Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Time for Shrek to stay far far away

The first “Shrek” movie debuted in 2001 and since that time there has been a new “Shrek” film every three years. The first film was a surprise hit while the second one was surprising because it was better than the first. But Shrek series certainly did begin to wear a bit thin during Shrek the Third and sadly, Shrek Forever After continues that trend. The characters that were once fresh and irreverent come off here as stale and far too familiar, as do the gags.

Ironically, the film comes to resemble its main character as Shrek [voice by Mike Myers] is dealing with a midlife crisis. Depressed over not having the freedom he once had, he leaves his home, as well as Fiona (Cameron Diaz) and their brood behind, in a tiff one day. He encounters Rumpelstiltskin [Walt Dohm] who smooth-talks him into a pact that will take Shrek back to his glory days, as long as he gives the trickster one day out of his past life. He claims the ogre’s birthday, thus ensuring he was never born and might now claim Fiona’s hand in marriage.

Needless to say, it’s not a very wonderful life and Shrek tries to make things go back to the way they were. This does set up some interesting gags, particularly with Puss in Boots [Antonio Banderas] who’s let himself go, and the always-entertaining Donkey [Eddie Murphy], whose singing is a delight. Shrek must also win back Fiona, who now is an Ogre-battling warrior, and dethrone Rumpelstiltskin, who’s in charge.

There are a lot of people who didn’t enjoy the original Shrek. As both an anachronistic spoof of Disney princess films and fairy tales in general, Shrek also told its own story. When it came time for the inevitable sequel, the plot was practically abandoned in favor of pop culture references, mostly with hit and miss success. By the third film, the first half showed a glimmer of hope before jumping plots with some “passing of the torch” idea to… Justin Timberlake? Fortunately, Forever After finally ties together the right balance of story, character, and spoof while still building on the established franchise, making it the perfect place to stop.

Truth be told, the best sequel to the original thus far is actually at Universal Studios inside the Shrek 3-D attraction. Not only does it take viewers on an incredible ride, it also revisits a character absent from the all the sequels: Lord Farquaad [John Lithgow]. One of the saddest parts of the continuing films has been the lack of a real villain, and Rumpelstiltskin’s brief back story and motivations fill the bill that been long overdue since Farquaad met his end inside a dragon’s gullet. Rumpelstiltskin’s plan isn’t just evil, its diabolical, and there are real consequences involved other than just living your life knowing what could have been or what you gave up.

Also returning are Julie Andrews as the Queen and John Cleese as King Harold (in a bit of a flashback), plus all your favorites are around as well. Of course, no Shrek installment would be complete without randomly placed synchronized group dance choreography, but a surprise henchman working under Rumpelstiltskin takes that particular detail to whole new and hilarious level. While Dreamworks Animation had a heavy hand in revolutionizing the animated film industry with the original Shrek, it’s really feels like it’s time to let the big guy actually retire happily ever after [ok~for a while, anyway] instead of beating him to death with lackluster plots to sell more.


SRi:Laksamana Upin Ipin in 3D;2012!WOHA~

2 comments:

  1. tak bape besttt..bagi aku la..

    ReplyDelete
  2. memang pon~camne2 skali pon;1st is d best! WOHA~
    *tapi sahabat aQ bahgia bergelak ketawa tengok cerita tue.ahaks

    ReplyDelete

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