Saturday, May 19, 2007

Shrek the Third

Shrek and Fiona's (Mike Myers and Cameron Diaz, respectively) fairy-tale wedding has gone off without a hitch, yet just as the beaming newlyweds prepare to enjoy their blissful "happily ever after," the sudden death of King Harold (John Cleese) finds everyone's favorite ornery ogre being reluctantly fitted for the royal crown. Troubled to learn that not only will he be compelled to rule Far Far Away, but that he and Fiona are also expecting a little ogre, Shrek determines to track down his new bride's rebellious cousin Artie (Justin Timberlake) -- the one true heir to the throne -- in order to focus on fatherhood without the added distraction of having to preside over the kingdom. As Shrek sets out with faithful companions Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) to locate the medieval high-school slacker and bring him back to become the reigning sovereign of Far Far Away, handsome snake Prince Charming (Rupert Everett) slithers back to the castle in the company of the dreaded Captain Hook (Ian McShane) to stage a diabolically timed coup and assume control of the throne. Now, as Shrek, Donkey, and Puss in Boots do their best to wrangle up the feisty Artie, Fiona must enlist the aid of fighting princesses Snow White (Amy Poehler), Sleeping Beauty (Cheri Oteri), Repunzel (Maya Rudolph), and Cinderella (Amy Sedaris) to barricade the castle and fend off Prince Charming's invading army of fairy-tale villains until her beloved husband can return with the cavalry to save the day. (all movie guide)

I tried really really hard. Honestly, I did. I thought the first Shrek was wonderful and in Shrek 2, with the additions of Antonio Banderas and Jennifer Saunders (among others), I felt that the first had actually been eclipsed. Now, we reach the third film and everything that I liked so much in the first two movies seems to have been restricted to practically cameo appearances. The supporting characters are all there, (The three blind mice, The three little pigs, the wolf, Pinocchio, The Gingerbread man....) but they have very minor parts and some appear almost as an afterthought. However, the few scenes they are in are marvelous and incredibly well written. Almost gone, as well, is the wonderful banter between Shrek, Donkey and Puss in Boots - there is, of course, some banter - just not what I've come to expect. And don't even get me started on having an incredible talent like Eric Idle and barely, barely using him.

I've thought about this all day and I still will not go so far as to say that I did not like this movie - it has it's moments - some truly funny moments - and I'm sure many people will throughly enjoy this movie - but I will say that, for my part, I was disappointed. Hopefully, the fourth outing will bring the characters back to the very basics that were so inspiring (and amusing) in the original story. But, that's just my opinion.

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