Dreamworks Pictures hit the jackpot in 2001, when they took a chance on an awkward ogre named Shrek. Six years later, the now three-film series is one of the most popular animated series of all time and has become a cult favorite for adults and children alike.

Shrek the Third picks up where the second film left off, with the king of Far Far Away still incapacitated following his being turned into a frog. Shrek (Mike Meyers) and his Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) have stepped in to fill the king and queen’s duties, but Shrek is finding the task extraordinarily difficult. He hopelessly fouls up normally routine kingly duties, causing mahem and chaos in the king’s stead. Things go even more downhill after the froggy king, well, croaks.

But before dying, the king tells Shrek he wants the ogre to take over the reigns as king of Far Far Away, an idea Shrek is not at all keen on continuing. There is one other heir remaining, a teenager named Arthur (Justin Timberlake). The king gives Shrek a choice: take the kingdom for himself or find Artie and try to convince him to take over instead.
Shrek jumps on the opportunity to give up the kingdom, and sails off for distant lands to find the heir. At the same time, Fiona drops a bombshell when she informs Shrek she is pregnant, a revelation that shakes Shrek to the core.

And then there is the scheming Prince Charming (Rupert Everett), who hears of the kingdom’s controversy and sees an opportunity for revenge. He builds an army of classic fairy tale villains to take down the good guys in Far Far Away and reclaim his rightful place (or so he thinks) as king. Charming implements a successful coup de tat on Far Far Away, imprisoning Princess Fiona and her gaggle of princesses and employs Hook to find and eliminate Shrek, Donkey (Eddie Murphy), and Artie, who turns out to be an annoying, bumbling, and reluctant victim of high school torment. All of this sets in motion the hilarious melee that ensues and determines which members of the comedic cast will live happily ever after.

Shrek the Third is hysterical, through and through. This franchise has set the benchmark for cartoon comedy and has found a way to strike a perfect balance in its humor, appealing to adults and children alike. It is one of the only franchises in recent memory that a father and seven-year-old daughter can both go to and enjoy equally. It is chalk full of subtle innuendos that a viewer doesn’t notice unless he is looking for them. Children will miss them, but that doesn’t take away from the experience one bit. The story is still just as enjoying without the little idiosyncrasies that have put this franchise a cut above the rest, but for those who can appreciate them, it makes it all the more fun to be a part of.

The characters and dialogue are better than ever, this time with a whole new cast of characters to keep audiences rolling with laughter. Probably the most memorable of the new additions is the presence of Fiona’s high-class posse, which includes Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Cinderella, and, yes, Doris. The group interacts with each other like the ultimate desperate housewives, constantly trying to outdo each other and prove their superficial superiority. The result is laughter, in large doses.

Beyond the Monty Python-like humor that litters the script, there is not much to rave about in this film. The story is shallow and slow to develop. The filmmakers seem to be running out of fairy tales to butcher, this time reaching (maybe a little too far) for the legend of King Arthur to fill a significant amount of screen time. But the humor is why audiences keep coming back, and if the filmmakers continue to provide that necessary element, audiences will continue to keep coming back in droves.


3 stars-shrek 3

The Waynedale News Staff
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Dillon Kimmel

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