Shrek Forever After is technically fine, but it’s only mildly entertaining. While the pleasant nostalgia is a given that it renders something familiarly successful, the monstrously good fun has already faded for this fourth and last installment of the Shrek franchise. In comparison, it goes “far, far away” from the first two of the now four Shrek movies. It is not exactly “cat-astrophic nor ri-donke-lous,” at the least. Its saving graces are the solid performances for the movie’s bankable characters that breathe life into this commercially mandated and creatively bankrupt effort.
The quick wit and pop-culture referencing that made Shrek a fun movie doesn’t feel the same anymore after a decade down the line. It falls flat when it comes to the supposed one-liners and adorable critters. It still maintains some appeal, but the fun and energy feels kind of forced already.
Director Mike Mitchell and scriptwriters Josh Klausner and Darren Lemke are all new to the franchise, yet the movie looks so derivative. There are only simple and minimal changes on a distinctly surface level (primarily a darker mise-en-scéne), but deep down, it’s just a tired offer.
Shrek Forever After is very much a recycled treat that bases everything about it for the fad on 3D technology. As a last dance for the profitable green ogre, this one last hit for the marketable business franchise is clearly a cash cow product. Yet, it has undoubtedly captured a steady audience after establishing an impressive past and setting a new trend in mainstream animated films during its heyday. Now, after almost a decade, it keeps its general charm and viability amidst being narratively overcooked and comically undernourished. While this final attempt to profit on the Shrek motion picture fame is a rather modest affair that barely exerts an independent quality and charm for itself, the characters viewers have learned to love through the years keep this movie hanging. Add up the expensive tickets from 3D theaters and everything really goes into the Dreamworks cash register.
Interestingly, after three movies aimed at children and adolescents, this final Shrek movie is aimed more or less at middle-aged men than attracting new younger recruits. Perhaps, Shrek Forever After is really aimed just for its “grown-up followers” (both the grown up kid and adult fans from the past films, but with more focus on the middle-aged adults). Its theme even centers on adult issues and concerns more than trivial children stuff. With this part of the film, it works in the sense that it allows adult viewers to relate to Shrek’s own midlife crisis, Puss’ obesity, among other things.
Mike Myers and company pull the interest to it when scenes fall flat in the other departments.
With a business kind of thinking, Shrek Forever After is a pretty good deal. After the box office profit, it has a very good market in home video sales together with the rest of the Shrek movies. Indeed, for a Shrek collection with four films to boost, it can live a long and prosperous life for the general collection of most households, and it is expected to be one of those movies meant for babysitting the kids inside the homes.