SHREK THE THIRD
With his new father-in-law (now a frog by curse) King Harold (voice of John Cleese) dying, Shrek (Mike Myers) is promoted to heir of the throne of Far, Far Away. Not ready to give up his beloved swamp, Shrek recruits his friends Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) to install the forgotten nobody and (vaguely second in line) Artie (Justin Timberlake) as the new king. Meanwhile the jilted and bitter Prince Charming (Rupert Everett) plots a coup d'etat - but Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) rallies a band of royal girlfriends to thwart that plan, with all of them having to make one final super fight to seize the day.
Review by Louise Keller:
Continuing the Shrek tradition of fresh, hip, zany innovation, this third film takes yet another step along similar lines, but carefully stepping clear of repeating itself. It's brilliantly funny but makes sure none of the laughs come at the expense of the integrity of the characters. Shrek and his loving relationship with his Princess Fiona are the heart and soul of the film, while our old favourites Donkey and Puss in Boots (as well as some new ones) delight us with their antics. Be true to yourself is the film's message as Shrek struggles to keep his freedom in the swamp and with the new, terrifying prospect of fatherhood. Irreverent at every turn, Shrek The Third is a joyous experience.
The ideas tingle with freshness, and it is highly unlikely that you will ever see a more hilarious death scene than that of John Cleese's frog-in-law king, reclining on an ornate lotus flower in his lily pond. Cleese milks the moment as you can imagine, prompting Shrek, Donkey and Puss in Boots to set sail in search of the possible heir to the throne. There's a lovely twist to the notion of Shrek's impending fatherhood: instead of being ecstatic, he is overwhelmed with angst. He dreams of green projectile vomiting and every baby ogre hazard known to a green ogre. Mike Myers injects such charm into his Shrek, as does Cameron Diaz for the chubby Princess Fiona. Eddie Murphy's irrepressible Donkey is in fine form, as is Antonio Banderas' adorable doe-eyed Puss. It's a sure-fire highlight when Eric Idle's new-age wizard Merlin whips up a spell resulting in a body switch between Donkey and Puss.
Every fairy-tale character you have ever thought of makes an appearance, and I like the way the pretty damsels (Snow White, Cinderella, Rapunzel) discard their sweet images to kick-butt when needed. The filmmakers have kept it short and very sweet; simply everyone can enjoy this wondrously creative animated adventure that will have you rockin' and rolling in the aisles.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
If you have a sly sense of humour and enjoy dialogue that skewers every archetype from politician to spin doctor to diplomat to bureaucrat to snivelling rogue, you'll get your money's worth from Pinocchio's confrontation with Prince Charming. Pinocchio has to avoid lying or his nose will give him away, but the question (the whereabouts of Shrek, whom Charming is chasing) is awkward for him. It's acidically funny, made especially sweet by director Chris Miller letting us add all the extra layers in our mind, while the innocent Pinocchio remains ... well, innocent.
Shrek The Third is just that sort of film; it's gently ironic, sometimes subversively funny and always easy to take. The fairy tale women who are part of Princess Fiona's posse get a good working over, with Snow White and Rapunzel singled out for wicked satire.
The story is clean and clear: Shrek (Mike Myers) doesn't want to be King - he prefers the swamp. This is pretty contempo; we all prefer a sea change to the corporate world of the city, if only we could afford/arrange/manage it. Who needs regal process when you can have unprocessed food and a bucolic lifestyle. So there are buttons for parents as well as the youngsters who have come to watch an ogre belch, fart and get his revenge on slimy Prince Charming. (There's another dig ...)
It all goes according to plan, this sequel, and you can take your maiden aunt or your kids or your girlfriend and they'll all laugh at the right spots. As for the filmmaking, it's meticulous animation, with the kind of detail that assures you of the filmmakers' sincerity in wanting to give us a hearty good time.
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JEFFREY KATZENBERG INTERVIEW & PODCAST
SHREK THE THIRD (PG)
VOICES: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas, Julie Andrews, John Cleese, Rupert Everett, Eric Idle, Justin Timberlake, Susan Blakeslee, Cody Cameron, Larry King, John Krasinski
PRODUCER: Aron Warner
DIRECTOR: Chris Miller (co-director Raman Hui)
SCRIPT: Jeffrey Price, Peter S. Seaman, Jon Zack (book by William Steig)
EDITOR: Michael Andrews
MUSIC: Harry Gregson-Williams
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Guillaume Arretos
RUNNING TIME: 93 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: June 7, 2007