Sunday, 4 July 2010

Movie Review - Shrek Forever After

The fourth and, presumably, final movie in the Shrek saga sees our ogre friend living in domestic bliss. Well... perhaps not quite bliss. Parenthood and the expectations of family and friends, plus the fact that his home has become a tourist attraction for gawping holidaymakers, are starting to wear Shrek's patience thin. So he decides, after some persuasion, to sign a contract with Rumplestilskin to go back to the old days when ogres were feared - only for one day. However, teh Rumply one is sly and Shrek soon finds himself in a living nightmare where witches rule the land, Rumplestilskin is king, ogres are enslaved and Fiona doesn't even know who Shrek is. All this, and Shrek has just 24 hours to put everything right...

As I've mentioned before I liked the first Shrek movie but not the second or third (apart from the final couple of scenes). My expectations weren't terribly high for this one, but I'm pleased to say that Dreamworks have proved me wrong here; Shrek Forever After is constantly funny and inventive, with snappy dialogue, terrific action sequences and lots of humour. As with all the other Shrek movies pop culture references abound, but the whole thing just worked a lot better for me this time. Most of the old favourites are back, but almost all somewhat different to their characters previously. Even donkey is funny rather than merely annoying.

The visuals are superb, the music and voice acting very good. In terms of production values there really is little to separate PIXAR and Dreamworks, they're both producing absolutely stunning computer animation these days. It really is hard to see how they can possibly get better... but I expect they will.

The story is pretty good, though it's all rather predictable for adults and at least one small child in the row behind me had no idea what was going on (though to be fair to the scriptwriters, that family did come in late so probably missed the crucial first two scenes which set up the whole plot). It's a sweet story the likes of which we've seen hundreds of times before, but it's handled skilfully enough and has some great moments. Some people seem to have disliked it compared to the second movie, so I guess it may depend what you thought of that one - I thought it was awful but enjoyed this one, maybe if you liked the second you'll be disappointed by this. Either way, from my point of view I'd recommend it to young and old alike.


After previous disappointing experiments I can't be bothered to pay extra to see movies in 3D - going to the pictures is expensive enough without that! - so I don't know whether the 3D is any good. Seeing it in boring old 2D was great anyway.  Also the ogre babies are very funny and cute - hope my baby doesn't end up looking like one of them though!!




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