What is it with this year’s big film offerings? Not one of them has had me leaving the cinema going ‘wow’ that was great.
From the mediocre Spider-man 3 and Pirates 3 to the problematic Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer, nothing so far this year has grabbed my attention and had me waiting for the DVD release. Maybe it’s because everything is a sequel, but every recent big film I have seen so far at the flicks this summer has fallen flat. And Shrek 3, to date, is the worst offender.
With a plot that involves Shrek tracking down the ‘rightful’ heir to the throne of Far Far Away, the quite humorous (but not much) Prince Charming trying to get his revenge on Shrek and co and a pregant Princess Fiona giving it all with her ‘girl power’ (is it me of is there an uncanny resemblance between her team and the newly reformed Spice Girls), the film is really just a set of set pieces that fall together in a vague excuse for a script.
All the originality of the first (and to a point, second) film is gone and really all you are left with is a shallow movie filled with all the bits from the first two films they couldn’t put in.
The film franchise for me has lost its magic and while there was a chuckle or two, which mostly came from Gingy the Gingerbread man (his flashback is fantastic), most of the jokes fall very, very flat.
While new characters such as Mr Merlin and Artie are introduced, both add nothing to the Shrek character line-up. Merlin is really just being Eric Idle at his most annoying and Artie is Justin Timberlake being…well, himself really,
Once again it is up to Eddie Murphy to save the day as Donkey, but again, even with such a great character the former Beverly Hills Cop star find its difficult to raise a laugh. And with the completely pointless body-swap scenario set up with Puss (who is also wasted), the script is by the numbers, generic and weak.
The only good thing about the entire mess is Snow White, who is a pisstake of the Disney portrayal of the character with the wry sarcasm and wit of Joan Rivers. Another gem is the inclusion of Shrek babies who are cute and meddlesome and will make great additions to the line of toys that will be appearing in burger bar outlets countrywide.
From the weak setup with the none-too-subtle message of responsibility, to the joke-free section involving Artie’s high school to the weak turnout from the bad guys (apart from the talking trees) right through to the mediocre finale, the film screws up on so many levels it hurts.
The substance is gone. The sense of fun is gone. The ideas are gone.
A truly wasted opportunity that could have been great, but was nothing more than another exercise of companies thinking about money and returns rather than scripts, characters or a good story.
But don’t worry. The makers have confirmed they’ll only be another two films in the series. Shudder.