome return to the movie and they are joined by such great talents like Eric Idle and Justin Timberlake. The use of A-list celebrities might seem like a bit of overkill, but they do actually enhance the overall experience. Now if only they could find a role for Patrick Warburton it would be perfect
In summary, the movie is technically good and comes across as being perfectly average, nothing more. It pulls a couple of laughs and giggles, but probably won’t have you rolling around in your seat with laughter more than once or twice. It really isnt the sparkling gem that was the first two Shrek movies and I’m afraid it is just a sign that the freshness of the concept has now finally passed. Two further movies in the franchise have been confirmed and quite frankly I’m not holding my breath for either of them to be any good. So take your family out for a nice PG laugh but don’t be surprised to find yourself fast asleep in the middle of it (I know I was).