As my paper-thin Top 10 Best Fourth Movies in a Franchise list from last year proves, the fourth time is almost never a charm.
Such is the case here. (courtesy KTKA-49)
“Shrek Forever After” is the fourth film in the popular DreamWorks animated franchise, and the first one to be screened in 3D.
Since we’re counting, it’s also the second film in the series to be made since the writers ran out of any new ideas or inspiration.
(Not that the first one was original at all, but at least “Shrek 2″ had a bit of a sparkle to it. That counts as inspiration, right?)
In the last movie, the giant green ogre who once saved the princess was afraid of fatherhood. In this film, he’s got triplets and has convinced himself that the fatherhood routine is strangling him.
Sound like heavy stuff for kids? It does, but it isn’t treated with any weight at all. It’s more of a jumping off point; an excuse for the setup. Therefore, the movie doesn’t succeed with any character insight.
What follows is basically a simplified “It’s A Wonderful Life” with Rumpelstiltskin in the role of Clarence the Angel: Shrek gets to see what the kingdom of Far Far Away would be like for everybody had he never been born. (Hint: It’s a lot like Pottersville!)
The plot gives Shrek’s bride Fiona a welcome dose of girl power, but it recycles the exact same climax from the first film, forcing Shrek to make Fiona fall in love with him and share a kiss–again.
You would think this would be a good thing, but it’s not: DreamWorks has cut back on the rapid-fire pop culture references that dominate the other films to focus on the story, but unfortunately, the story isn’t all that interesting.
A child in the screening I attended actually announced out loud that the movie was “boring.”
Yikes. Harsh critic.