There used to be a time when a film trilogy was a special, rare, once in a decade event, now Hollywood has decided that every moderately or hugely successful film gets the trilogy treatment. This summer alone we have Spiderman 3, Pirates of the Caribbean 3 (I'd rather gouge my eyes out than be forced to sit through another crappy Pirates film), and Shrek 3.
Another rule Hollywood seems to break is the idea that sequels suck. In the last few years, there have been a slew of sequels that far outshined the originals – X-Men 2, Spiderman 2, and Shrek 2. So has the new 3rd installment become the new sucky sequel?
I didn't see the first Shrek film in the theaters, I saw it on video, long after all the hype hailed it as the second coming, when I finally saw it, I was completely indifferent to it. But Shrek 2 was brilliant it had its own unique wit, charm, and energy to it, that I absolutely adored it. When Shrek 3 was announced I was back to "I couldn't care less."
Even with diminished expectations, Shrek 3 scrapes the bottom of the barrel. It's utter crap. While Shrek 2 was fearless in its attitude, the Third feels contrived, pre-packaged, and so watered down that the movie is barely watchable. It's so obvious that this film was made by committee. The look of the film is gorgeous. The CGI has come a long way from the first film. Too bad the story hasn't.
Earlier this year I reviewed and hated an animated film called Happily N'Ever After, I mention this because Shrek 3's story is almost a carbon copy of that film, and executed just as poorly. The concept is great, a fractured fairytale where Prince Charming (Rupert Everett) is actually evil and wants to take over the Kingdom of Far Far Away is gold.
What's wrong with the story is how the charm is completely sucked out of Shrek The Third, this has clearly become a paycheck film for all those involved. There's no energy in any of the voice acting, the jokes are stale, everyone seems to be going through the motions. This time out Shrek (Mike Myers) is no longer an Ogre, he's happily married to Fiona (Cameron Diaz) and he has Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and Puss In Boots (Antonio Banderas) as his assistants. Things start to go downhill when the King (John Cleese) dies (in one of the worst film moments in HISTORY). Shrek can't handle being a King so he sets out to find the second heir Arthur (Justin Timberlake who sounds strangely like Freddie Prinze Jr.) and convince him to become King.
The pacing in Shrek is awful, the first 40 minutes feel like its lasting hours, and the music is wildly inappropriate and distracting. Its as if the producers were like, hey we have Live and Let Die, wouldn't it be funny if frogs where singing this song at a funeral? Ha, ha, ha… um, yeah.
Let's hope studio execs learn how to quit while they are ahead, not every popular film franchise needs to be a trilogy.
Final Grade F
EM Review by
Originally Posted, 5/20/07