It is time for Action Movie Friday, where I treat an action movie like an action movie and not like a drama and stuff. All movie reviews are subjective and while I may like something, you might think it’s shit, and vice versa!
Title: Shrek the Third
MPAA Rating: PG
Genre: action, adventure, buddy, animation, fantasy, comedy
Starring: Mike Meyers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas, Julie Andrews, John Cleese, Rupert Everett, Eric Idle, Justin Timberlake
Director: Chris Miller, Raman Hui
Writer: Willian Steig (Book), Andrew Adamson, Jeffery Price, Peter S. Seaman, Chris Miller, Aron Warner, Jeff Snow
Budget: $160 Million
Box Office: $807 Million
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 41%
King Harold is dying. Shrek and Fiona have been asked to step in as the new monarchs of Far, Far Away. Shrek though doesn’t feel he’s suitable for the job and is willing to pass it along to almost anyone in order to get back to his swamp. Shrek, Donkey and Puss go on a Shrek to find Arthur, Fiona’s cousin and the next in line after Fiona herself. Shrek isn’t ready for a lot of things, kingship, fatherhood and now, relating to a surly teenager is next on the list.
Shrek 3 is the next installment in the highly successful Shrek franchise. And in my opinion, where the series started to go off the rails. In Shrek, the writers successfully used William Steig’s book as a basis for a comedic parody of all things fairy tale. In Shrek 2, they once again subverted watchers expectations by making Fairy Godmother a villain rather than a hero. In Shrek 3, well, we already know that Prince Charming is not really a nice guy or a hero TM, do we have to go through this again?
The main character plot for Shrek in Shrek 3 is that Shrek, ogre of ogres is about to become a father. I mean, it’s been over a year movie wise since he and Fiona got married. They still haven’t discussed this whole “how many kids do you want to have?” And now, well, it’s upon them and Shrek is not prepared. Cue nightmares. Panic. Running away. Ignoring the issue.
You know the same thing we’ve seen in every other movie about a manly man becoming a dad ever.
The great thing about the previous 2 Shrek stories were they refreshing takes on something that we’d seen before. This wasn’t refreshing. It wasn’t exciting and most of the time it wasn’t even funny. Shrek and Fiona simply don’t have a healthy marriage. I’m even worried about the whole “true love” bit. There is a lot more to love than both enjoying the taste of weed rat. In fact, in this series, they’ve spent more time at odds than in harmony.
This entire movie felt like a cash grab. “Shrek and Shrek 2 did really well, let’s make more money and do a Shrek 3.” All without really examining why Shrek and Shrek 2 were that great. Think of how different this movie could have been if Shrek and Fiona had actually talked about having children at some point and Shrek was open and excited about the idea. Instead of manufactured drama and typical manly man insecurity, we could have Shrek being over enthusiastic and Fiona, Donkey and Puss have to rein him in from plans to expand the house or how to make cradles or the best ogre baby food.
The less said about the “Camelot” characters the better. Just, that was painful. So very, very painful.
The most I can say about this was given what was presented to me, the story was cohesive. It had a definite beginning, middle and end that all tied together nicely. I just can’t agree with most of the direction the story took. A quarter of a cookie.
Most of the beginning of this story where Shrek and Fiona were standing in for Harold and Lillian was just over the top and unnecessary. I understand comedy and then I understand that they exaggerated far too much. I mean, sure there was a fire in the ballroom and he sank a ship and set it on fire all at the same time. It was less of an “oh shit, awesome” moment and more of an “oh shit, really?” moment. So, half a cookie.
There weren’t a lot of fights in this movie, which was odd. I mean, sure, Charming took over the kingdom. (How did he get the loyalty of the human knights again that were supposed to be protecting Fiona and Lillian?) And the girls staged their little fight into the castle. That was refreshing. There was a lot more words going on than punches. So, the part where the girls invaded the castle was like “yah! We’re getting somewhere.” And then it sort of just fizzled. We expected some sort of big fight and then got Shrek and Charming exchanging insults. Bit of a letdown. Half a cookie.
Ah! The Princesses, Lillian, Dragon and……. Wait. There’s this theory that when men write women they have this dartboard with things like “married, pregnant, kidnapped or dead” on it and they throw a dart to decide her fate for the story. Well, Fiona gets pregnant this movie and the Princesses mostly get kidnapped and well, Dragon also gets captured because we can’t have a really powerful fire breathing dragon actually ending the story before it begins. (Honestly, if they are going to keep taking her out, she shouldn’t be IN the story to BEGIN WITH.) Fiona and the Princesses almost manage to escape, then they’re captured and then they escape! I swear, this is the most agency that Fiona has had the entire series. Except not, because instead of reclaiming her throne herself with the help of the Queen and the Princesses, Shrek does it, again, by using Dragon Ex Machina.
I actually just got up and got chocolate. Look, Fiona is an ogress with shown fighting skills. Lillian isn’t that half bad either. Lillian is the true Queen. The knights should be rallying to both of them. They honestly don’t need Shrek or Arthur in this situation. You want to parody a fairy tale, for once, for ONCE have it actually work like it did in history. Queens led armies. They negotiated treaties. They built castles. I would have found it much more hysterical if Shrek came back with Arthur and then found out “Oh, while you were away honey, Charming staged a coup, but mom and I smacked him down.”
So, I want to stay at half a cookie, but this is getting ridiculous.
By now the universe is fairly established. Dragon is easily neutralized and then gets the big bad later. Everybody is just a day or so away when trouble happens so they can get back to Far, Far Away quickly. Why is Worchestshire Academy or whatever it is based off an American school system? It looked like an English Boarding school. They don’t do lockers. And cheerleaders? It just doesn’t fit the mythos they were going for.
Some of the new world building was really quite interesting. The evil trees for instance using foliage as parachutes. Pinocchio figuring a way around his “cannot tell a lie” curse. How the Princesses used their story powers from the Disney tales in order to get into the castle. (Granted Cinderella technically isn’t a Princess until she marries a Prince so, I’m not sure what she’s doing here. Same for Rapunzel.)
Ugh, another half a cookie.
Shrek 3 is predictable at best, cringe worthy at worst and leaves me feeling unsatisfied in the ending and how it all played out. Two and a quarter cookies.