Sunday, 18 July 2010

The Thin White Dude's Reviews - Shrek Forever After or Shrek: The Final Chapter

This is the first (and hopefully only) film that I have reviewed which has the dubious honour of having people completely confused as to what its title is. Is it Shrek Forever After or Shrek: The Final Chapter? You tell me. Marketing seem to have gotten it wrong, with various posters having both titles. Wikipedia list Forever After as the title and The Final Chapter as the tagline.
Tell me then why Forever After is absent on many of the posters. Either way, the title is irrelevant, because the marketing geniuses at Dreamworks simply want you to know that there is a "NEW SHREK MOVIE" and want us all to flock en masse to the cinemas so they can make a lot of money. Post-rant, story goes this time round that Shrek, voiced by Mike Myers is having a sort of mid-life crisis, with a strained relationship between him and Fiona, voiced by Cameron Diaz, and stress involving his three children. Taking advantage of the situation is the devious Rumpelstiltskin, voiced by Walt Dohrn, who offers Shrek the opportunity to be the feared ogre he once was for a day, minus Fiona and his children, in exchange for a day in his life. As such, things go haywire, and Rumpelstiltskin rids Shrek of his existence via time paradoxes, and Shrek, lost in the past, must along with Donkey and Puss, voiced by Eddie Murphy and Antonio Banderas respectively, undo the wrongs of nasty Rumpel. To start with the good about the movie, of course, the animation department have once again done a really great job of making the world of Far Far Away look very lavish. Once again also, Eddie Murphy, who unfortunately has not had some great movies as of late, is as always, great as Donkey, and steals much of the film's laughs. Also, in terms of writing a new tale for Shrek, the script is a good step up from Shrek The Third, which was an incredibly boring film. Furthermore, the film was enjoyable enough to keep me watching without getting me too bored throughout. However, whilst the new Shrek movie isn't really a bad movie by any means, it is not exactly a good movie. This is one of those cases where I find it hard to review a movie because with a good movie you lavish all the praise you want, and with a bad movie there is a certain entertainment value in attempting to come up with interesting ways to say how bad it is, hence my digressions. Really, the overall problem with this film is the fact that the first Shrek for starters was a bit of a novelty film. At the time of its release all those aeons ago, it was a new and fresh movie, separate from the franchises and dribblesome vitriol that was being spewed out on a regular basis. Now, because of the advent of the film making money, the Shrek series has become as much a money-making machine with no real merit to its name as anyone who works in marketing or advertising. As Frank Zappa would title his Mothers Of Invention album, the only words your brain makes you remember from Shrek these days is "We're Only In It For The Money." Yes, I did praise the script ideas wise, but that was because for what it is, a money-making machine, it's not all that bad. However, it is like the recent Prince Of Persia, incredibly lazy film-making. Unlike Prince Of Persia though, in which case you felt they just gave up, in the case Shrek it seems as though the film-makers just don't care anymore. This is a shame because one of the things that attracted people to Shrek in the first place was that it had a heart, and there was a warmth and humanity to the series. It's not that Shrek can't deal with darker material, and it has done so well before, like most of the fairy tales it parodies/tributes, it's just that to describe Shrek in one word after seeing this film and its previous film, it would be vacuous. Vacuous in heart, vacuous in laughs (I tittered on my count two or three times, which is poor for Shrek's standards) and vacuous in anything worth caring about. The audience cannot care for these characters anymore if the film-makers don't either. My advice is simply to stop, because I am both grumpy and completely heartbroken (yes, heartbroken) by the monster that Shrek has become (please don't contradict, I know the gag, he's an ogre). Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case, for after four "Shrek" movies, a number of direct-to-video releases, the Shrek The Halls Christmas TV movie, they really don't care, for the next movie in the series is a spin-off entitled Puss In Boots. I kid you not, and not only has Antonio Banderas sold his soul, but Salma Hayek and Zach Galifianakis have also signed up. After this, we'll be seeing The Gingerbread Man, Pinocchio And Other Assorted Tales Designed To Keep Us Making Money Now That We No Longer Care For Shrek. And no, there is no happily ever after here, just soulless machines that will continue to make these movies forever after.

The Thin White Dude's Prognosis - 5.3/10

The Thin White Dude's Self-Diagnosis - I need a hero, because Shrek won't save us any more, for I've stopped loving him

P.S. Too many movies lately with time paradoxes and plot devices rendering events in the movie completely superfluous. Time as narrative device has become an easy way out for film-makers being lazy, so viewers watch, these films aren't as smart as they make out to be. Also sorry, I know it's not much of a review, but I suppose it's a reflection of the lazy film-making at hand.

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