A fairy-to-middling tale
Shrek Forever After, another animated ogre flick, rated PG, Regal Stadium 14, onion
It seems difficult to believe now, but Shrek got his start in a wonderful little children’s book by William Steig, first published in 1990. Once upon a time, the hideous ogre was a charming character in search of a movie. In the 20 years since, he’s slowly transformed into a McDonald’s cup in search of a recycling bin. How did this happen?
Chalk it up to diminishing returns. The first film, Shrek (2001), was a cute fairy tale that helped establish DreamWorks Animation as a major animation house. Sure, it featured uneven pop-culture gags, rude humor, and montages set to Smash Mouth songs, but it cleverly tweaked familiar fairy-tale characters, gently ribbed Disney, and interspersed genuinely funny jokes with memorable scenes such as the big battle with the dragon.
The second movie, Shrek 2 (2004), reflected a slip in quality, but it was rescued by a big climax that was entertaining in that calculated, movieas-theme-park way. I didn’t see Shrek the Third
Hey now, you’re an all-star, go away: Shrek (Mike Myers) and Rumpelstiltskin (Walt Dohrn)