Everyone’s favourite ogre returns for a tale that sees him stuck in the daily grind of a life that now sees him as an exasperated father, minor celebrity and far from the feared brute that many thought him at the beginning of the first movie. So when he wishes for that old life again, that time when he was fierce and undomesticated, cunning Rumpelstiltskin offers to give him that all over again for one day. One day of the fun that Shrek misses in exchange for any other day of his life. But there’s always a catch when you deal with Rumpelstiltskin and the day he takes back from Shrek is the day that he was born, leading to a completely different world in which Fiona had to get herself out of that dragon-guarded tower, Donkey has no idea who the big green guy is and Puss In Boots is a pampered, fat moggy. Shrek has until the end of the day to get true love’s kiss and undo the terrible situation that he accidentally created.
I have enjoyed all of the Shrek movies (yes, even the much-dismissed third outing) and this one was just as much fun as any of them. A few of the jokes are overused and worn out by now but, overall, it’s got a good mix of laughs and character moments.
The main voice stars all return (Mike Myers as Shrek, Cameron Diaz as Fiona, Eddie Murphy stealing the show yet again as Donkey and Antonio Banderas as Puss In Boots) and Walt Dohrn is superbly entertaining as the voice of Rumpelstiltskin.
Josh Klausner and Darren Lemke’s script provides a nice spin on It’s A Wonderful Life material while throwing in plenty of little jokes and homages/spoofs here and there. The movie may not be quite as pop culture-laden as the previous outings but it’s still got plenty of references in there to other movies, including The Wizard Of Oz and the duelling banjos from Deliverance.
Director Mike Mitchell does a competent job but I always credit animated movies more to the team of animators that have worked on the thing and Shrek Forever After looks fantastic in almost every frame. It may edge towards being overly sentimental in places, though it doesn’t get unbearable, and it includes the now seemingly obligatory musical numbers (though the music moments from the Pied Piper are clever and funny) but it’s definitely an above average entry in a series that seems to have been neglected lately in favour of the Toy Story and Ice Age films.
DIRECTOR: MIKE MITCHELL
STARS: MIKE MYERS, CAMERON DIAZ, EDDIE MURPHY, ANTONIO BANDERAS, WALT DOHRN
RUNTIME: 93 MINS APPROX