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Shrek Forever After Review (+ Special Geek Pride Day Bonus)

Hey, what’s up ya’ll? Double D here for another review! This time for DreamWorks Animation’s Shrek Forever After (also known as Shrek: The Final Chapter because those jerks can’t seem to pick a title and stick with it). I was going to go see MacGruber as well because Tuesdays are cheap days at the theatres up here in Canada, but I had to wait for two hours for it to start and I was getting hungry, so I decided to wait until later, at which point it’ll probably be pointless to do a review for it, but I may do one anyways, just to be nice. 🙂 Anyways, I was pretty reluctant to see Shrek Forever After after the disaster that was Shrek the Third. I really didn’t want another Shrek movie and when I heard about this one I had a hard time caring at all. But I cared enough to go see it on cheap day at least and you know what? I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.

Shrek Forever After is still lacking much of the charm that made Andrew Adamson’s first two films in the franchise such lasting and memorable treats for children as well as adults, but it wasn’t bad either and it was definitely a step up from the boring third film. Sure, the jokes are getting old, but they did a good job putting the storyline together this time. Plus you have to remember that this movie is targeted at kids and let’s face it, you can tell the same joke 18 times to a 4 year old and they’ll find it funny each time. I guess that’s not an excuse for lazy writing, but hey if the kiddies are entertained and the parent’s keep bringing ‘em in droves then that’s mission accomplished for DreamWorks. I still wanted to punch the screen though when Puss did his whole wide-eyed cute cat stare again. Sure, it was funny the first time, now I just want to strangle that damn cat. Some of the jokes worked better here than I expected from watching the trailer however. I don’t know why, but I thought the “Do the roar.” kid was the funniest thing since the “Do you know the muffin man?” scene from the first movie, but I guess that’s my over-the-top sense of humour talking. Another scene where Puss accidentally eats the Ginger-bread Man also had me in shocked laughter, similar to the bird exploding in the first film. For as many pointless homages that this film has to the first two entries in the series (the third film is deliberately ignored) it also captured the dark humour that made the first movie so memorable a little bit better than I thought it would. A lot of the humour is starting to get tired though and some of it came off as mean-spirited instead of charming. One scene that comes to mind is when Fiona does her exploding bird trick on Rumpelstiltskin’s pet goose at the end of the film and everyone just laughs it off. Therefore, I have to say that I’m glad the Shrek franchise is coming to an end (well, besides the spin-offs, prequel and TV show that they’re planning (sigh)) and I have to say it ended on an OK note instead of a downright bad one. If only the third movie never existed, one, two and four would have made a perfect trilogy. Oh well.

As for the storyline, you can gather most of it from the trailers. Basically Shrek is fed up with being a tamed, toned-down, family-friendly version of his former self so when down-on-his-luck Rumpelstiltskin, who’s name takes forever to type by the way, offers Shrek a day to be a true ogre again in exchange for a random, unimportant day in Shrek’s life, he takes the offer. Sure, it’s hard to believe that the savvy and knowing Shrek from the first two films would be this downright idiotic, but I suspended my disbelief for the sake of the plot. Rumpelstiltskin ends up taking the day Shrek was born (big surprise!) and so he never rescued Fiona and never met Donkey or Puss. Worst of all though, because Shrek wasn’t around to rescue Fiona, her parents decided to go to Rumpelstiltskin to help get her back and were tricked into disappearing into nothing. Now Far Far Away is in shambles and all ogres are being hunted and enslaved by evil witches. Shrek has one day to find true loves kiss again, in order to return everything back to normal, but Fiona’s too busy leading the ogre resistance to give him a second glance.

If this sounds like it rests on so many paper thin plot lines that it could collapse World-Trade Centre style any minute, well it does. (What? Too soon?) I didn’t really mind all that much though, as I was still entertained and there was enough action to keep my eyes glued to the screen. I also commend Walt Dohrn (mostly known for his animation work on shows like SpongeBob Squarepants and Dexter’s Laboratory) for doing the best non-celebrity voice acting since Ben Burtt played Wall-E. Rumpelstiltskin was probably the second best villain in the series (next to the absolutely perfect Lord Farquaad from the first film) and was probably the scariest of the four by far in my opinion. A scene where he deliberately melts one of his witchy hench-women by throwing water at her closely mirrors Robert De Niro’s infamous baseball bat scene from The Untouchables, though obviously a lot less violent. I also felt that Myer’s performance was a little less phoned-in than the third outing and the plot set things up for some very entertaining set pieces, especially between the witches and ogres, who seem to be a good match for each other. The animation was top notch too, but I felt the 3D was a bit intrusive at times, almost like DreamWorks was saying, “Hey, check it out! A Shrek movie in 3D! Look how 3D it is!” I guess it’s a minor nit-pick, but my eyes were hurting a bit in some of the scenes.

Anyways, I know it’s a shorter review than normal, but that sums up most of my thoughts on Shrek Forever After. It had its flaws, but I felt it was a worthy ending for a franchise that has seen better days and definitely worthy of the $7.50 I spent on a discounted ticket. Sure, it wasn’t amazing, but I think kids and grown-ups will still have a pretty good time with this one.

I give Shrek Forever After 3/5.

Also, for future reference:
Shrek = 4.5/5
Shrek 2 = 3.5/5
Shrek the Third = 2/5.

And now, our special bonus feature:

Yesterday (today while I’m writing this) was Geek Pride Day, as it marks the day that the original Star Wars was released in theatres 33 years ago (also known as Towel Day by some Douglas Adams’ fans) It’s a very special day to all of us fanboys though and this year is extra special because it’s also the 30th Anniversary of my all-time favourite move ever, Star Wars – Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back!

I love this movie. I remember when I was a kid watching this for the first time, finding out it was even better, darker and more character driven than the first one. I was shocked to find out that there wasn’t just one good Star Wars movie, but three and this one was always my favourite! No wonder too, it’s surprisingly dark, spiritual and has a depth and power that most sci-fi and fantasy films (such as the cold, distant prequels) are lacking. This is how you make a Hollywood blockbuster. Take the audience seriously and they’ll take your film seriously.

The Empire Strikes back is a film not just about amazing special effects, a green puppet and a cool guy with a jet-pack. It’s a movie about the characters, about their journey, their trials, their failures and their search for redemption. Its chock full of humour, chase scenes and romantic moments, but below its surface, Empire is a surprisingly powerful and impactful film that leaves its impression years after viewing.

I love everything about The Empire Strikes Back; the characters, the story, the shocking revelations, the relationships, the comedy, everything that works together to make this a movie moment to remember. So for all of us Star Wars Fans out there, Happy Birthday The Empire Strikes Back! May you continue to grace our screens (with or without George Lucas’s numerous and sometimes unnecessary changes) for years and years to come. You have earned a legacy that will be passed down from over-zealous Star Wars Fanatic to Younglings everywhere for generations. May the Force be with you and remember, he’s no good to me dead!

Thanks for reading guys and stay tuned for lots more reviews and other goodies, right here on Double D Does the Movies, only on thisweekingeek.net!

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