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Capone hopes SHREK: THE FINAL CHAPTER lives up to its name--and that SHREK FOREVER AFTER isn't still the title!

Hey, everyone. Capone in Chicago here. One of the chief and justifiable criticisms about 3-D movies is that they appear too dark when viewed through the required eyewear. Taking this into consideration, it seems especially bizarre that the makers of SHREK: THE FINAL CHAPTER (formerly known as SHREK FOREVER AFTER, although I don't think so because I prefer to believe this series is done with this movie) would set so much of the film in evening or otherwise dimly lit settings. Some of the small children sitting near me at the press screening of the movie in Chicago simple gave up on the glasses altogether and happily watched the movie without them. That being said, this fourth SHREK installment is a worthy, if not spectacular, conclusion to the series that started out with two strong opening films and came crashing to an ugly milestone with its third chapter. The problem with a franchise with this many episodes is that with each new chapter the temptation is to add more and more characters to an already crowded mix. Rather than beef up some of the creations already on display in the series, SHREK's creators feel obliged to add 50 new characters and truly muddy the waters just to get a few more famous voices in the mix. And believe me, on paper the roster of vocal talent is pretty impressive: Jon Hamm, Jane Lynch, Lake Bell, Kathy Griffin, Mary Kay Place, even Meredith Vieira. My particular favorite addition is Craig Robinson as the cook of the new ogre army that is preparing to storm in castle of Far Far Away and remove its current ruler, the devious Rumpelstiltskin (voiced to perfection by animator Walt Dohrn). But I'm getting ahead of myself. The plot of SHREK: THE FINAL CHAPTER is something of a retelling of IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, in which Shrek (still Mike Meyers) makes a deal with Rumpel where he gets to see what life would be like if he was still a fearsome ogre, rather than a boring, accepted member of polite society whose house is a tour-cart stop and whose life has become routine. In return, Shrek has to agree to give Rumpel one day from his life. Through a bit of trickery (Rumpelstiltskin's specialty), he picks the day Shrek was born and effectively creates an alternate universe in which Shrek never existed. (Not to get too nit-picky, but shouldn't he have picked the day Shrek was conceived rather than born? Just sayin'...) In this new world, Rumpel has turned Far Far Away into a nasty place guarded by witches. Fiona (still Cameron Diaz) has become the head of a band of rebellious ogre outlaws who are planning a raid on the palace. To break the spell, Shrek must get this hardened version of Fiona to fall in love with him and kiss him. She has an embiggened Puss (still the very funny Antonio Banderas) as her pet, and Donkey (still the not funny Eddie Murphy) is still around, although he's completely unaware of who Shrek is or that he has fallen for and mated with a dragon in another life. I'll admit, seeing how characters' lives have changed as a result of Shrek never having been born is an interesting, albeit kind of dark, take on this world. Although the mixed message about the moral of the story is a bit weird (settling for bland and routine is good?), I do like that Shrek does discover that having friends and people who love him is better than being feared by the populace. That's a lovely message; it's also so wretchedly affable and squeaky clean that it may make you vomit. I still have fairly fond memories of the first two SHREK films being so clearly not for children that I'm pretty sure I said so in my original reviews. Aside from the very clear anti-Disney imagery in them, there were just ideas and bits of playful nastiness explored in those movies that most kids probably wouldn't even get. I was excited that the take on the story was geared slightly more in favor of adults having a good time understanding the subversive jokes and kids just digging the pretty pictures and laughing at how silly Donkey was acting. SHREK: THE FINAL CHAPTER has a bit of that, I suppose, but it chickens out by the end. The darkness of the alternate Far Far Away is a promising start, but it never quite gets there. Sure, I laughed a few time, especially at the fat Puss (too fat for boots), who can't even get his head around his enlarged neck to lick himself. Oh, the humanity. There's not really any point in dragging out the a story synopsis or the list of reasons the film doesn't accomplish what I think it might have with a little more daring. And if the movie lives up to its Final Chapter moniker, it won't matter anyway. And for the record, the 3-D does not add an iota to the enjoyment of this movie. Do not be the least bit afraid that you're missing anything by seeing it in 2-D. If anything, you might actually see more by doing so. SHREK: THE FINAL CHAPTER is a close call, but ultimately it's a forgettable conclusion to a once-promising franchise.
-- Capone capone@aintitcool.com Follow Me On Twitter



Readers Talkback
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  • May 21, 2010, 1:40 a.m. CST

    cats

    by water_shit_anderson

  • May 21, 2010, 1:50 a.m. CST

    never liked the Shrek movie

    by ominus

    one of the few cgi animations which never had a real appeal to me.i am not saying that they are bad films,i understand that they are parodies of classic fairy tales but frankly i find them very boring.but Eddie's donkey is cool.

  • May 21, 2010, 2:13 a.m. CST

    Capone gets bonus points from me

    by LYNDSY_LOHANS_PROZAC_PRESCRIPTION

    for giving props to Shrek. I think you're just being pretentious if you complain and bitch and moan about these movies. They are fun, entertaining, funny, witty, beautiful creations. Looking forward to this one now.

  • May 21, 2010, 2:19 a.m. CST

    Dear God, let this be the last one!

    by Charlie & Tex

    One of us missed the third part (known by the other as Shrek The Turd), and both of us might be tempted to duck out of this one...

  • May 21, 2010, 2:23 a.m. CST

    It wont be the last

    by RPLocke

    Not with all the crappy Direct to DVD shit they do these days.

  • May 21, 2010, 2:32 a.m. CST

    But What We Really Wanna Know......

    by LastPairOfSocks

    Is there a Smashmouth song on the soundtrack?

  • May 21, 2010, 2:50 a.m. CST

    3 was as good as 1 and 2

    by ShiftyEyedDog2

    <br><Br>.... but then, ALL THREE are highly overrated, mediocre films at best<br><br>

  • May 21, 2010, 2:59 a.m. CST

    The problem with Shrek is.

    by hallmitchell

    They didn't ditch Donkey. He should have been eaten by a dragon or something. A very annoying character once give more screen time.

  • May 21, 2010, 3:14 a.m. CST

    It's 4am here on the east coast...

    by RosemarysBabyDaddy

    ...and I sure could go for a bit of embiggened Puss right about now.

  • May 21, 2010, 3:17 a.m. CST

    ps

    by RosemarysBabyDaddy

    Dear Dreamworks, please stop making Shrek dreck. Loved the first movie, liked the second, hated the third, and I will not pay to see the fourth. pps: I will personally murder Mike Myers and Cameron Diaz if a 5th movie is ever announced. Thank you and good night.

  • May 21, 2010, 3:50 a.m. CST

    Me too.

    by gotilk

    None of that ultra-tight stuff. Like a warm, wet stream, lapping at the shores of your flesh rooster.

  • May 21, 2010, 4:04 a.m. CST

    Fiona

    by jacksparness

    She has an embiggened Puss?

  • May 21, 2010, 4:24 a.m. CST

    1 - GOOD , 2- AWESOME, 3 - TERRIBLE.

    by GibsonUSA Returns

    The first one completely surprised me, kind of in an Iron Man way where I got more than I expected.<BR><BR> The second one was AWESOME. The whole theater was cheering and clapping. <BR><BR> I DO NOT know what happened with the third one. I did not laugh ONCE. I remember sitting there thinking "what's going on? is it me or the movie?"<BR> When the princesses stormed the castle or whatever it was so cheesy and...uggggh! just no good.<BR><BR> I hope this one is more like the first two. I WANT to like Shrek again.

  • May 21, 2010, 4:35 a.m. CST

    it's biggest problem will be Toy Story 3

    by mr

  • May 21, 2010, 4:54 a.m. CST

    About that nitpick Capone

    by onezeroone

    Day of birth is more sure approach than day of conceiving coz papa ogre could always knock mama ogre some other day and Shrek would still have been born. Just nitpickin about your nitpicking.

  • May 21, 2010, 4:56 a.m. CST

    I don't like any Shrek movies

    by barnaby jones

    I don't know what the all fuss is about.

  • May 21, 2010, 5:46 a.m. CST

    Late to the party?

    by Jardinier

    I find it amusing how everyone is accusing this movie to be chickening out, when in fact that is a proud SHREK tradition that started with the *first film of the series*: SHREK 1 spent most of its running-time deconstructing fairy tales, before discovering that it needed a happy end after all, thus <br>a) marrying off the male and female leads, and <br>b) beating us over the head with the message that beauty on the inside > beauty on the outside. That's just inconsistent. <br><br> I don't mind heavily (and predictably so) moralistic films. I have considerable affection for the better Disney movies, cheesy and kitschy as they are. I also have no problem with an adult and/or deconstructivist take on fairy tales and myths (see the wonderful FABLES comics). But the SHREK movies try to have it both ways, and do so in a manner that I never found convincing. There's nothing pretentious about wanting filmmakers to not deliver a half-assed product (and yes, that applies equally to Disney movies and Disney clones that try to be all hip and edgy, but don't really have the guts to lose the sentimentality; if you're not capable of mixing different tones and styles together – and most people aren't – don't do it!).

  • May 21, 2010, 6:15 a.m. CST

    She has an embiggened Puss

    by Clash_at_Demonhead

    LOL

  • May 21, 2010, 6:56 a.m. CST

    by Cobra--Kai

    SHREK: THE FINAL CHAPTER sounds like a slasher movie to me..<p> SHREK 3 was a disappointment after the first two excellent movies, but it did have that one scene in which the Gingerbread Man's life flashes before his eyes which was priceless.

  • May 21, 2010, 7:01 a.m. CST

    About the title...

    by darthsynn

    I thought it was originally called Shrek Goes Fourth?

  • May 21, 2010, 7:11 a.m. CST

    Am I the only one who DOESN

    by Nasty In The Pasty

  • May 21, 2010, 7:12 a.m. CST

    'T have a problem with "too dim" 3D glasses?

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    A movie like Up had GORGEOUS use of color, and it didn't look "dim" to me at all in 3D.

  • May 21, 2010, 7:13 a.m. CST

    And Puss 'n' Boots remains a brilliant character

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    Although I keep expecting him to talk about "Nasal Allergy Symptoms"...

  • May 21, 2010, 7:24 a.m. CST

    The title change...

    by Sailor Rip

    ...I'm assuming they changed the title to "The Final Chapter" so people will say "Oh it's the last one? Might as well go see it as I won't apparantly being seeing another Shrek again." Whether it is the last one or not, well that of course depends on its box office.

  • May 21, 2010, 7:57 a.m. CST

    another comment on the title change

    by Bouncy X

    when i first saw the trailer with avatar, it was "forever after" but when it showed the credit page at the end it said "the final chapter, may 21st". and as someone else stated it was originally "goes fourth" but i do recall that being dropped early on. so what title actually shows up when watching the movie?

  • May 21, 2010, 8:02 a.m. CST

    I gave my wife and kids ...

    by CartoonFanboy

    a choice of watching either Shrek 4 in 3D or Toy Story 3 in 3D. They chose Skrek. Damn.

  • May 21, 2010, 8:24 a.m. CST

    I was never that big of a fan of the first Shrek

    by Chewtoy

    So many people praised it for its take on fairy tale conventions, but they weren't exactly new... Everything from "Fractured Fairy Tales" on Bullwinkle to "Once Upon a Mattress" had dealt with upending the Disney expectations long before that. Animation-wise it was kind of ugly as well, and the pop-culture jokes were usually "_____ Movie" parody quality. <br><br>I found the sequel to be much more worthy of praise, since it seemed to actually have a bunch of original ideas going for it. That third movie wasn't worth watching at all... totally lifeless. And I agree with the one critic who said that all of the human characters in Shrek films look awful and creepy. In any event, I haven't seen any of them in the theater since the first one, but I'm sure this "last" one will make a mint. They've traditionally kicked the ass of Pixar movies, regardless of quality. I wish I could see reason to think that's about to change, but I'm not sure I do.

  • May 21, 2010, 8:24 a.m. CST

    I was never that big of a fan of the first Shrek

    by Chewtoy

    So many people praised it for its take on fairy tale conventions, but they weren't exactly new... Everything from "Fractured Fairy Tales" on Bullwinkle to "Once Upon a Mattress" had dealt with upending the Disney expectations long before that. Animation-wise it was kind of ugly as well, and the pop-culture jokes were usually "_____ Movie" parody quality. <br><br>I found the sequel to be much more worthy of praise, since it seemed to actually have a bunch of original ideas going for it. That third movie wasn't worth watching at all... totally lifeless. And I agree with the one critic who said that all of the human characters in Shrek films look awful and creepy. In any event, I haven't seen any of them in the theater since the first one, but I'm sure this "last" one will make a mint. They've traditionally kicked the ass of Pixar movies, regardless of quality. I wish I could see reason to think that's about to change, but I'm not sure I do.

  • May 21, 2010, 8:24 a.m. CST

    Damn... sorry for the double post.

    by Chewtoy

  • May 21, 2010, 8:36 a.m. CST

    Does this really have two different titles?

    by The Dum Guy

    One for Imax and one for 2-D?<br><br>What the hell are they going to call it when it comes out on video?

  • May 21, 2010, 9:18 a.m. CST

    It doesn't make sense

    by PinkFloyd7

    How can Shrek not exist if he's already born?

  • May 21, 2010, 11:23 a.m. CST

    The Empire Strikes Back is 30 today...

    by LordPorkington

    No talkback? Not cool at all.

  • May 21, 2010, 12:33 p.m. CST

    I'll settle for not terrible...

    by yomomma

    It's a cartoon, and I will be quite satisfied to enjoy it as a light afternoon entertainment on DVD - as long as it's better than the third movie.

  • May 21, 2010, 12:48 p.m. CST

    Well according to yesterday's Massawyrm post...

    by RETURN_of_FETT

    Shrek The Final Chapter is the title of teh IMAX version.</p><p>So he has no fuckin' clue what he's talking about apparently.

  • May 21, 2010, 1:23 p.m. CST

    Puss in Boots' design is what makes him funny

    by terry1978

    He doesn't look like a cartoon cat, he's literally a photorealistic cat wearing a hat, walking upright, and sounding like El Mariachi. The visual alone is funny.

  • May 21, 2010, 1:30 p.m. CST

    Just saw it...

    by neodelrio

    with my three year old, even got the Shrek toy from McDonalds. Shrek has made itself into a billion dollar industry. Rides, toys, movies, Christmas specials, and unfortunately the adult edge has been trimmed as to not "offend" anybody. As a whole I thought it was the second best of the franchise (of course after the first), because it wasn't trapped with the same story constraints. I enjoyed the Orge army, and Fiona as a "tougher" chick. By the way, they did call it Shrek Forever after, not Shrek 4ever after, Shrek the Fourth, or Shrek the Final Paycheck... Worth going to see, especially if you have kiddies...

  • May 21, 2010, 2:06 p.m. CST

    So is it a "worthy/spectacular conclusion" or a "forgettable" co

    by Boris Karloff

    I usually enjoy Capone's insight but this is one of the most noncommittal, indecisive reviews I've ever read.

  • May 21, 2010, 2:14 p.m. CST

    It used to be called Live Free or Shrek Hard

    by I_shot_Cyrus

  • May 21, 2010, 6:49 p.m. CST

    Well, I saw it, and I liked it. And Dragon was awesome

    by FeralAngel

    It's a helluva lot better than the third one, or the second one for that matter. It's got a genuinely sweet tone and some real laughs with Puss and Donkey. And Shrek himself was a very likable guy in this. I wouldn't mind seeing it again. AND DRAGON WAS AWESOME.

  • May 21, 2010, 7:36 p.m. CST

    Shrek = Drek

    by Brick_Walker

    I really liked 1 & 2. 3 was absolute drivel. Its like they sucked every ounce of possible fun out of that movie. AND I was baked as when I saw it. I'm kinda over Shrek now. I'm betting we'll see spin-offs pretty soon. Puss in boots movie? Donkey & Dragon? The adventures of Shrek's kids? Lame.

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  • May 22, 2010, 1:25 p.m. CST

    Seeing this tonight...

    by Fireball XL-5

    and really looking forward to it. Methinks most of the negative reviews (not all, but most) reek of jaded self-awareness.

  • May 22, 2010, 4:22 p.m. CST

    I've only heard it called

    by Amfpsych

    Shrek forever after

  • May 23, 2010, 6:46 a.m. CST

    Shrek franchise has always been cheap

    by Suskis

    I never liked really much any of the Shrek movies simply because they rely only on tongue in cheek humour (and a pretty cheap version of it). I mean: you can give an homage to some legendary movies as, per example, Toy Story 2, when Zurg says "NO, I AM YOUR FATHER". But putting that Matrix scene in Shrek 1 (that came itself 1 year after Matrix) was plain cheap. And this is exactly what Dreamworks has been doing since the beginning: taking scenes, lines, characters and situations from other movies that EVERYBODY has seen, just to let all the morons thing "uh! me smart! me understood this joke!". It's the trash movies like "DISASTER MOVIE" are made of.

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  • May 23, 2010, 2:04 p.m. CST

    NEEDS TO BE DARK WITH A HARD R

    by Larry Sellers

    To say that the better family films are the ones that cater to adults and talk down to children with bright colors and slapstick bullshit is pretty ridiculous.<p> WILL SOMEONE DO SOMETHING ABOUT THESE FUCKING SPAMMERS

  • May 23, 2010, 5:28 p.m. CST

    Pissweak. Predictable. Waste of time.

    by Powerring

    I should have gone to see IM2 again or How to train your dragon. SIV was *NOT EVEN CLOSE* TO S1. HTTYD was 10 times better in every possible way than this tired, weak, predictable dead franchise. Nothing like a dead silent audience for 90 minutes, save for one brief giggle at the fat ass puss n boots. Not worth a rental...wait for cable and then switch the channel to HTTYD.

  • May 24, 2010, 12:18 a.m. CST

    My "NORMAL GUY" REVIEW.

    by GibsonUSA Returns

    Better than the last one, but NOT EVEN CLOSE to the first two. It felt like they were barely trying with this one. It felt like an 80s cartoon episode (and indeed, many have used this storyline) with no real reason to exist.<BR><BR> It felt like they weren't even trying to be edgy and funny anymore. The storyline was mildly interesting, but the audience was completely quiet almost the whole time. Virtually zero funny parts. <BR> The only times I kinda smiled were (and these are gonna be super specific cause they were the only ones I can find). <BR><BR> -Fat puss sliding down the rope the 2nd time (onto the big ball).<BR> -Shrek flying by in slo-mo smiling as the pitchforks fly by.<BR> <BR><BR> Um, that's it. Under 10 secs combined? The ogre cook was kind interesting. Other than that I have no idea why this movie exists ($$$$ obviously, but you know what I mean). People keep comparing this to ITS A WONDERFUL LIFE but there's one big difference: ITS A WONDERFUL LIFE HAD STORY PROGRESSION. Bailey needed that $8000, and by the end of the movie, the whole town combined its resources to deliver.<BR><BR><BR><BR> SPOILERS BELOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! <BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR> Unlike ITS A WONDERFUL LIFE, in Shrek 4 NOTHING HAPPENED. When Shrek gets his life back, he is literally exactly where the movie started....he basically went back in time, unlike Bailey. There was no progression in the "real" universe...it was like 3/4 of the movie never happened...the only difference is mental...Shrek learns appreciation.<BR> Basically, NOTHING happened in Shrek 4...whereas in ITS A WONDERFUL LIFE, we see the main character grow up, interact with his neighbors, and after he gets his life back the neighbors pull through for him. There's no story in Shrek.

  • May 24, 2010, 10:16 a.m. CST

    Boring, bland, predictable

    by kinksy

    This movie became everything that the first movies strived not to be. I did not laugh out loud once, and honestly my daughter and I left before the end because you could see where it was going from the first few minutes. Even she was bored and she's 3. She did, however make it all the way through Dragon and Princess and the Frog.

  • May 24, 2010, 10:38 a.m. CST

    "It's Wonderful Life" plot

    by Van_Dammes_Forehead_Lump

    The worst Muppet production of all time also used the plot from It's a Wonderful Life. Now Shrek 4, which also sucked. Maybe a clue here? Here's another clue: the actual movie "It's a Wonderful Life" also sucks.

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  • May 30, 2010, 2:34 a.m. CST

    I saw it tonight. I was surprised how much I liked it.

    by Royston Lodge

    Just got back from seeing it. Only reason I went was, of course, because of a girl.<p> I was, however, surprised how much I enjoyed it! I thought it was pretty, well, great.<p> I laughed a lot, which is the point, isn't it?<p> I didn't even really like the FIRST one! This one, however, worked for me. The pacing was nimble. The jokes were funny. Nothing too juvenile. Rumplestilskin was a decent, understated villain.<p> And John Hamm as an ogre? Icing on the cake.<p> I gotta say, I think this Shrek 4 thingie is underrated.