LEIGH PAATSCH OUT OF THE BOX
MISSION repeated and accomplished. Ogre and out. Courtesy of a scene-stealing villain and a heavier tone than many might have expected, the (reportedly) final chapter in the Shrek series ends with both a bang and a whimper. The rampant mischief rustled up by the notorious Rumpelstiltskin (voiced by Walt Dohm) keeps Shrek Forever After in the fun zone throughout. This is important, as the jolly green ogre who usually steers all comic traffic spends much of the picture in the grip of a rather bleak (by family-friendly standards, at least) identity crisis.
The story, which owes a considerable debt to the Jimmy Stewart Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life, picks up in the happily-everafter period pointed to by Shrek the Third.
Turns out all but Shrek (Mike Myers) are enjoying the easy life in the land of Far, Far Away.
He begins to long for the bad old days when everyone feared his every move. Enter that rotten little Rumpelstiltskin to make Shrek an offer that cannot be refused.
Impeccably animated, the look and feel of Shrek Forever After noticeably reduces the brightness and bounce once associated with the franchise.
The snappy pop-cultural side gags that were also part and parcel of the original Shrek effect are also bumped down the to-do list here.
These changes account for a rise in quality from the very pedestrian Shrek the Third.
Nevertheless, it must be said that it is slightly disappointing Shrek Forever After does not end with an unequivocal goodbye to all that have travelled alongside the green giant on his magically memorable journey. Shrek Forever After Showtime Premiere, 8.30pm
Green machine: Shrek