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Third Time Loser?
Shrek The Third (DVD)
Member Name: samueltyler
Shrek The Third (DVD)
Advantages: Still great characters and a funny script
Disadvantages: A little weary, no new ideas
2007 has lazily been dubbed the year of the threequel. Many studios placed all their eggs in the basket of films that they believed would guarantee good return because the first two did. Having seen 'Pirates 3' and been deeply unimpressed, and also not being to enamoured with 'The Bourne Ultimatum' I was not really looking forward to 'Shrek the Third' after all the average-to-poor reviews it got. However, being a fan of the first two films I thought I would give it a try on DVD - is it really an embarrassment to one of modern cinemas best loved children's film series?
Shrek, Donkey, Puss, Fiona et al. are back in their third adventure together. The King has croaked and he has surprisingly named Shrek as the heir to the throne. Not being the Kingly type Shrek decides that looking for a real heir would be a better idea and sets of to bring Cousin Archie back from the boarding school he has been placed in. Whilst Shrek, Donkey and Puss are off on an adventure its up to Fiona to look after the Kingdom. Unfortunately for her Prince Charming has managed to rouse all the fairy tales baddies together to form an army. Will Shrek return in time to save the Kingdom? Or will Fiona and her Princess pals put up a stronger fight than Prince Charming imagined?
There is no denying that 'Shrek the Third' is not as accomplished a film as the first two, but that is not a huge problem when you are comparing it to two of the best children's films of recent years. There is always going to be a degree of reduced return when you are using the same characters over and over again and putting them in similar situations. It is the quest nature of 'Shrek 3' that is probably the biggest problem. All the films have seen Shrek and Donkey go on a mission for some reason and it just does not get any fresher a third time. The makers would probably have been better off trying to do something radically different with the story. This is supported by the Fiona elements being the strongest in the film and that the traditional Donkey/Shrek relationship felt stale.
The problem of this film being more of the same is probably the only one that I can come up with - tbh more 'Shrek' is not really a bad thing. The film introduces Fiona's pregnancy so that some of the themes may be slightly more mature than before. I actually found the jokes to be slightly more intelligent than the first two films, but I am sure they are aimed more at me than young kids. The jokes overall are still very funny and all your favourite characters get to share the limelight and get their moments. However, with an extended cast there are smaller chunks of your faves, Donkey in particular has a far smaller role this time around - to the determent overall.
Apart from Donkey the rest of the cast are improved. Shrek and Fiona's relationship seems more realistic and Puss is given better things to do. The characters that stole the film for me where the fairy tale princesses that help Fiona to defend the Kingdom. Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Rapunzel and Cinderella are all given the sassy DreamWorks make over and they are very amusing.
The characters are once more enhanced by the calibre of voice actor on offer. The central actors all return to good effect, but I was once again more impressed with the actors who took smaller roles. Rupert Everett as Prince Charming is excellent as are all the ex-Saturday Night Live girls that portray the various Princesses. Their acting is enhanced by the best looking CGI yet from the franchise and possibly for the cartoon genre as a whole. It's hard to notice huge changes in CGI films as they have improved in increments over time, but it's clear from the first frame of this film that it far outshines the first two offerings in terms of visual lustre.
'Shrek the Third' was probably given such a critical mauling on release due to it predecessors successes. They were both brilliant films and 'The Third' does lose some of the magic. In many ways this is due to the maturing of the script so that it might appeal less to the core child audience and more to adult couples. I for one was not disappointed at all with this film and felt that it was a worthy continuation of the franchise. I laughed several times and all the characters that I love returned as funny as ever. Can DreamWorks Animations keep up this quality in the fourth film? Signs are showing that its losing steam, but a slightly below par 'Shrek' film is still better than the majority of rubbish CGI films made (see 'Over the Hedge' or 'Open Season' for proof.)
Director: Chris Miller and Raman Hui
Starring: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz et al.
Price: Amazon uk £11.97
Like in many children's films there are loads of extras to watch if you so choose. There are documentaries about the making of the film as well as a couple of mini DVD games for children. My favourite extra was the link to the songs in all the different DreamWorks Animations films - this was to show my nephew!
Summary: Still an above average CGI film - try watching 'Shark Tales' instead!