Thursday, May 20, 2010

Shrek: The Final Chapter, He says

Directed by Mike Mitchell

Starring: Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas

Synopsis: Shrek is tricked into signing a pact with the smooth-talking deal maker, Rumpelstiltskin, who offers Shrek a day where everything will be as if his adventures had never happened.

If you’re a movie that actually plays up Pete Hammond and the fact that IS (hopefully) the last chapter in a series, you know that you can’t expect much. Shrek: The Final Chapter Forever After is exactly that sort of movie, but here’s the surprise, if you have your expectations lowered, this fourth Shrek movie is pretty fun. The story is a generic one that we have all seen many times, where Shrek cannot appreciate the apparent perfection that is his life with wife, kids, and goofy friends, and he wants to go back to his single days of being a scary ogre. And so begins what is Shrek’s last tale.

I will say that for the first half of the movie I kept on thinking how I would rather be watching The Fantastic Mr. Fox instead because it starts of the same way. Fiona’s parents about to sign over their kingdom to Rumpelstilskin, who specializes in making magical deals with people. As soon as the king and queen are about to sign, they get word Fiona has been rescued and don’t sign the contract. The next scene shows every day mundane routine of hanging out with the cute pooping babies, hanging out with his friends, and dealing with his fame. I’m going to cry boohoo here. It truly bothered me how whiny Shrek seemed; yes it’s annoying to take care of babies but being a good parent means powering through that. When Shrek becomes overtly irritated at his kids’ first birthday, Rumpelstilskin takes this opportunity to make a power play for the kingdom in this deal (didn’t you see this coming). Rumpel gives Shrek a day to be a manly scary ogre again for a day from his life in his past. In a sweet twist, we go to a world where Shrek never existed since the day he gave up was the day he was born, ogres are evil outlaws, Rumpel is king, and his friends do not know anything about him. As an end note, I do think its interesting how they tried to emulate How To Train Your Dragon-style flying scenes, but it does not do it justice the way the former movie did. Though just like with Dragon, this movie’s 3D use is very classy and well put together.

So like I said, this is It’s A Wonderful Life and the aforementioned Fantastic Mr. Fox put in a generic package. You can see Shrek trying to reconnect with his old friends in ridiculous ways, and it’s horribly annoying because you know he’s going to fail numerous times, then he will succeed, and he’ll have to move on to the next acquaintance.

But here is where I think that there is the genius of the film. By taking the characters back to zero, you can almost relive the magic of the original; the chemistry of donkey and Shrek is definitely the highlight of the movie. They have toned down the humor that’s filled with ridiculous pop culture references and adult inside jokes, which really helps the movie. The last half of the movie is what makes me think that this is a fitting end to the series. As Shrek is trying to connect with Fiona, you see the difficulty of this ogre trying to win her again, and without going into spoilers. the way he does win her over is one of great characters growth, and you can see how truly well he knows Fiona and cares for her. And fittingly the end credits of the movie are highlighted scenes from all the movies in the series. (Interesting that they don’t show Justin Timberlake’s character for the most part, just saying guys.)

Overall, this is a generic movie. I would say that it is way better than Shrek 3, but if I had to rank the series it’d be Shrek, Shrek 2, Shrek The Final Chapter, and Shrek 3. I find it a fitting end to series that leaves it with a decent amount of dignity. I would not recommend it unless you want your kids to be quiet for a couple of hours but definitely it would make for a great rental.


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