Shrek the Third

⭐⭐⭐ based on 2 reviews.

tl;dr: Fun enough but a little flat and not on par with either the original or the first sequel on the whole, despite the occasional moment of genius.






Spoilers Ahead: My reviews are not spoiler-free. You have been warned.

Bizarrely, this is the first time I've seen the third instalment in the popular ogre-based franchise. I've seen the first more times than I can count, the second well into double digits and the fourth at least twice, but the third has eluded me for years. It finally dropped onto Netflix sometime recently so I jumped at the change to 'complete' the story. The result? It's fine.

Honestly, my biggest reaction to watching this now decade-old film (woah...) was how much the cast has just disappeared. Actors like Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, John Cleese, Antonio Banderas: these were all huge names in the mid-2000s. Now, though, I can't remember the last time I saw them featured in anything, really. It feels like the Shrek train rolled on so long they could all retire, which I could full well believe.

As a film, Shrek the Third is a painting-by-numbers sequel. By the third instalment I feel they had pretty much run out of ideas and were just rolling with the logical sequence of events. If Shrek has married the princess then, someday, he'll become king: how would he react? Now Shrek is married, the next step is children: how would he react? That's about as far as the plot goes, with a side-line notion of rounding off Prince Charming's story from film two. Sprinkle in some toilet humour, get Puss/Donkey into some wacky subplot and add a couple more parodies of well known mythic or fairy tale creatures et voila, you have a Shrek film.

The result is neither good nor bad. It's enjoyable enough, with some genuinely funny, stand out moments and some great song choices. Snow White's switch into Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin stands up to any gag from the original film, the Princesses', in general, had some fun riffs and the medieval American High of Worcestershire was well executed. Beyond that though, little was new or innovative. Shrek's dialogue felt stilted, and neither Puss or Donkey had any particularly memorable moments. The Frog King's death was cringe-worthy and Charming's plan, execution and role felt lacklustre. King Arthur ('Arty') was a good enough excuse for the plot, but the references to Arthurian legend never really went anywhere, which felt like a wasted opportunity.

Voice work was without fault, which you would expect from a cast both of this calibre and with this much experience playing these characters. Animation looked a little dated by today's standards but, honestly, is good enough to stand up for a long time to come. The only really odd part was how uncanny-valley Shrek's face appears sometimes - there just isn't enough space around his facial features, making it look somehow photoshopped into place. I'd be interested to rewatch either of the previous films to see if this is some change in rendering for Shrek the Third or just dating of the technology used in general.

At the end of the day, Shrek the Third is what you would expect: a quickly put together piece of children's entertainment, designed to maximise the return from the original's insane level of (deserved) popularity. As a film with little reason to exist beyond making more money, it does a lot better than it could have done. As a film with little reason to exist beyond making more money, it really isn't worth a watch. But, if you have a spare two hours and fancy a mildly entertaining romp with well-known characters, it won't overly disappoint either.


[This is the first review where the original was on the old MiM system and the rewatch is on the new Craft system. Huzzah!]

As we're currently working our way through the Shrek franchise, it was time to rewatch Shrek the Third... and I largely agree with what I said last time. Interestingly, I did feel like Shrek's face was a bit off whilst watching, and that's compared to the original two films, which means they clearly did something odd with the character models or textures for film three. I also still agree that, for the most part, this is a film showing signs of being written by formula with rare moments of excellence.

Crucially, those moments are never given room to breathe. Yes, Snow White's Led Zeppelin homage is brilliant, but it ends way too quickly. Eric Idle's Merlin should have been far more fun and, indeed, the entire Arthurian legend could have been more usefully tied in. I actually think that Arthur should have been the main focus and would rather have seen him unite his schoolmates to form his knights with Shrek's help, rather than the Charming vs. the rest of the cast plot we get. Also, the whole theatre element really doesn't make any sense. It's interesting to look at and they do a great job of designing that "set" but it is a bit lacklustre compared to the emotional finale of Shrek and the action-packed finale of Shrek 2.

I also feel it's a great shame that the closing song was just stuck in the credits, rather than somehow being built into the show like the previous films. Again, this feels like a half baked idea, cooked for just long enough to be passable but not refined in any way. Which is a shame, because underneath I do still think this film is much better than it needed to be and could have easily been taken up a level or two. Though I did mind the death of the king sequence less, it seems, with time.

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