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Not Exactly the Royal Treatment with Shrek the Third

Published May 17, 2007 in Movie Reviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Dreamworks.
Shrek the Third Poster Shrek the Third
So, you like those Shrek movies? Here's another one. Shrek the Third is just okay. It's not bad, it's just another Shrek movie. There aren't as many jokes as the previous ones and the story is nothing to get involved in, but it looks good and it's nice to see the characters again.

Movie Review: Shrek the Third


Now Shrek is about to be a father, and the frog king has died so he's supposed to take over the thrown. Not wanting political responsibilities, let alone familial ones, Shrek, Puss and Donkey go off to find the next heir, little Artie. Meanwhile, Prince Charming organizes all the fairy tale villains to help him seize the thrown for himself, as the stories rightfully deigned it.

This all sounds very clever but it's far more simplistic than it should be. Shrek's dealings with impending fatherhood evolve the same way a 22-minute sitcom would. He has a funny dream about little ogres running around, but gradually comes around to it when other moments suggest the possible joys of parenting.

The king Arthur thing isn't even a spoof of anything. Yeah, he's Arthur and they mention Lancelot and Gwinivere, and the fact that he's a nerdy high school kid is a twist, but he's really just some guy they said could take over if Shrek doesn't want to. There's a mild moral that even the so-called losers can rise up to the challenge, but that's not deep. That's every sports movie. There's no sense of him learning what his rightful place actually means.



They don't do anything with the gang of rejected villains. The beginning suggests that these may be sympathetic villains. Gepetto is included, the neglected father. It suggests that they all may have been well meaning, but then they just act evil. Cartoonishly evil, no blood is shed, but just regular bad guys, and lackeys at that. Prince Charming is the only one with real motivation.

Now, Shrek 1 didn't have to be deep to be entertaining. It was just the beauty and the beast model with a reverse twist in the end. But it had enough jokes to keep it going. Shrek the Third has some great gags. Prince Charming doing dinner theater is a zinger, Gingerbread Man's life flashing before his eyes is classic and the deathbed scene is actually one of the film's funniest.

They seem to take the easy road a lot of times. The high school scene where they first get Artie has some good teenage banter as medieval verse jokes, but it's just like, "Yeah, high school sucks, they stuff people in lockers." They've sort of run out of references too. There's the headless horseman and Ents (I still call them tree people), but there's nothing left to observe about the fairy tale world. Now it's just, "Look, that's another fairy tale, kind of."


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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Dreamworks.
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