DreamWorks is ready to close the book on the Shrek franchise. The crew doesn't exactly go out with a bang, but Shrek Forever After whimpers a lot less than the last installment.
Usually by the fourth film, a franchise has run out of steam. That's not really the case here. Maybe it's the 3D or the fact that Shrek the Third was just that horrible. Despite a played out plotline, Shrek Forever After is actually not as bad as I was expecting.
Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy and Antonio Banderas all return to collect one last check. This time, they've brought in other big names, such as Jon Hamm, Craig Robinson, Jane Lynch, Kathy Griffin and Meredith Vieira. However, the newbies are given little to do, which makes all barely recognizable.
It's all about Shrek, here. He's still insanely green, but not as mean, and that's part of the problem. Bored with domestic life, our favorite ogre assumes the grass (and other ogres) can be greener elsewhere. So he makes a deal with the evil Rumplestiltskin (voiced by animator Walt Dohrn) to spend one day as his former, scary self. Soon, Shrek sees what life is like without the wife and kiddos -- and, well, if you've ever sat through one of the many holiday airings of It's a Wonderful Life, you can pretty much guess the rest.
Most likely, a lot of the jokes will go over kids' heads. Sadly, it doesn't do the same for adults. Many of the one-liners and scenarios are as tired as the plot. However, instead of Shrek rescuing the princess, 3D is our hero here.
The 3D works to this film's advantage, providing some wow when there's not too much else going on in the film. Don't expect images whipping out at your eyeballs too often. With the exception of a few scenes, the 3D is subtle. It also makes the image slightly dark. It's good, just not as impressive as the heir to the DreamWorks franchise throne, How to Train Your Dragon.
From the very beginning, horses gallop right off the screen and past the viewer. The rest of the film just has enough pop to make you feel like you are in the middle of each scene, which gets sort of crazy during Shrek's quickie reign of terror, as well as the Dragon-esque aerial shots.
Instead of overwhelming, the 3D was a nice diversion from what could have been a very cheesy film. It's not the worst way to end the series, but Shrek Forever After is fairly forgettable. It did debut at number one this week, but I'm guessing that magic should should fizzle out in a few weeks, when Toy Story 3 makes its 3D debut.