When his new father-in-law, King Harold falls ill, Shrek is looked at as the heir to the land of Far, Far Away. Not one to give up his beloved swamp, Shrek recruits his friends Donkey and Puss in Boots to install the rebellious Artie as the new king. Princess Fiona, however, rallies a band of royal girlfriends to fend off a coup d'etat by the jilted Prince Charming.
Manny, Sid, and Diego discover that the ice age is coming to an end, and join everybody for a journey to higher ground. On the trip, they discover that Manny, in fact, is not the last of the woolly mammoths.
Spoiled by their upbringing and unaware of what wildlife really is, four animals from the New York Central Zoo escape, unwittingly assisted by four absconding penguins, and find themselves in Madagascar.
Alex, Marty, Gloria and Melman are still fighting to get home to their beloved Big Apple. Their journey takes them through Europe where they find the perfect cover: a traveling circus, which they reinvent - Madagascar style.
The Dragon Warrior has to clash against the savage Tai Lung as China's fate hangs in the balance: However, the Dragon Warrior mantle is supposedly mistaken to be bestowed upon an obese panda who is a tyro in martial arts.
The once hideous ogre Shrek is now living a good life with wife Fiona and his three children. But he soon has a meltdown in front of them and his friends during his kids' birthday party. He suddenly wants to be a real ogre like he was before he ever met Fiona. So he turns to devious deal maker Rumplestiltskin for help. At first, Shrek lives the life he once lost and everything is good. But he soon finds out that he has been set up by Rumplestiltskin, who now rules the land with an ironed fist. Teaming with friends Donkey, Fiona and Puss in Boots, Shrek is in for the fight of his life as he tries to get his life back before time runs out. Written by
An entertaining diversion, even if the series is no longer magical
After three films of diminishing quality, more than anything, Shrek Forever After begs the obvious question: why? Unfortunately the answer is also all too obvious with the franchise having grossed one billion dollars domestically and oodles more overseas. For what it's worth, this instalment is better than the last but fails to hold a candle to Shrek 2 and pales to the point of apparition when compared to the original.
The characters that populate the "Shrek" universe remain as endearing as ever in principle, but after four movies there is little that can be done to keep them animated, so to speak. That is why it comes as no surprise that the plot of this film has the mythical land of Far Far Away being turned on its head by the devious Rumplestiltskin, morphing all familiarity into a bizzaro world of sort, and I'll admit, it does add an iota of charm to the proceedings. Shrek (Mike Myers) finds himself tired of family life with his ogre wife Fiona (Cameron Diaz) and longs for his bachelor days of terrifying townsfolk and signs a contract with 'Rumple' as he is less than affectionately called. Things don't turn out nearly as he imagined and Shrek must fulfil a loophole in the contract to turn things back to the way they were.
The original gang all return along with Shrek and Fiona. We have the swashbuckling Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas), the chatty Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and Julie Andrews and John Cleese as the Queen and King respectively. There are also a number of celebrity voice cameos including Larry King and Regis Philbin and all add up to a lively time at the movies. In the movies defence, the lack of freshness never translates to boredom.
The biggest issue with Shrek the Third was the weak attempt to inflate the voice cast, making things more monotonous yet. DreamWorks has clearly learned from this mistake and in addition to tweaking the familiar character's personas in this alternate reality, find a decent villain in Rumplestiltskin (Walt Dohrn) along with great comedians the likes of Craig Robinson and Jane Lynch. The animation is as stellar as ever and it never ceases to amaze how lifelike a film can look that has a talking donkey at its center.
What makes this descendant of Shrek somewhat distinguishable is that it presents itself more as homage then adhering to the spoof ideology that characterized the others. Shrek Forever After is part Aladdin, part Bedazzled and more than a sprinkle of It's a Wonderful Life. There are also many more laughs in this film than the previous, and can often be attributed to site gags sprung from the new universe (an obese Puss in Boots provokes more than a few guffaws).
What everyone has to remember, first and foremost, is that the "Shrek" franchise is meant for children and I don't believe any of the four instalments could disappoint an eight year old. It is the accompanying adults that need to be wary of the growing tedium in the franchise, but thanks to a plethora of talented actors and a significantly more satisfying storyline, Shrek Forever After makes for an entertaining diversion, even if it's no longer magical.
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