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Subject: Shrek 3? More Ogre than Prince rss

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Nate Rethorn
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The curse of the three-quels seems to be plaguing Hollywood in full force this year, as Shrek the Third provides an unexpectedly disappointing installment in what once was the only animated franchise that could match Pixar in wit and charm (of a sort). This time around, however, the producers have fallen victim to their own successes — or perhaps merely run out of ideas. Shrek the Third is almost devoid of humor; and even running at a trim 92 minutes, has little momentum to propel its staggeringly weak plot forward, instead relying on halfhearted slapstick comedy and tired gags to cover up the fact that this movie, in fact, simply isn’t much fun.

All of the cast from Shrek 2 are back once more, but there are no new characters with the same pizazz as Antonio Banderas’s Puss in Boots. Rather, Justin Timberlake gives a mediocre performance as the future King Arthur, now a shrimpy high school student in Worcestershire who prefers to be called Artie. Such a nickname can’t possibly do much for his manhood, as he spends his time being a target dummy for Lancelot’s jousting club and getting picked on by the resident D&D nerds.

After King Harold (John Cleese) passes away in a painfully protracted death scene, Shrek (Mike Myers) is now first in line to assume the throne — even though he would rather do nothing more than retire to his swamp with Fiona (Cameron Diaz) and live the rest of his life king- and child-free. The only way out of this rather unenviable position is to bring Artie back home and have him claim the crown instead — fairly simple, right? Actually, for once it is: Shrek the Third neglects to build any sort of meaningful dichotomy or conflict between Shrek and Artie, but squeezes both characters into a generic “uncertain teacher/uncertain pupil” relationship during their trek home to Far, Far Away. Sidekicks Puss in Boots and Donkey (Eddie Murphy) serve only as scene filler for much of the movie, and the duo’s visual gag late into the second act falls flat in both premise and execution.

Complicating matters for beleaguered Shrek is Fiona’s announcement that ogre babies might be arriving soon; yet her pregnancy is woefully underdeveloped, and there are many missed opportunities for genuine humor regarding her situation. Rather, Shrek the Third takes the easy way out with the return of Prince Charming (Rupert Everett), leading an assorted band of fairy-tale villains (including Captain Hook and Rumpelstiltskin) and seeking to reclaim his “rightful” kingdom. The biggest problem with this plot development is that it doesn’t go anywhere; Charming takes over the castle, holds the kingdom hostage — and prepares an extravagant stage production, starring himself as a noble knight rescuing Rapunzel from her tower. As evil mastermind plans go, this one is rather anticlimactic. Only the fortuitous arrival of Shrek himself allows the prince to add drama to the proceedings, but even then there is little sense of urgency for anyone involved. And the addition of talented comediennes Cheri Oteri, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, and Amy Sedaris as Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Rapunzel, and Cinderella, respectively, barely enhance this lackluster story; they are given little with which to work.

Shrek the Third looks awfully pretty, of course; the top-notch animation has always been one of Shrek’s strengths. And it avoids the “bigger is better” syndrome which made such a mess of Spider-Man 3. But directors Chris Miller and Raman Hui have mistaken broad physical comedy for genuine humor and produced a film which feels trite at almost every turn. The wit of the first two films is also gone; nary a chuckle can be found amongst the interminable plotting and clichéd gags. Kids will most likely enjoy seeing the return of Shrek, but it should come as little surprise when the most-requested repeat viewings are for the first two films. Shrek the Third is a halfhearted mix of all sorts of unoriginality, and it is hard to see where the green ogre could possibly go from here.

C-.

Author's note: This review has been cross-posted at http://ignorantcritics.com. I'm a blogger with weekly movie reviews, and I figured it couldn't hurt to put one up on here. arrrh
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Zack Stockdale
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yep, that sums up my feelings nicely as well.
 
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Dave Lartigue
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I have eaten some Netrunner counters, a treasure token from Nemo's War, and a First Martians condition token. Also maybe a Fallout "L" token.
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NOW HOLD ON I RESENT THAT




I didn't see the second one, but describing the first one as "witty" is generous.
 
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Legomancer wrote:
NOW HOLD ON I RESENT THAT




I didn't see the second one, but describing the first one as "witty" is generous.

Trust me, Shrek 1 comes out looking like the absolute pinnacle of film comedies if you compare it to its putrid sequel. I'll definitely pass on part 3.
 
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Nate Rethorn
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Shrek 2 was a definite step down from the original, but it succeeded in one important way: kids enjoyed it just as much as the first. That was Dreamworks' target audience, after all. But I strongly suspect that after the opening weekend furor dies down, Shrek 3 is going to experience a rapid decline in popularity. It really doesn't have anything going for it; adults won't be satisfied with its insipid plot, and kids won't laugh at many of the jokes at all. But it'll probably make enough money to crank out a fourth...
 
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Eddie the Cranky Gamer
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The first one was well conceived and did well on its own merits. The second one total crap, so I don't even know why anyone would see the third, except that most people are stupid and see whatever commercials tell them to see.
Congratulations stupid people. You win.

(Should one ever hit Universal Studios theme park, the Shrek 3D film they have there is really top notch, just like the first film.)
 
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JessA
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That's MRS. McFoxFace to you!
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I will see the third one because I have three kids who already feel culturally deprived because I don't let them watch whatever they want.

At least I know what I'm in for when we go.

Actually, the fact that there are far too few family movies is reason why this will stay popular.
 
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Darren M
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Spend the $50+ that you would have spent taking the family to that stinker of a movie and buy a couple really nice boardgames to play with them instead. Problem solved.
 
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JessA
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That's MRS. McFoxFace to you!
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nexttothemoon wrote:
Spend the $50+ that you would have spent taking the family to that stinker of a movie and buy a couple really nice boardgames to play with them instead. Problem solved.

Yeah, and when their friends are talking about the Shrek movie, they can wow them by saying that they have the latest Reiner Knizia title. That'll help them feel like they fit in.




---edited to say---

don't worry, I'm WAY too cheap to spend $50 on a movie, we wait until it comes to the dollar theater which is tortuous enough for my kids.
 
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Ken B.
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We saw it--my six-year old and three-year old loved it, but at most my wife and I got a few chuckles out of it.

Part II was great in that it had enough to appeal to both children and adults, and had a good story to boot.


This one had little heart or imagination, as though they are just turning it over to the kids. Paper thin story, mostly slapstick humor and visual gags, very little in the way of snappy dialogue. It ran for 90 minutes and even that was with obvious filler (the donkey/puss gag was something that had no point and went nowhere, seemingly only added to fill time; ditto the escape sequence of the princesses, which made no sense in retrospect considering how it played out.)
 
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We had a coupon so it was only $3 bucks a ticket. I didn't think it was all that bad. I thought it was just a fun movie that didn't pretend to be anything it's not. It is just a light hearted flick that doesn't aspire to be Disney or Pixar "classic." >shrug< I had fun for my money, my son (3 1/2) sat through the whole thing. I'd give it a "C" - It is just an average movie but an enjoyable average movie
 
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Kurt
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It seems that when they remove most of the already dated pop culture references from their script they aren't actually left with anything. As my wife put it, you just felt like you were waiting for the film to do what you knew it had to do. There were absolutely no surprises. While technically nice (animation, FX, etc.), without a decent or even passable script, it really isn't worth wasting your money, let alone time, on.

My 3 year old barely made it through a half hour before squirming.

If you want a fun family move go see Meet the Robinsons. Significantly more entertaining.
 
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I've been crazy, couldn't you tell. I threw stones at the stars, but the whole sky fell.
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Well, once again we find that clowning and anarchy don't mix.
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I loved the first one, liked the second one and will go see the third one for that reason.

I see we had the obligatory "if you have a different opinion about this, you are stupid" comment. Nice.
 
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