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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Computer Animation > Fantasy > Fairy Tale > Shrek The Third (Blu-ray/DreamWorks)

Shrek The Third (Blu-ray/DreamWorks)


Picture: B+     Sound: B+     Extras: B-     Film: C



The Shrek film series is one that has devolved with time.  Once upon a time Shrek was a fresh film idea that succeeded where many others had failed, garnering the ability to balance the classic fairy tale archetypes with relevant and modern humor.  The first film was full of heart and humor that both children and adults could love; but by the time the third film rolled down the yellow brick road, something had been lost.  No longer was the film a soulful animated comedy that was targeted at children, while having the makings of something that anyone could enjoy; instead it was a film that got too big for its own good.


Shrek the Third is a choppy, clunky film that throws jokes in the audiences’ face instead of existing as a subtle undertone as they had in the previous two films.   On top of the formulaic “family friendly” jokes there is an overabundance of meaningless messages of such things as “be who you are” and “girl power.”  Positive messages and solid role models are always good things to promote in films, but the manner in which Shrek the Third projected those messages made them seem more like meaningless dribble then anything else.  In the end the third film is a weak attempt to recapture the heart and comedy of the first two films.


The new fairy tale installment starts with the King of Far, Far Away (John Cleese) falling ill (i.e.-dying) and in turn leaving Shrek and Fiona to be next in line to rule the kingdom.  Shrek insists that there is no way an ogre can rule the kingdom and with his final breath the king informs Shrek that there is only one other person that can take the throne; Arthur Pendragon (Justin Timberlake).  Donkey, Shrek, and Puss in Boots set out to find the ‘would be’ king, but just as the ship sets sail Fiona yells from the dock that she is pregnant; which only sparks nightmarish thoughts in Shrek’s head.  When the gang finally meets up with Arthur ‘Artie’ Pendragon at Worcestershire University, he turns out to be a nerdy loser who is picked on by everyone…even the nerds.  Looking at it as his chance to get back on anyone and everyone who has ever picked on him, Artie is more than thrilled to get a chance to be King of Far, Far Away…that is until Puss in Boots and Donkey inform him of the hardships of being royalty, like plague and famine.  A scared Artie decides to take matters into his own hands and crashes the ship set for Far, Far Away into an island, where the crew inadvertently meets up with Arthur’s old wizard professor, Merlin (Eric Idle).


Back in Far, Far Away the now outcast Prince Charming (due to events in Shrek 2) is planning to take back his “happily ever after.”  In probably one of the funnier parts of the film, Charming (Rupert Everett) gathers all the villains in Far, Far Away; including Captain Hook, the Headless Horseman, the Ugly Step Sister, and many more to pillage the kingdom.  The film shifts to an action/adventure tale of friends working together to save each other and defeating evil.  There are odd and magical events thrown in left and right to help the story evolve, but it is the characters working off each other that are the true essence of the story.


The technical features of this new Blu-ray release are very similar to those found on the earlier HD-DVD release.  The picture is presented in a clean, crisp 1080p 1.78 X 1 Widescreen that has bright colors with solid blacks that extenuate each and every scene.  The detail is very nice and is second, as far as Blu-ray animation features go, only to Disney/Pixar productions.  The sound is an English 5.1 Dolby True HD that is solid and crisp; using the entire soundstage with good precision as it projects from each speaker.


The extras include 4 Blu-ray exclusives featuring The Animator’s Corner: Picture in Picture Interactive Storyboards, My Menus: Customizable Character Menus, Shrek’s Trivia Track, and The World of Shrek.  Whereas it is nice to have extras, the Blu-ray exclusive ones are nothing very exciting.  The other extras included are all in HD and feature special tid bits like Learn the Donkey Dance, Lost Scenes, The Tech of Shrek, Big Green Goofs, Shrek’s Guide to Parenthood, Merlin’s Magic Crystal Ball, Artie’s Yearbook, and a few more hidden features that will keep many fans entertained.


Whereas this is definitely the worst Shrek film, it is not a total loss.  It is nice to see the cast back together again and with the plethora of other bad animated films that hit the big screen today; this reviewer will always take another Shrek feature film…or even a Christmas Special.



-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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