Shrek The Third (U)

This is an archived post from Wishes on Eyelashes, a previous incarnation of this site.

It is hard not to like Shrek, but for a film that never lent itself to a sequel in the first place, this third instalment may just be a step to far.

As a reviewer you hasten not to criticise something as abundantly wonderful as the Shrek films. On the surface they have it all – top notch animation, great voice-artists, plenty of great gags and lovable characters. But at this stage in proceedings you can’t help but want a bit more.

What started as the perfect modern fairytale has inevitably run out of steam. For young children, of course, it is still just as enjoyable to watch as ever. The characters remain entertaining, but audiences above the age of ten won’t help but wonder if they have been taken out of their comfort zone.

There are two running themes throughout the storyline this time around, parenthood and leadership. While you have to respect Dreamworks for adding a sense of morale to its movies, it’s fair to say it all ends up being a bit Sesame Street rather than summer cinema. Donkey, easily the original film’s most effective character now finds himself as a father to several young donkey/dragon hybrid children, which, although is cute in many ways, somehow doesn’t sit quite right in terms of the character’s previous easy-going, carefree lifestyle that we grew to love.

Shrek himself is proposed as the new King of Far, Far Away and embarks on a quest to find King Harold’s long-lost son to take to the throne instead, whilst also quelling over the prospect of himself become a father at the news of Fiona’s pregnancy. This leads to a similarly awkward narrative in which you wouldn’t have previously thought to have found the unambiguous Shrek.

In amongst all this though, there are some fine performances during the course of the 93 minutes, notably from Eric Idle as Merlin and once again Rupert Everett’s perfect Prince Charming, which bring some needed light relief to the unusually heavy storyline.

Essentially there is nothing wrong with Shrek The Third, it does exactly as it says on the tin. You just can’t help thinking though, with Pixar so far ahead of what Dreamworks are doing, that it might be time to close the book on this fairytale.