Director: Mike Mitchell
Starring the Voices of: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas
The final chapter of the Shrek series isn’t likely to stay in your memory for long, but it wraps things up nicely after a lacklustre third outing. While not as laugh-out-loud funny as the first two, the newest entry manages to craft an interesting story based around a what-if scenario.
With the mundane reality of family life beginning to set in, Shrek longs for the days when villagers chased him around with torches and pitchforks. He wants to be feared again. When he finally snaps at his sons’ birthday, he says some harsh things and storms away in frustration. Stumbling upon the crafty Rumpelstiltskin, Shrek unwittingly enters into a terrible contract, one that makes him unknown to all of his friends and changes the land as he knows it. Shrek then sets about saving the kingdom from the mischievous magician.
Once again, the animation department has completely outdone itself. Every minute detail is excellently animated and provides spectacular eye candy throughout the film. The characters are brimming with life and personality. Even busy action scenes manage to maintain a brilliant clarity so there is never a feeling of clutter on the screen. It really is a treat for the eyes and, as with so many animated films nowadays, the people involved are masters of their craft.
The voice acting is once again excellent. Mike Myers gives a fantastic performance, this time showing his emotional vocal range with some of the more powerful scenes. Eddie Murphy is revelling in his role as Donkey, which this time seems to consist of making Donkey break into song as often as possible. Antonio Banderas does a great job of voicing fan-favourite Puss in Boots, the only problem being his criminally small role. Walt Dohrn, a long time animator, really gives it his all as Rumpelstiltskin. This character is among the most emotive and fascinating in any animated film I’ve seen. Cameron Diaz is so-so as Fiona, and she never really sounds like she’s enjoying the role at all, as much as you can enjoy the role of a hardy female ogre anyway. Mike Mitchell directs the film well, but the direction is overshadowed by the sheer stunning of the animation.
The film lacks a generous amount of laughs, but the few that there are here do work quite well. To compensate, this entry takes a much more story orientated approach. As a family movie, this doesn’t have the cheery appeal of past Shrek movies. The previous stories were much more approachable and filled with laughs than Shrek Forever After. No matter what I say though, seeing as this is being touted as The Final Chapter, I’m sure families will come in their droves to see the ogre one more time. It never reaches the height of past movies, but it’s still a serviceable send off nonetheless.