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56 of 65 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 2010
In the fourth and last installment of the Shrek franchise, Shrek (Mike Myers) finds himself becoming tired of his "domesticated" life when the routines of married life and fatherhood meet with the constant bombardment of fame and somewhat annoying friends. After storming out of his son's first birthday party Shrek runs into Rumplestiltskin (Walt Dohrn), who learns of Shrek's desires to be the ogre he once was and offers him a magical contract that would allow him to be an true ogre for a day, in exchange for one thing. In that exchange, though, Shrek gets much more than he bargained for.

When the first Shrek came out it was a brilliant anti-fairy tale fairy tale. Openly lampooning Disney movies and theme parks, Shrek was a fresh take on the animated fairy tale where the main characters didn't live happily ever after as picture perfect prince and princess, but as ogres, typically the scourge of any fairy tale. Since then two other Shrek movies have come out, and rather than embracing the counter culture of the first film, the franchise bought into it's own hype and into pop culture and lost the spirit of the original. While not bad films, they were unnecessary and even sapped some of the brilliance of the original. Now with the finale of Shrek in theaters, how does it stand up?

More-so than it's predecessors Shrek Forever After tries to come back home to more of the feeling of the first film. Even the plot of the film of Shrek's desire to go back to being a lone ogre on the outskirts of society seems to echo what the filmmakers were desiring to accomplish in picking a premise that allowed them to nearly replicate some of the situations of the first movie. That's one of the strengths of the film is that you get to re-meet the characters in a new fashion and in slightly new characterizations than previous which amps up the fun of this film compared to the previous films.

Reaching into an alternate universe has allowed the writers, and the actors, to revision the characters adding to the freshness of this installment in the series. Fiona is now a warrior, leading an ogre rebellion against the king. Donkey, while still the over talkative, funny if slightly annoying sidekick he's a little more wary and a bit brighter than he was in Shrek's real world. Puss has let himself go, and won't even chase a mouse that's sharing his milk. The real surprise here is Walt Dohrn, a writer/storyboard artist who makes his vocal film debut as the voice of the film's baddie, Rumplestiltskin. Everyone does a great job with their vocal work, but Walt and his character steal the show.

But for all the good, you can't go home, and Shrek doesn't quite go home either. Compared to the first film this one feels a little tame, sterile. First off, the premise makes this almost seem like a remake of the first film, causing it to loose some of it's freshness. On top of that there's a moral that really stands out, which is something I don't recall being aware of while watching the first three Shrek films, even though it was there.

All in all, I would highly recommend this film. Easily it's the second best of the four Shrek films. Each of the three sequels were unnecessary, but this was definitely a higher note to go out on than the last two films. If they had to go through sequels, I'm not sure they could have asked for a better film to go out on. If you've watched the last couple of Shrek films and found yourself to be disappointed give this a try, it doesn't quite capture the magic of the first film but it gets closer than the other sequels.

3.5/5
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34 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2010
"Shrek Forever After" (if that is its real title) achieves exactly what it wanted to achieve simply by being a fun animated comedy with characters we've come to love. Still, for something so heavily promoted as being the final chapter, I'm surprised at how small and ordinary it seemed. Movies like this should end with a bang, emotionally and physically; they should not go from beginning to end on a slow and steady burn. By the end, most will feel as if they've been entertained. I felt that way. At the same time, some may feel that, in all likelihood, this movie didn't have to be made. I felt that way, too. Perhaps it's no longer a good sign that we can be so easily amused by unnecessary films. Are they no stories left to stimulate our imaginations and broaden our horizons at the same time?

In this film, Shrek (voiced by Mike Myers) finds that he's dissatisfied with his new life as a domestic ogre. As a husband and father, he has absolutely no free time. Villagers no longer fear him. He can't take a mud bath without being invaded by swamp tourists. Knowing he's desperate for a change, the disgruntled Rumpelstiltskin (voiced by Walt Dohrn) offers Shrek a chance live one day as his old ogre self. The catch, as I understand it, is that one day out of his past will be erased from time - give a day to get a day, according to Rumpelstiltskin. Shrek agrees and signs a contract, although he fails to specify precisely which day he'll let Rumpelstiltskin have. Bad move; he's transported to an alternate Far Far Away that's ruled by Rumpelstiltskin and has fallen into ruin.

There are other changes. At Rumpelstiltskin's bidding, ogres are hunted by wicked witches and forced into slavery. Shrek's best friend, Donkey (voiced by Eddie Murphy), now a lowly cart puller, has never met Shrek and is afraid of him. Puss in Boots (voiced by Antonio Banderas) is now an obese housecat and owned by Fiona (voiced by Cameron Diaz), no longer Shrek's beloved wife and mother to his children but rather the iron-clad leader of an underground ogre resistance. Like Donkey, she has no idea who Shrek is. Stranger still, she's back under the curse that factored into the first film. In this new Far Far Away, it's as if Shrek had never been born. If he's to set everything right, he must turn to that most reliable of fairy-tale clichés: Receiving true love's kiss before the following sunrise.

What are Rumpelstiltskin's motives? I leave it to you to find out. I will say that his reasons are about as good as they can be for a fairy tale. I liked this character; big of ego and short of stature, he's villainous in a childish, sniveling sort of way, making for a great deal of fun when he loses his temper.

Many of the previous film's more memorable side characters are used far less frequently in "Shrek Forever After," making for a film that feels oddly condensed. The appearances of Pinocchio, the Three Little Pigs, and Gingy the Gingerbread Man, for example, are reduced to mere cameos, which is a missed opportunity for some great comedy. I'm especially fond of Gingy, with his iced legs and candy eyes and grating voice. In the alternate Far Far Away, he has become a battle-scarred gladiator who fights for the amusement of cheering crowds; the fact that his opponents are animal crackers and that he uses a broken lollipop as a weapon is, in my warped way of thinking, inherently funny. Maybe it's because foods of such childish innocence have become violent. Or maybe it has something to do Gingy being one tough cookie.

It seems that the film's biggest draw, aside from being the last in the series, is its release in 3-D. I've championed certain 3-D films (Disney's "A Christmas Carol," "How to Train Your Dragon," "Avatar"), but now that it's back in the mainstream, I'm coming to the realization that, generally speaking, it's an overrated marketing gimmick. For this particular film, I suggest you save your cash for a traditional (and less expensive) 2-D experience. I'm quite certain the overall quality will not be affected.

The bottom line: The story is funny and exciting and sweet, and I had a pleasant time watching it. But "Shrek Forever After" is not the grandiose finale the ads have claimed it to be, and I find that a little disappointing. My recommendation relates not to its worth as a successor to the previous "Shrek" films, or even to its status as the last in the series; it relates to the belief that audiences will enjoy it on its own terms. It's a light, good-hearted animated comedy, and as such films go, it gets the job done. I can only hope the filmmakers don't treat it like a horror franchise, some of which are known to produce sequels even after a "final chapter" has been released. At that point, I don't think there will anything good left to say about Shrek and his magical misadventures.
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on May 26, 2010
I have always enjoyed watching the Shrek movies with my family. The fourth movie was no exception. The problem is that the Shrek universe it getting rather stale. The same type of jokes just don't work as well the fourth time around. The Final Chapter finds Shrek unhappy with his friends and family and wishing to go back to being a scary ogre for just one day which can be supplied by an evil Rupelstiltskin. But if you are aware of the myth of Rupelstiltskin you know that every contract has a price. Shrek gives up one day of his life to get his one day of freedom. That one day though causes the entire world to change and Shrek is stuck in an alternate universe in which he never existed. The alternate characters are fun at first, especially the chubby Puss in Boots, but they all revert quickly to the characters you know so it doesn't work all that well. The best part of the movie is the introduction of the Rupelstiltskin character who is a fun bad guy. The movie's plot however is very similar to the Christmas Special in which Shrek doesn't appreciate what he has until it is gone. I like the series, but the story is best to end now.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon May 24, 2010
SHREK FOREVER AFTER feels like a really good episode of a much loved TV show. For me, the first SHREK movie was something really new, a pop-culture referring, smart-alecky spin on fairy tales, with delightfully new characters and an animation style we hadn't seen before. It was genuinely touching at times, but mostly hilarious and eye-popping. SHREK 2 turned up the hilarity quotient and introduced Puss, one of the finest supporting characters in animation since Sebastian the Crab grace THE LITTLE MERMAID. With SHREK 3, the series had settled into comfortable familiarity. I smiled more than I laughed...it was clever, but had no thrill of being NEW anymore. And in this latest film, it felt extremely familiar...like a TV series.

First , it's important to note that an enjoyment of SHREK FOREVER AFTER (hereafter called SHREK 4) pretty much requires having seen the other 3 movies. There is essentially no exposition. We see Shrek and his family a few days before the First Birthday party for his three children. While Shrek is enjoying a life of domestic bliss, he's also feeling a little trapped. He can't even enjoy a good dip in some hot mud without having to first work on the plumbing in the outhouse. His kids wake him up too early every morning. His friend Donkey is constantly dropping by with HIS kids and consuming Shrek's evenings. And when the day of the party arrives, Shrek realizes that he misses being a bachelor and a feared Ogre. Now little kids ASK him to do his Ogre-roar and sign autographs...instead of running in fear. I guess Shrek is having a mid-life crisis.

But this being a magical kingdom, when Shrek idly wishes he could have "just one day" back during his wilder days...the nasty, spiteful little Rumplestiltskin grants him his wish in a fairly one-side bargain. Shrek is instantly transported to his past, but finds that things have changed. Rumple now rules the kingdom, and is served by witches. The ogres are a hunted species and humans are destitute and living in fear. And none of Shrek's old friends recognize him. His beloved Fiona is now a resistance leader among the ogres, and she has little interest in Shrek. But it turns out, he must win her love again within a day, or this retelling of the past will become permanent, and Shrek will puff out of existence.

This is all well and good, and certainly the movie has sufficient laughs. The pop culture references HAVE been toned down some, which is probably good. They were leaning towards becoming too much of a good thing in SHREK 3, when a lengthy sequence was devoted to making fun of HARRY POTTER...the in-jokes were becoming the point rather than a side note. The changes in Donkey and particularly Puss in Boots are fun. The animation is as good as ever...but there's nothing new either. It's just a visit with some old, familiar friends having some serious trouble.

The voice-over work (Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas, etc. etc.) is perfectly fine. The soundtrack is perfectly in keeping with what we've had from these films before. (I will say, however, that I suspect this film may be less appealing to the little ones than the others. My youngest is 17, so I don't have a certainty about this...I just think that this film is more plot-driven than those in the past, and the time-travel stuff might confuse the littlest viewers.)

And the movie is in 3D, but never has 3D seemed more pointless. We're just becoming SO accustomed to the 3D experience now, and there were NO moments of "oooooh" popping out of the screen at the audience. Frankly, I mostly forgot the film WAS in 3D until it was time to take the glasses off and drop them in the recycle bin on the way out.

If you've seen the first film, do you remember how joyful the final scene was, when all the characters gathered and sang and partied to a variety of pop/rock hits? I remember wanting the scene to just keep going on, because I had experienced such a joyful and NEW movie, and didn't want it to end. SHREK 4 has a similar scene (as did all the other films), and when this one started, I was pretty much ready to head for the exits. There isn't anything actively wrong with the film...but there's nothing staggeringly RIGHT about it either.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon June 18, 2010
Shrek Forever After is the fourth and supposedly final entry in the series of films chronicling the comical adventures of a green ogre by the name of Shrek. The first film released in 2001 was an instant hit. In 2004 it was followed by Shrek 2 which was also a delightfully entertaining animated-comedy. Then in 2007 the series took a misstep with Shrek the Third which was forgettable to say the least. Now we have Shrek Forever After which, though not as bad as Shrek the Third, still doesn't measure up to the first two entries in the series.

There isn't much of a plot to Shrek Forever After. It follows the basic `It's a Wonderful Life' formula of trying to show how the world would be if Shrek was never born. To me this doesn't seem like a good idea for a Shrek film because it doesn't expand the story what-so-ever because you know by the end of the film things will go back to normal without any change except for Shrek having a better understanding of who he is. They could have still provided that message without such a generic plot. In fact, given the scenario they chose I felt incredibly disappointed that we didn't get to see other characters from the series. What about Lord Farquaad or the Fairy Godmother? How does Shrek never existing affect this? We'll never know because the script is so narrow-minded that it does little to expand on the concept of Shrek never being born.

Speaking of villains, Rumpelstiltskin (voice of Walt Dohrn) doesn't really measure up compared to the antagonists of the first two films. Okay, he's a step up from Prince Charming in Shrek the Third, but that doesn't take much.

On the bright side the film still keeps the primary voice-actors. Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy both get in some good lines as is expected from the two SNL veterans. Most of the other members of the cast aren't used enough to leave an impression so I have nothing much to say on them.

So: is Shrek Forever After a wreck? Well, to be honest it was a lot better than I thought it was going to be coming into the theater, but it still is a letdown. Some lines got a chuckle out of me, but for the most part Shrek Forever After pandered to younger members of the audience and robbed jokes from the previous entries in the franchise.

Is it a good note for the Shrek franchise to end on? No. If this were a perfect world Shrek would have ended on Shrek 2. Is this movie good for children? I'd imagine so. There's nothing in here that's bad for kids, and it does have its clever moments, just not at the same level of quality as the first two films.

7/10 stars. Worth seeing if you have children but don't expect the same quality as Shrek and Shrek 2.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2012
This movie was a big surprise for me. I had heard several people say that it was better than Shrek the Third, which was a positive thing to hear since that film was very forgettable. But I was skeptical nonetheless. The commercials had looked quite funny, but then again, so did the previews for Shrek the Third. So I finally watched this one and... it was very good.
I was very pleasantly surprised at how much I liked this movie. The creators of the film made some very smart decisions with this film and it made for a very fun and enjoyable watch. I think that this actually might be my favorite Shrek film.
In this film, Shrek is feeling overwhelmed by the monotonous duties and demands of fatherhood and celebrity-hood. The conniving Rumpelstiltskin offers Shrek the chance to relive the past and, thinking it a harmless deal, Shrek signs a contract and is flung into an alternate reality where he is once again a feared and horrible ogre.
As the Shrek film series has progressed, each film has become more crude and involved more pointless humor than it's predecessor. So, naturally, one would think that this film would be the most crude and most adult of the franchise. But it's not. The filmmakers decided to step away from the crude humor and focus their efforts on the story and the character development. The story plays off the idea of "You don't know what you have until it's gone" and we are treated to a very deep and very endearing story. We get to see layers of the characters that we never knew existed and we are actually touched by how charming and sentimental Shrek can actually be. This is very much a love story.
I think the creators did an excellent job of bringing the story full circle and ending the franchise with a very inspiring and moving story. The alternate characters we see in this film really give us a deeper look into the characters we know and love and takes the Shrek storyline to a much more personal level than we've seen before.
The animation is excellent, the voice performances are well done, and the musical score is superb. Good ol' Harry Gregson-Williams. This movie rose far beyond my expectations and was a real treat. Whether you are a Shrek fan or not, I think this is a movie definitely worth seeing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 24, 2013
Usually a movie series tends to get worse as they typically mass produce junk and take advantage of people who enjoy the series. Shrek Forever After is not the usual. This movie is the best of the series.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 30, 2010
This fourth intallment of Shrek, SHREK FOREVER AFTER, is, IMHO, the best of the Shrek films. The fun is back (minus the juvenile potty humor that invaded the 2nd and 3rd films), the story is delightful, and the message is clear. My kids (13 1/2 and 5 1/2) both loved this movie, as did my husband and I.

SHREK FOREVER AFTER is based losely on the story from "It's A Wonderful Life." Here, we find that our favorite ogre is confused by his new role in the kingdom. He used to live a solitary life, scaring people and doing whatever he felt like doing; now he has a family, responsibilities, and is viewed as a folk hero. In a fit of frustration, Shrek wishes that he could be a regular ogre and live his former life, just for a day. Rumplestiltskin overhears his wish and tricks Shrek into trading his "ogre day" for the day he was born. Shrek finds that he never rescued Fiona, he never had a family, never met his friends, and that he will diappear at the end of his ogre day. But there is a way out of his contract with Rumplestiltskin. Can true love still conquer all and save the day?

SHREK FOREVER AFTER is cute, fun, and charming family entertainment. The animation is beautiful, vibrant, and vivid, the story is engaging, and all our favorite voice actors are back. The message of being happy with what you have is perfect, and is understood by children of all ages.

SHREK FOREVER AFTER has heart, and should not be missed. If this is the final installment, then SHREK FOREVER AFTER is truly the perfect way to end the franchise.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 9, 2011
The Shrek movies have been walking a slow decline from the hit of the first movie. By the time the third one came out people were just tired of the story and its failure did not do the sequels any good. As my family podered watching the fourth movie I remembered hearing very bad reviews of it. We watched it anyway and loved it. This movie, even though the story was different, was the most appropriate for the age group of children watching it. There was no cursing or suggestive material at all. It was nice to watch a kids movie and not wonder if my children caught that bad word or understood that sexual joke. The moral of the story was a home run also. It's a great lesson to learn that you should not take for granted what you have. Kids fall into that the most. They always want more and better and whatever their friends have. It is a hard lesson to learn that when you lose something it might just be the best thing you ever had. Maybe some people have gotten tired of the on-going story of Shrek and Fiona but if you look deeper into it you can see how great it is.
Lisa
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 14, 2011
Shrek is the animated corollary of the Aliens, Friday the 13th, Predators and Indiana Jones franchise; stop after 1. Each successive incarnations of Shrek have been less funny, less original and less engaging than the previous one. But they have all been financially profitable, including this fourth and final one. Starring almost all the same characters found in the first or second movies, this one has the plus of having fewer spoofs of other movies. There are funny scenes, all in the same style as the previous 3 movies; a mix of gallows, toilet, black and slapstick humor. There is a new antagonist, though all the protagonists are the same. And there is Shrek's children, though they do little besides provide bodily functions. Overall, an OK film, and a quiet denoument of a successful animated franchise, unlike the glorious ending of Toy Story 3.
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