Monday, December 10, 2012

Shrek the Third (2007) - Another Round for the Shrek Gang

Shrek the Third (2007) Shrek DVD cover
"Shrek the Third" (2007).

"Shrek the Third" (2007) sees Shrek dealing with the succession of he throne while Fiona's father, Kin Harold, lies on his deathbed. He is next in line, but he doesn't want the job because his experiences as Regent during Harold's illness have been bad.

Shrek the Third (2007) Alternate Shrek poster showing opening date
"Shrek the Third."

The cast returns from Shrek and Shrek 2: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Julie Andrews, John Cleese, Rupert Everett, and the rest. There are new directors, Chris Miller and Raman Hui. The film was nominated as Best Animated Film at the BAFTA and Kid's Choice Awards.

Shrek the Third (2007) Shrek ladies of the court on the attack in Shrek the Third 2007
The ladies take over in "Shrek the Third."

The film also was a big box office success. Its immediate predecessor,  Shrek 2, is the highest grossing animated film of all time in the US, so there were a lot of fans ready to embrace this film. Myers doesn't usually do that well creatively in third films of his franchises, though, and this is no exception.

Shrek the Third (2007) Shrek and Fiona in bed talking to the donkey
You woke us up for THIS?

In this instalment, Shrek has to find Harold's nephew, Arthur Pendragon, who now is the rightful heir. He sets out with Donkey and Puss in Boots. The problem is that Arthur is timid and picked-on, and the job frightens him. As they sail home, he panics and wrecks their ship on an island where Arthur's old wizard teacher, Merlin, lives.

Shrek the Third (2007) Shrek, the donkey and Fiona
Fiona before her transformation in "Shrek the Third."

Prince Charming, meanwhile, wants to be king himself, so he rounds up a gang that includes Captain Hook, Rumpelstiltskin, the Headless Horseman and others. They besiege the castle, and Rapunzel betrays everyone and lets him in because she has a thing for the Prince.

Shrek the Third (2007) Shrek with a puzzled expression
Artie has difficulty adjusting to the idea of being king in "Shrek the Third."

Shrek and his gang get Merlin to send them back to the castle, but after some investigating, Charming captures them and prepares to kill Arthur, which he thinks will assure him of the throne, but Shrek talks him out of it. The Princesses break out of jail and come to Shrek's rescue, leading to a dramatic confrontation at a play that Charming stages.

Shrek the Third (2007) Arthur and Shrek fighting over the ships tiller in Shrek the Third 2007
Artie trying to take over in "Shrek the Third."

The plot is somewhat involved, and echoes in some respects classical plays and films like Richard III. That is all very well and good for adults, but kids  may have a difficult time following along at times. The film lacks some of the humor of the previous two films. Some of the characters, such as Merlin, are just not that funny, and there are an awful lot of villains that aren't really developed.  It seems more bland, with Shrek fighting for some nebulous thing that he doesn't even really care about anyway. It also is difficult to work up a lot of sympathy for Arthur. On the positive side, there is a lot of energy, with lots of battles and so forth, and all sorts of little unexpected twists that keep you wondering what will happen next.

Shrek the Third (2007) Merlin, arms raised, in Shrek the Third 2007
Merlin casting a spell in "Shrek the Third."

Not my favorite film in the franchise, that's for sure. The next film and presumably final film, Shrek Forever After, winds up the series and is a little bit more fun than this one. They kind of lost the focus with this film, running off in all sorts of new directions rather than sticking with Shrek and his own concerns, but it still is entertaining. If you were to skip one film in the franchise, this would be the one.


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