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Shrek Forever After

The theory is that Shrek Forever After is to be the last movie starring everyone’s favourite green ogre voiced by Mike Myers. The title sounds pretty finale, but then again there are five movies called Final Destination, so you know. Still, whether or not this is the end, the fact is that this is a pretty good chapter in the life of Shrek and company.

Shrek is now living in his swamp with his wife Fiona (Cameron Diaz) and his three kids while his friends Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) drop in for a visit every day. On paper, he has a good life: a good house, nice kids, a great wife and a few pals. Yet, married life is getting to Shrek. He has no time for himself, Fiona keeps asking him to unclog a sewage pipe, the kids need their diapers changed, and Donkey keeps coming home uninvited with his half-donkey half-dragon mutant kids for play dates. (I still think these offsprings are the weirdest fairy tale creatures ever animated and quite frankly are a little disturbing to look at. Come on! A donkey plus a dragon?  What do you tell the kids when they ask where mutant Donkey-Dragons come from?) To top it all off, a tour bus, or in this case tour carriage, keeps driving by while a guide is explaining to a bunch of tourists that in this swamp there lives a harmless ogre who is now married to a princess and neither of them would ever hurt a fly. Step right up folks! Watch the amazing harmless green muscle mountain! After a few days, that becomes annoying.

Eventually, Shrek snaps at his children’s birthday party and leaves wishing he had never rescued Fiona in the first place. They say “beware what you wish for” but in a world populated with fairy tale creatures, that should be a law. Little does Shrek know that there is an evil little gnome, troll, or whatever the hell he is, called Rumpelstiltskin who knows about Shrek’s troubles and gives an offer he should probably refuse, but doesn’t because otherwise there would be no movie.

Shrek therefore signs a deal that makes him feared by all of mankind once again for one full day, in exchange for a day of his past. What Rumpel neglected to tell him, clever ego-tripping maniac that he is, is that the day Shrek gave away completely alters the past and creates a new present. Shrek is now wandering through a parallel universe where Rumpel in now king, ogres are hunted by witches, Donkey never met Shrek, and Puss in Boots needs help from Jennie Craig. The only way out: Shrek must once again woo Fiona and give her a kiss that will prove he is her true love. Hey, it worked before.

Despite a plot that is clearly inspired by Its a Wonderful Life (how corny was that particular masterpiece) this last Shrek movie has some funny moments and decent action scenes. A particularly inspired casting choice is Craig Robinson as Cookie, the cook for the ogre rebels fighting Rumpel. His chief concern is how close his food stand will be to the battle field once the fighting is over. Apparently, there is nothing like a little ass-whooping to make a bunch of ogre warriors hungry. Eddie Murphy still delivers some pretty good lines every now and then, and his character has a nice chemistry with Antonio Banderas’ character. It probably can’t be called on screen chemistry since these two actors are heard but never actually seen on screen.

The surprising thing is how good Walt Dohnr is at voicing Rumplestilskin. If you have no clue as to who Walt Dohnr is, that is not surprising since so far his body of work consists of supporting voices for Shrek the Third, and writing and art department credits on a few other animated movies. He voices Rumple as an evil egocentric who has the ability to suck you into a bad deal. Sounds like a salesmen on Wall Street.
The fact that DreamWorks gave the role of the villain to what is essentially an unknown actor confirms what I have been suspecting for a long time: Mike Myers is grossly overpaid for this particular role. 



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