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Awesome: 11.11%
Worth A Look31.94%
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7 reviews, 30 user ratings

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Shrek the Third
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by Erik Childress

"A Fractured-Fractured Fairy Tale Far, Far Away From The Original"
2 stars

It seems like only yesterday I was singing the praises of Shrek a month before its release. That showed how much faith Dreamworks showed in its anti-fairy tale; a fracturing of all the conventions and questionable morals of its happily ever afters. The animation had a smooth, original look to it and thanks to a witty, subversive script and a cast sinking their teeth into the voicework, the first film was one of the best films of its year. After clicking with families too, the inevitable sequel couldn’t quite live up to the unanticipated freshness of its predecessor but still managed to be very, very funny at times. For the no-brainer of a third outing (which is destined when the last film becomes the second highest grossing film in a single release), everyone appears to have their eyes more on the paycheck prize than the effort needed to make it even a mildly entertaining affair. Kids may not care but those taking them will be depressed at watching one of the modern blueprints for an animated series turn into a story that would put you to sleep before you finished reading it to your child.

After a round of meet-the-parents and fighting off the advances of the vain mama’s boy, Prince Charming, in the second chapter, Shrek (voiced by Mike Myers) and Fiona (Cameron Diaz) are about to take over the reign of Far, Far Away. King Harold (John Cleese), now a frog, is on his final death gasp (unless you count the two more he has) and goes Yoda on us, speaking of another who would also have been suitable to handle the throne. Shrek, annoyed with the restrictive clothing and rituals of being a ruler, decides to seek out this Artie the dying king speaks of and pawn off his lineage on him. A perfect time for Fiona to drop the bombshell that a little Shrek is on the way.

With loyal Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and Puss-in-Boots (Antonio Banderas) along for the journey, Shrek finds Artie (Justin Timberlake) to be a picked-upon teenager and hardly suitable for leadership. Artie relishes the idea at first, a chance to show everyone that he’s just not another nobody, but he too balks when he realizes the responsibility and danger that comes with the job. Having a kingdom without a leader opens the door for Prince Charming (Rupert Everett) to mount an army of fairy tale villains and take over the land so he can…put on a play? I guess someone saw Lemony Snicket.

If you’re going to put on a show consisting of little more than pop culture smackdowns, than you may not necessarily need a far-reaching storyline. However, the first two Shreks managed to do both while this go-round barely has enough quips to drown out a thoroughly lackluster excuse for a plot. Content to deliver lessons about the importance of inner-vs.-outer beauty, believing in oneself and sacrificing your own happiness for the sake of your soulmate, its as if the screenwriters for The Third stamped a big “oh, we’re just kidding” with the gleeful narcissism of Johnny in Airplane! Shrek has always struggled with confidence but its disconcerting to have not one, but two characters waver so frequently in stepping up and spend the majority of the film pouting over it before having to re-learn what they already faced years ago. The only refreshing spin is the girl power angle that gives the princess crowd a chance to take charge in place of their helpless males, but its so limited in its reach that it never resonates beyond a one-joke parody of Diaz’s Charlie’s Angels association.

Where Shrek the Third fails in the overall tutorial of redfining a youth culture obsessed with looks and wannabe princesses, it doubly fails in handling the mythos of the tales the elders in the audience all know in some form or another. The foundation of Shrek was built upon the revisionist kneecapping of the villains being ugly and the heroes beautiful. But there was also a consistent point-of-view that these tall tales had already been written into the landscape. By introducing the Arthur legend with Lancelot as a bully and Guinevere as the Worcestershire High School Paris Hilton, you are eliminating the key component of fiction’s historical content. History may have been rewritten by the winners and the glitterati, but who would change Lancelot from a jock rival into a loyal friend who cheats with the most popular girl in school only to be absolved a hero again? Why is Merlin (Eric Idle) such a bumbling fool and why are there no swords or stones ever hinted at? I realize that may be thinking beyond the status quo for a family film, but you can’t have it both ways. If Princess Fiona was the antithesis for the distressed damsel, then why is she still friends with Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel? Are they spoiled, rich brats just latching onto the girl with the coolest house or not?

These are questions beyond the makers of Shrek the Third who are so dense to the evolution of their own screenplay (let alone remembering as far back as the last film) that it has scenes like Donkey asking how one makes babies despite having a doting litter himself. I find it funny that the handlers of the documentary Zoo withheld press screenings to certain critics cause they felt we’d be so callous as to refer to a movie about screwing horses as “the horse-screwing film” (as it was referred to at every festival it played) but the makers of a multi-million dollar family film have no qualms about kids inevitably asking how a donkey drills a dragon. A scene of the stork making THAT delivery is precisely the sort of throwaway imagination this film could have used. We do get a Gingerbread Man flash of his life that is genuinely hilarious and a scattered chuckle here and there, but the only real flair of color present in Shrek the Third is the predominant green for the cash its going to make. Another great lesson for the children. When the green is guaranteed, you can put as little effort as possible into your project.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=15571&reviewer=198
originally posted: 05/18/07 00:00:00
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User Comments

11/17/14 Mario is the Best My least favourite Shrek film. But I liked it. 4 stars
8/28/12 roscoe fine, but seies has gone to the well far too often. nothing fresh 3 stars
8/22/09 Zach This movie isn't boring. It is another good film in the series. 4 stars
7/11/09 Jeff Wilder Shrek. Classic. Shrek 2. Great. Shrek Third where it devolves into just another franchise 2 stars
9/09/08 David Cohen The series is getting tiresome 3 stars
2/07/08 Anthony Feor Recycled formula beginning to dry out 3 stars
1/04/08 Ellen Glaringly unfunny, dull and dissapointing. 2 stars
11/28/07 Matt Slightly stale but on the whole it's fun. Shrek 4 will be one too many, though. 4 stars
10/28/07 Mike R. love the shrek movies they should continue making them especially for the kids 5 stars
9/07/07 Alice What happend? I loved the other 2! VERY boring! 1 stars
7/03/07 PamE Cute but enjoyed the 2nd way better 3 stars
7/01/07 Grace This movie was VERY funny, and I recomend you see it! 5 stars
6/23/07 Joleen Very, very BAD. don't waste your money, Not even to rent it. 1 stars
6/16/07 Tiffany Losco funny, kids loved it. 5 stars
5/30/07 Jim Brandt I thought the magic was gone, but the kids had smiles the whole time... 3 stars
5/29/07 bullit16 It's not BAD, really, it's just ... not very funny. 3 stars
5/27/07 sprite The first and second was better. 3 stars
5/27/07 Jason it was funny but the second one still out beats it 5 stars
5/26/07 Darkstar The best part was when the fire alarm went off and I got to leave. 2 stars
5/25/07 Deb Very cute. The kids loved it! 5 stars
5/25/07 Quigley Probably the least disappointing of the three mega-blockbusters this month. Very funny 4 stars
5/23/07 Ole Man Bourbon Surprisingly entertaining 4 stars
5/22/07 Blood Red Roy King died, his wife is Queen, King Shrek unneeded. FFA is a land of sexist assholes. 3 stars
5/21/07 Luisa kinda boring...but some parts are very funny... 3 stars
5/21/07 Dark Enchantress i thought it was good...but not better than the second one 5 stars
5/21/07 Dave very funny 5 stars
5/20/07 Austin Wertman hilarious 5 stars
5/20/07 John Not as funny as the first two, and horrible plotlines 2 stars
5/18/07 Mike bring caffeine pills or you will be asleep ... BORING. Very DISAPPOINTING!!! 1 stars
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  18-May-2007 (PG)
  DVD: 13-Nov-2007



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