Science fiction and fantasy                                            

Shrek Forever After

directed by Mike Mitchell

Shrek Forever After poster  
Shrek (Mike Myers) was afraid of fatherhood at first, but everything's turned out well in the land of Far Far Away. He's got three bouncing ogre babies, a loving wife, friends all around him, and popularity with the villagers. He should be happy. Except an ogre like Shrek isn't designed for that kind of contentment. There's a part of him that wants to scare pitchfork-wielding villagers, wallow in the mud alone and in peace, and generally act more ogrish.

After everything comes to a head at a hectic first birthday party for the kids Shrek turns to Rumplestiltskin (Walt Dohrn). The diminutive and sneaky man offers Shrek a magical contract which will allow him to be a proper ogre for a day. All he need give in return is one day from his past.

Shrek isn't smart enough to see where Rumplestiltskin is going, so he's easily tricked into signing too much away. He gets his day, but he soon realises that Far Far Away has become overrun with witches and greatly changed, and nobody knows who he is. He has to meet and befriend his old friends all over again, find Fiona (Cameron Diaz), and break the spell Rumplestiltskin has put on him. If he doesn't he'll disappear forever, the tiny conman will rule the country, and his children will never have been born. What's worse, Rumplestiltskin doesn't like ogres and he's been using his army of witches to put down an ogre rebellion. Will Shrek join them to fight for freedom?

Although there are a few new characters, Shrek Forever After treads over a lot of old ground. Shrek has to woo Fiona all over again, convince his old friends to trust him, and do many of the things he did in the first movie. All this repetition makes it a less exciting story because we know how the characters will probably react to the situation. The vain and self-centred Rumplestiltskin is very similar to the equally short Lord Farquar from the first movie. Even the villain is unoriginal, and new characters like the ogres and the Pied Piper don't get the attention they deserve.

Shrek Forever After is definitely milking the series for every last drop of value, but it's not a terrible movie. There's music and dancing, colourful characters, and some humour. However the jokes aren't as good or as frequent as they have been in the earlier movies.

The moral behind the Shrek stories has always been fairly trite, and the fourth movie is no exception. The lesson here is that you should learn to appreciate what you've got, and don't go reaching for more. Maybe the film-makers should have heeded their own advice, and stopped at three good movies. No doubt some people will enjoy this movie, but it's not quite the roaring success that the other Shrek movies were.

13th July 2010

Film Details

Year: 2010

Categories: Films

  Kids     Fantasy

Classification: U

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3 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson