(Release Date: May 18, 2007)
(Premiere Date: May 17, 2007 [Russia(!)])
And... he hates it! Well... not the sex part. Not that they show any... yeah, okay... fat green chicks. Okay, it's summer, so it must be blockbuster season... we've had our Spidey 3, we've got Pirates 3 just around the corner, so I'm betting it's high time for Shrek the Third, with more belching, wallowing, farting, hosing everyone, wise cracking and this time, lots and lots of vomiting. Wouldn't you in a Powdered Wig? I mean... damn!
I'm naked right now.
I'm just kidding.
Well, okay the vomiting HAS begun... let me move on.
The third entry into the sarcastic send-up of Fairy Tales finds our anti-hero Shrek (Mike Myers) still loving his wife (Cameron Diaz) and still hating just about everything else. The life of a king doesn't suit a swamp dwelling ogre much... but at least he doesn't have to deal with that obnoxious Prince Charming.
Prince Charming (Rupert Everett) was squarely defeated in the last film... beaten so badly was he that he's been relegated to... dinner theatre. Ouch. Let me tell you... he's almost as good in this as John Reynolds was in Manos the Hands of Fate.
Is it safe to say that P.C. has had enough? It is. Is it a fair bet he's going to gather up every fairy tale villain from Captain Hook to the wicked witch to the Living Forest to have his revenge (or, as he calls it, "Their Happily Ever After")? It is... Folks... that's ENT-ertainment!
(Y'see, because talking trees are called "Ents", so it's "Ent"ertainment? You get it? You don't get it. Oh, you got it, you just didn't think it was funny? Seriously, why do people read this far down on the page anymore? Moving on!)
But it's an equally safe-bet that Shrek's had more than a mouthful of courtly chivalry (and with a pie-hole like his, a mouthful is a mouthful) and he's willing to do anything to be the man who would be king... instead of... king. Luckily for his big green ass, King Harold (John Cleese) and his own (smaller) green ass pulls a Yoda and mumbles something about there being another Sky-Sky-Sky-Skywalker, which sends Shrek, his trusty steed Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and his valiant feline swordsman sidekick Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) out to see in search of the heir to the throne... or, as I like to call him... door number two.
Sadly, this leaves Fiogre, her human mommy Queen Lillian (Julie Andrews) and her fairy tale chicky amigas Sleeping Beauty (Cheri Oteri), formerly wicked stepsister Doris (Larry King), sweet Snow White (Amy Poehler), Hair-Heir Rapunzel (Maya Rudolph) and I'm happy to tell ya, Cinderella (Amy Sedaris) alone when the bad-cat onslaught begins (don't worry... they can take care of themselves when they "use their head"). Even sadder (for Shrek), Fiona's last disclosure before the boat launches is that she's a whole lot of Preggers, and it's a safe bet (because of, you know, all the sex and all) that Shrek's the paw!
Man, I don't know what's scarier, seeing the kingdom of Far Far Away turn from West Hollywood to North Hollywood (scary) or Shrek's trippy Rosemary's Baby-influenced vision of his numerous progeny, prospering, thriving, wallowing, farting, belching and terrorizing and hosing poor Shrekers himself.
Well, there is ONE thing scarier... the fact that the new heir to the throne is a little douche named "Artie", who is voiced by... oh, ick... Justin Timberlake! What is this a sarcastic commentary on the Bush Administration? King Wimperlame? Ick.
For all its cultural references and pop-culture currency, Shrek The Third is sorely devoid of Cell Phones, so while Ogrifficus and the Boys are far, far away, they've got no idea what's going on in Far Far Away. Lucky for them they've got magic on their side, in the form of the main-main magician himself... Merlin (Eric Idle). Actually, this manic-depressive Merlin might do more harm than good.
Shrek 3 is actually quite a fine film, and lots of fun, dispensing with much of the padding the first two films had in spades, along with at least a few bowls full of scatological humor. The animation needs no introduction... it's something to smile at. But the real kicker here is the comedy. There are enough great jokes in this epic movie to redeem Epic Movie. Well... almost. The spoofs are funny and the references are great, sending up current culture, but never feeling terribly stuck in 2007. Best of all, it's not a simple repeat of elements of the first two films. Oh, the elements that made them worth watching are still there, from the mood to the spoofs to the bent genres to the music, but it all feels original
Speaking of which, the music is fantastic. It's a lot less "what's hot for the next five minutes" and a lot more classic rock, like Led Zep and Heart (albeit a Heart song performed by Stacy "Fergie" Ferguson and produced by Will.I.Am). The classic surprises and tunes do wonders in keeping the film feeling fresh. And that says something as many of the themes and tunes of the original (Smashmouth? The Macarena?) already felt stale by the time that one came out.
Shrek comes up short in few areas... few but notable. It's hard to endorse this film (or this review) for the really young tikes, as its cross-generational appeal (or, really, enough bad jokes to put teenaged butts in the seats) sets it as just a bit too racy at times. Further, there is an adult subtext here and there that threatens to bring about precocious puberty in your toddler viewer. And for the Critical Viewer, there are some plot contrivances and script conveniences that end up being covered by deus ex machina over and over and under and under and around and around and through and through. But hey, it's not just a fairy tale, it's a spoof of fairy tales... so let the critical viewer... go far, far away. Unless he or she is criticizing the potty humor that still floats around.
But still, it's a fun movie from the voice cameos (listen for Regis Philbin, Susan Blakeslee, Ian McShane, John Krasinski, Seth Rogen and more) to Donkey's babies to Puss' honeys to the fairy tale creatures themselves... especially that transvestite wolf (Conrad Vernon)!
Lots of stars in this movie... and Four Stars (out of five) FOR this movie. It's a treat for the eyes (cheers to directors Chris Miller and Raman Hui) and a laugh for the comedy sensors (cheers to screenwriters Jeffrey Price, Peter S. Seaman and Jon Zack, who based their work on the story by J. David Stem, Joe Stillman and David N. Weiss, who based THEIR work on the book Shrek! by William Steig)! Pant... Pant... Pant. Now that's what I call a Fairy Tale. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to get some rest. You see, I've got a kitchen to paint Yellow tomorrow. I hope the owner of that house doesn't come home early, cause then there's the running and the screaming and the... Sigh... Why do I do these things? That's what my Lawyer wants to know.
See you in the next reel?
Shrek The Third (2007) reviewed by J.C. Mašek THE THIRD
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