Shrek the Fourth is in many ways a prime example of what can go wrong with mainstream movies.
After two great entries the third part buried any hope for refreshing entertainment under pop culture jokes and this movie doesn’t even pretend to do anything else (maybe reducing the pop culture jokes a tad).
At the beginning of the movie Shrek seems to wonder the same thing as the writers and subsequently we, the audience, do: what the hell is he supposed to do? We get a montage of Shrek’s redundant everyday life as if we are facing the fact that there is nothing more to gain from this franchise than redundancy but before we can go be driven mad by that fact Shrek does the job for us, wishing to live the life from the first Shrek… you know, the movie we really like.
The antagonist in this movie – Rumpelstiltskin – who in the hands of gifted writers could have been an iconic villain gives Shrek a contract to live the life of an ogre again, but we soon realize that Stiltskin has messed with Shrek’s past and so we have to endure a clipshow of “what if” moments. The whole movie thinks it is funny to see characters we know not acting the way we are used to-
Hey Donkey doesn’t know Shrek!
Hey Fiona is a fighting Ogre dame!
Hey Puss is FAT!
Because that’s funny… right? Riiiight?
If your sole premise is that except for Shrek everyone is a totally different persona it takes away the audience’s interest. This movie is one character away from being tabula rasa for the Shrek franchise so why should we care? This are not the characters we have come to love (at least for two movies) and Shrek is just bland and uninteresting, yes he is in love, we are aware of that fact, let’s move on!
For a franchise that started out as a clever satire of fairy tales, that dissected everything Disney had told us before, Shrek has now become the very thing it initially made fun of.
Of course this movie is presented 3D, because an uninspired sequel makes even more money if are charged extra for nothing. This whole misery is underlined in the Austrian movie world by pitiful fact:
Wes Anderson’s for a lack of a better word fantastic stop motion movie Fantastic Mr. Fox started one week prior to Shrek 4, it is currently playing in only 11 cinemas, across 9 federal states whereas Shrek is promoted everywhere. For some reason Mr. Fox while being worlds above the quality of Shrek doesn’t get any interest and it shows when looking at the financial profits of both movies:
Shrek forever after: $370,200,099
Fantastic Mr. Fox: $46,257,291
The idealist inside of me is asking himself why quality isn’t rewarded…
Rating and Moviequation
Shrek Forever After
Fantastic Mr. Fox (review coming)