Thursday, May 17, 2007

Shrek the Third

Did you hear the one about an ogre, a donkey, and pussycat who go in search of a new king…

After King Harold (John Cleese) falls ill and dies, the kingdom falls to Shrek (Mike Meyers) who wants nothing to do with ruling and only wants to take Fiona (Cameron Diaz) back to the swamp and live in peace and quiet, which will be difficult considering Fiona’s got her own baby surprise for our hero.

For Shrek to turn down the crown he must find another heir, and so with Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) he sets off to find the only other living heir, a young boy known as Artie Pendragon (Justin Timberlake).

With the King dead and Shrek gone Prince Charming (Rupert Everett) rounds up all the villains in the kingdom, attacks the castle, and proclaims himself the new king. Fiona, her mother (Julie Andrews), and the damsels in distress, Snow White (Amy Poehler), Rapunzel (Maya Rudolph), Sleeping Beauty (Cheri Oteri), and Cinderella (Amy Sedaris), must band together, forget about being rescued, and save the kingdom themselves.

Although the film has many memorable moments (including Captain Hook and a piano showing up for a fight, and the Gingerbread Man’s Six Million Dollar Man flashback) it lacks the wit and sting of the previous films. Most of the film’s humor, especially early on, is the average “big dumb ogre can’t do anything right” variety that gets old pretty fast. When the film moves away from these easy jokes the story picks up.

The story does have a good moral, though there are several slow points in the film where young children (and even a few movie critics) may loose interest. Still the tale of the young geek and Shrek’s impending fatherhood are good storylines that are worth caring about, even if they aren’t quite as enganging as they could be.

A little uneven in places, but with a good heart, the film isn’t quite as good as it should be, but it does return the familiar characters and put them in new situations that are, for the most part, entertaining. It’s more an accumulation of good moments than a truly good film. It doesn’t have the newness of the first Shrek or the biting wit of Shrek 2, but it’s still worth taking a look at if you’re a fan of the series

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