Starring: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas, Walt Dohrn, Julie Andrews, Conrad Vernon, Aron Warner, Christopher Knights, Cody Cameron, Chris Miller, John Cleese, Jon Hamm, Craig Robinson, Jane Lynch, Kristen Schaal, Mary Kay Place, Meredith Vieira, Kathy Griffin, Lake Bell, Larry King, Mike Mitchell, and Ryan Seacrest.
Directed by: Mike Mitchell.
Shrek has come a long way from opposing the forces of Prince Charming and Lord Farquaad (whom essentially look very much alike to begin with) in the first three ‘Shrek’ films. This time, Shrek has gets to take on a brand new nemesis, Rumpelstiltskin, who is actually a distinguishable villain. In terms of story, one would have never guessed it would be possible to squeeze one out of the lovable green hero for a fourth time around, but low and behold they have pulled it off. Throughout the three previous ‘Shrek’ movies, Shrek has rescued his beloved Princess Fiona countless times and has gone as far out as having children in the most recent chapter, “Shrek the Third” (2007). What could they possibly have in store next for this franchise?
Well, it’s actually a very logical and interesting take in “Shrek Forever After”. By the end of “Shrek the Third”, Shrek has everything one could have ever asked for – A beautiful wife with beautiful children, a nice home, plenty of close friends, respect, popularity, and peace of mind. By the the timeline of “Shrek Forever After”, Shrek has grown tired of all of the frustration and drama that is associated with caring for children and the fact that he and his home have now become a tourist attraction of sorts. Enter Rumpelstiltskin, a con artist magic dealer, so to speak, who seeks to take control of Far, Far Away. But there’s only one way his wish can be granted – Someone must sign a contract of his to get what they want so that he can become King of the land.
The film establishes the villain very early on, right before Fiona’s rescue in the very first “Shrek” to be exact in which Rumpelstiltskin attempts to con King Harold and Queen Lillian into signing his contract in order to break Fiona’s curse. Of course, they decline, sparking an inner hatred for Shrek within and vowing vengeance upon him. Enter into the fourth film, he tempts Shrek into signing his contract in exchange for a day long before he ever became a celebrity ogre. Shrek follows through with it and ends up in an alternate reality where he is no longer a celebrity and Rumpelstiltskin now reigns over Far, Far Away and has enslaved the ogre race, which Princess Fiona is the boss of. Shrek must rekindle his relationships with Puss in Boots, Donkey, and Fiona, all of whom now consider Shrek to be a complete stranger to them.
The concept of “Shrek Forever After” is refreshing and it does work, considering that alternate realities aren’t quite far fetched at all in a film about fairy tales. The new villain is also a very much welcomed addition to the chapter and overall franchise. “Shrek Forever After” does a fairly good job of avoiding repetitive character moments and situations by alienating Shrek from his close relationships which have developed so much over the past three movies. While I appreciate the refreshing take in “Shrek Forever After”, I am a bit worried about the future of the series, considering that a fifth film is in early development right now, despite claims that this would be the final chapter. Honestly, where could Shrek possibly go after all of this?