Saturday, August 14, 2010

Movie review - Shrek4 - the final chapter... that's far enough people, step away from the sequel, there's nothing to see here...

Meant to post this a week or so agone but tootled off to France and forgot, apologies gentle reader, I crave your forgiveness.

There's no doubt that the first Shrek film changed the rules for animated movies, a fantasy world, engaging characters, real grown-up humour and all very nicely judged. The second in the franchise was pretty good too, full of gags and oblique references although, for me the third was disappointing (actually I can't think of anything where Rupert Everett has been a key player that wasn't disappointing).

For the fourth in the series, (hopefully the last), the level of imagination is back as Shrek finds himself, in an alternate universe, my use of "finds himself" is, by the way, a clever double entendre in that we revisit the same themes of middle-aged parental angst, selfishness v family responsibility and "what really matters".

The alternate world aspect gives the Dreamworks animators the chance to play around with existing characters in unfamiliar ways and to i
ntroduce us to new, although less well rounded) characters and opposing armies of ogres and witches, but it was really the believability, the consistency and the depth of characterization of the key players that made the first two films such a hit, along with the unexpected, oddball moments. Think of the Riverdancing Robin Hood, the interrogation of the gingerbread man,("not my gumdrop buttons"), Puss-in-Boots' disarming eyes, the swamp full of fairytale creatures, Shrek as a handsome chap.

Despite the alternate universe aspect this effort doesn't really have the novelty factor, we now know the rules of Far-far-away, far far too well.

I'm sure it won't spoil it for anyone if I mention that it's not a sad ending and there are more than enough fun moments to make it worth the trip, but, really, not enough to justify Shrek the Fifth.

(And it's not worth paying the premium for 3D either)

A Haiku ?

From far far away
our Ogres come 4th 4 2 play
Let's call it a day


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