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Shrek Forever After (2010)

US Certificate: PG

Shrek (voice of Mike Myers) has all the makings of a happy life—great wife, three cute babies, friends who love him—and he’s starting to hate it. Gone are his loner days of terrorizing towns and rolling in mud, and he wishes for one day that he could escape the tedium of his currently idyllic life and be his old ogre self. Of course, he doesn’t realize that making wishes when you’re in a fairytale land usually leads to mayhem and shenanigans, and before you can say, “Once upon a time …,” the big green guy has been tricked by a little weasely guy into signing away a day of his life, never realizing that when you’re dealing with Rumpelstiltskin, you always need to read the fine print.

When the first Shrek movie roared its way onto screens, I don’t think anyone knew what to expect, but what they got was the start of one of the most universally engaging animated franchises in history—and it wasn’t even from Pixar or Disney! Shrek 2 was more of the same, adding in a few more memorable characters to the mix. Unfortunately the third installment was a little flat, compared to its predecessors, and it seemed that a bit of the magic was gone. Shrek Forever After, which says it’s the last feature film of the series, is still not up to the level of the first two, but it’s much better than the third, and it’s an enjoyable send-off to an unforgettable group of characters.

It’s because these are such great characters, though, that when the script begins to sag, we’re all the more disappointed. Shrek has always been as much about the supporting cast as it has the lead ogre. That seems to be where this film falls a little short—plenty of Shrek and Fiona, but it feels a little light in the Donkey, and Puss in Boots doesn’t really show up until more than halfway through. Also, it feels like there was a big opportunity missed with those witches, because they’re played as interchangeable, when really, what character archetype has a wider range of reference to draw from? One exception to the lack of side support is with tiny, villainous Rumpelstiltskin (voice of Walt Dohrn), a perfect itty-bitty bad guy with a love for wigs and a decidedly NON-superstar name voicing him—a choice that works. When everyone’s together, it all works, and even though there aren’t as many clever references as in past films, that doesn’t mean it’s not funny, just not AS funny.

It's Got: As always great animation, Funny moments, A satisfying end to a franchise

It Needs: A little more spark, More Puss in Boots, Better use of witches


All in all, it’s a good film, not a great one, but one that ends the series well, and one that the kids will love.