Shrek gets his groove back…
Cast: Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy & Antonio Banderas
Directed by: Mike Mitchell
Screenplay by: Josh Klausner & Darren Lemke
After making a deal with Rumpelstiltskin, Shrek (Myers) finds himself trapped in an alternate universe where his family and friends no longer recognise him.
What a pleasant surprise this is, the fourth entry in the Shrek franchise not only massively improves on its limp predecessor, Shrek The Third, but also manages to get back on par with parts 1 and 2. Newly on board Director, Mike Mitchell has simply gone back-to-basics and in doing so has rediscovered what made the first two Shrek’s sing in the first place.
Most surprisingly, this is the first Shrek picture to present a fresh spin on the story. With Shrek waking up in an alternate universe where his family and friends no longer recognise him, this sequel manages to seperate itself from the previous films. The plot also allows Shrek to fall in love with Fiona all over again and therefore give an emotional kick to proceedings. There is real energy and purpose to the film with Shrek forced to race against the clock to complete his goal (something sorely missing last time out).
Perhaps even more importantly, Donkey and Puss In Boots are fully back on song and unlike Shrek The Third, very much included in the story. Donkey takes the biggest share of the laughs but the ingenious decision to turn Puss into an overweight, spoiled pet allows him to steal every scene he’s in.
Also, where as Shrek The Third opted to throw in some poorly misjudged new characters, Shrek Forever After instead adds memorable ones. The villain of the piece (no more Prince Charming), Rumpelstiltskin is a weaselly, sneaky delight, voiced superbly by Walt Dohrn who is actually a storyboard artist for DreamWorks. This time out as well, we are not forced to watch endless scenes of fairytale referencing – one of the major downfalls of Shrek The Third – instead there are just the odd clever moments, like one of Rumpelstiltskin’s witches melting away in true Wizard Of Oz fashion or Pinocchio’s hilarious attempts at gaining a potion to make him a real boy.
Throw in a whole army of Ogre’s, a couple of thrilling action set-pieces and some vivid 3D that never feels gimmicky, and you have yourself a truly magical return to form for the lovable Ogre and co. Will next summer’s, Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides pull off a similar surprise? Here’s hoping…