Thursday, July 05, 2007

Movie Review: Shrek The Third

I think a return of my regular movie reviews is way overdue, and so from now on I'm going to make an effort to post reviews of all the movies that I see. To add a little variety I'm going to aim to review films I watch on TV (either broadcast or on DVD) as well as films I see at the cinema.

So, let's get the ball rolling with Dreamworks latest CGI animated offering, starring the vocal talents of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy and Cameron Diaz - Shrek The Third.

The law of diminishing returns, in regards to movie sequels, has never been truer than with the Shrek series. The first film was a work of genius, with a sharp and witty script (many of the best parts improvised by Myers and Murphy during recording) and groundbreaking computer generated animation. In my opinion, Shrek was the first CGI film that wasn't made by Pixar which was actually any good. It was a huge hit with both parents and children, and, having a five year old and a three year old myself, I've watched it more times now than I'd care to mention - but it hasn't lost its charm.

The second film was more of the same, although the script was slightly less sharp, it managed to avoid the feeling of just treading over old ground by adding new characters, such as the excellent Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas), and a fairly amusing plot (although this lacked the simple, iconic brilliance of the original).

And so we come to this, the third installment, and, I'm afraid the well is running dry. The spark is gone from the Donkey/Shrek relationship, and Shrek and Fiona's "baby" issues prove that fairy tales really do need to end at "and they all lived happily ever after." Justin Timberlake is okay as Arthur (yet another character added to an already bloated cast), but is given precious little to do as the writers struggle to decide if he or Shrek should be the main focus of the story. Eric Idle is introduced to little effect, the producers committing the cardinal sin of forgetting that an ex-Python is only funny if you give him something funny to say or do.

There are amusing moments here and there, but they're too few and far between to really make this movie worthwhile. If you're going to make a sequel - please do it because you have a story to tell, not just to make money (which this film will no doubt do).

Hopefully this will be Shrek's final cinematic outing, and the producers won't return to the well a fourth time, to find that it's well and truly run dry.

Rating: 4/10


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