Friday, May 28, 2010

‘Shrek Forever After’ George Bailey Would Be Proud!

The fourth and final (allegedly) in the Shrek series, ‘Shrek Forever After’ finds Shrek (Mike Myers) in something of a mid-life crisis. Having fallen into the rigors of fatherhood and marital bliss, Shrek begins to miss the days of ogre roars and screaming, frightened villagers. The thrill seems to be gone in Shrek and he is missing his ogre mojo! In wanders the very disgruntled and evil Rumpelstiltskin (Walt Dohrn) who offers Shrek a deal of a lifetime; become a scary ogre for a day in exchange for any past day of his life. Of course, ‘Stiltskin takes the day Shrek was born as his payment and thus we are treated to ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ Shrek style.

All of the favorite characters are there: Donkey (Eddie Murphy), Puss In Boots (Antonio Banderas) and of course Fiona (Cameron Diaz), who after never being rescued from her tower by Shrek (he hasn’t been born after all) – escapes on her own and becomes a freedom fighter attempted to usurp the now despot ruler Rumpelstilskin. Of course, as in all good fairy tales, Shrek has until the sun rises to reverse everything he has undone and save the day – with love’s true kiss.

The overall story, a little worn in this fourth sequel, is sweet and funny. There is just enough poop and fart jokes to keep the kids happy as well as just enough adult references to keep someone like me engaged. Kids may be turned off by some of the more romantic qualities of this installment, personally I felt it added to the story quite well and hopefully, will be a fitting end to the series. Go see this in 3D, in my book animated films have always been the best to see in 3D; the animators have a lot more freedom to add richness and depth to the film giving it a much more lifelike quality than live action shot in 3D. You can tell and appreciate the effort it took the animators to make this film as each shot is filled with luscious detail.

While not as sweet or tear jerking as ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ – one of my all time favorites – ‘Shrek Forever After’ pays worthy homage to the film. This is a 3 star effort and well worth the trip to the 3D screen.
As long as we have a romantic theme going here this week’s Redbox Rental pick is ‘Dear John’ – starring one of my favorite new actresses Amanda Seyfried (Letters to Juliet) as a young girl who meets a young soldier on leave for two weeks. Of course they fall in love just as John (Channing Taturn) is shipped off to war. They keep the relationship afloat with a constant stream of letters; will their love survive? Unfortunately the movie didn’t, at least in theaters. Sappy and cliché ridden it was a bit much for theater audiences – but not bad for $1.00 at your local Redbox. It’s a 2 ½ star effort while you are cooling your heels on a hot, humid night!

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