Thursday, April 29, 2010

Archive: "Shrek The Third" (2007)

Although obviously less superior to its predecessors, "Shrek the Third" succeeds in maintaining the infectious liveliness of the series. This third outing into the beloved animated franchise holds true to the bright, colorful world of Shrek even if its plot fails to hold as tight. It's certainly hard to match the creative genius behind the original along with the inventive cleverness of the sequel, but then again, nobody's really asking for that or even expecting that. And so, it's simply great enough just to see the world of Shrek reintroduced and brought to life yet again with the same upbeat, optimistic, and energetic feel of its predecessors, no matter what other minor downfalls this latest installment may have.

Shrek (Mike Myers) seems to be having some sort of mid-life crisis in ogre form. With his frog-king father-in-law passed away, he is next in line to be king of Far, Far Away. Before the old man croaks, however, he provides Shrek with information on another possible heir to the throne. Shrek immediately jumps on this opportunity, as he is more reluctant than ever to be the next ruler of Far, Far Away. Meanwhile, Shrek also finds out that Fiona (Cameron Diaz) is pregnant, and he soon realizes that he's also reluctant to become a father. On top of all this, there's still Prince Charming (Rupert Everett) in the backdrop, gathering up all the villains he can find to scheme his way back to becoming king while finishing off Shrek for good. In all, things just aren't going very nicely for our favorite green ogre right now.

Our other favorite characters have made their return, as well, like the Gingerbread Man, the Three Pigs, the Wolf, Pinnochio, and more importantly, Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas). Seeing them all together again, and those fuzzy little dragon babies of Donkey's, too, is all just so enjoyable as ever. And how can I go on without mentioning the most darling addition to the Shrek family? The little ogre babies are the most adorable things I have ever seen in an animated movie. One scene in particular where Shrek and Fiona juggle around their three little dumplings ends the movie on a most perfectly fitting note.

Long before that point is reached, Shrek, Donkey, and Puss in Boots go on a quest in search of the potential heir to the throne who can take Shrek's place. The young lad is a supposedly geeky teenage loser named Arthur (Justin Timberlake), who they find at a Hogwarts-esque academy named Worcestershire, which is like a medieval high school. Cheerleaders bounce across the campus, teenage girls gossip, jocks from the jousting team boast, and they all do it with a hint of medieval language infused within. It's in this sense that the movie keeps strong with its pop-culture references and sly in-jokes such as this. Even Fiona and her mother, the Queen (Julie Andrews), band together with other classic fairy tale women like Sleeping Beauty and Snow White in an attempt to stop Prince Charming's evil scheme. With this, the movie pokes fun at Disney, too, spoofing on its classic princesses; the scenes involving this princess squad of lovely ladies are some of the movie's best.

With the parameters of this hero-quest story lined up, the movie clips along at a fairly smooth pace with only temporary slow-downs throughout the journey. There is one enjoyable diversion in particular that involves a very confused and unreliable Merlin who helps Shrek and Artie on their journey. There's actually not so much going on in terms of the storyline itself, and so the real entertainment value comes out of the details within individual scenes and comical situations such as this. The movie glides along quickly to keep the kids consistently entertained and to not let the parents get bored too fast; just like the previous two films, there's something for anyone of all ages to enjoy here.

Visually, "Shrek the Third" is gorgeous; I honestly think this is one of the best looking animated films there is. The improvement upon the first one, and even the second, is revolutionary and truly shows how far we've come along in our special effects technology. It's simply stunning. Sure, this is a movie that basically exists because its predecessors did so well, but that's not to say that the makers aren't trying anymore. They're still putting in their very best efforts and, although losing a bit of steam along the way in comparison to the first two installments, are still dishing out the first great animated feature of the year.

No comments:

Post a Comment