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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Shrek Forever After

Guest Reviewer: Amy Biancolli, Hearst Movie Writer


Shrek Masterprint
11 in. x 17 in.
Buy at

Framed   Mounted

Starring: Mike Myers ... Shrek (voice)

Eddie Murphy ... Donkey (voice)

Cameron Diaz ... Princess Fiona (voice)

Antonio Banderas ... Puss in Boots (voice)

Julie Andrews ... Queen (voice)

Jon Hamm ... Brogan (voice)

John Cleese ... King Harold (voice)

Craig Robinson ... Cookie (voice)

Walt Dohrn ... Rumpelstiltskin / Priest / Krekraw Ogre (voice)

Jane Lynch ... Gretched (voice)

Lake Bell ... Patrol Witch / Wagon Witch #2 (voice)

Kathy Griffin ... Dancing Witch / Wagon Witch #1 (voice)

Mary Kay Place ... Guard Witch (voice)

Kristen Schaal ... Pumpkin Witch / Palace Witch (voice)

Meredith Vieira ... Broomsy Witch (voice)

Synopsis: After challenging an evil dragon, rescuing a beautiful princess and saving your in-laws' kingdom, what's an ogre to do? Well, if you're Shrek, you suddenly wind up a domesticated family man. Instead of scaring villagers away like he used to, a reluctant Shrek now agrees to autograph pitch forks. What's happened to this ogre's roar? Longing for the days when he felt like a "real ogre," Shrek is duped into signing a pact with the smooth-talking dealmaker, Rumpelstiltskin. Shrek suddenly finds himself in a twisted, alternate version of Far Far Away, where ogres are hunted, Rumpelstiltskin is king and Shrek and Fiona have never met. Now, it's up to Shrek to undo all he's done in the hopes of saving his friends, restoring his world and reclaiming his one True Love.

Review: by Amy Biancolli, Hearst Movie Writer

Not so very long ago there lived a mighty ogre in a sour mood. He had every reason to be happy, having made a snug home for himself with his adoring ogress wife and their three cooing ogrettes.

Yet he felt dissatisfied. As sometimes happens with domesticated animated ogres, he had a midlife crisis and foolishly made a deal with a short, vindictive wizard known as Rumpelstiltskin, agreeing to swap one day from his infancy for one day of feeling like a monster again - shrieking, thudding around, watching the children scatter.

But in the land of milk and franchises, nothing ever goes according to plan. Especially not for Shrek (Mike Myers), he of the cushiony build and Scottish accent, whose rumbling return in the fourth and final film to bear his name - and the first in 3-D - takes him to much drearier places than he'd ever been before. "Shrek Forever After" wanders far away from the infectious and propulsive zing that we've come to expect the past nine years.

"Shrek Forever After" thrusts our hero into a gloomy-tunes alternate universe where Rumpelstiltskin is an ogre-oppressing despot and Fiona (Cameron Diaz) won't give Shrek the time of day. There isn't much sweetness and light in the resultant film, and not many belly laughs - although Shrek does meet up with alternate versions of his old friends Puss (now bootless and fat, but voiced with the usual grandiloquence by Antonio Banderas) and Donkey (still Eddie Murphy, still belting out mediocre pop songs).

This being DreamWorks, the computer animation is dynamic and imaginative, no less so for being cast in duskier hues. But the plot cuts closer to dystopian sci-fi than buoyant family cartoon, and Shrek is dragging around some awfully heavy psychological baggage for an ogre.

Rumpelstiltskin, on the other hand, is a joy to behold, a totalitarian psychoneurotic gnome for the ages. Voiced by Walt Dohrn like Jason Lee on helium, he sports the shoes of Aladdin and the head of an ignited road flare. Watching anyone on a quest for world domination is always a swell time at the multiplex, and this guy's no exception; unfortunately for Shrek, he eats the movie.

Shrek 2

Shrek 2 Masterprint
11 in. x 17 in.

Buy at
Framed   Mounted

From the start, the "Shrek" films have had a deconstructive agenda: In mashing together bits of fables and spitting them out as humor, they've applied a self-aware and thoroughly modern irony to age-old folktales that plumb the human psyche's darkest urges. They're Grimm by definition. But this one is grimmer than usual.

-- Advisory: Mild action, some rude humor and brief language.


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