×

Shrek the Third

While still mirthful and eccentric enough to amuse his hordes of admirers, the irascible green ogre begins to show signs of encroaching middle age in "Shrek the Third." After a buoyantly funny first half-hour, stylish animated comedy takes a breather before ramping it up again for a rambunctious, girrrl-power finale that provides a convenient springboard for further adventures to come.

With:
Voices: Shrek - Mike Myers Donkey - Eddie Murphy Princess Fiona - Cameron Diaz Puss in Boots - Antonio Banderas Queen - Julie Andrews King - John Cleese Prince Charming - Rupert Everett Merlin - Eric Idle Artie - Justin Timberlake

While still mirthful and eccentric enough to amuse his hordes of admirers, the irascible green ogre begins to show signs of encroaching middle age in “Shrek the Third.” After a buoyantly funny first half-hour, stylish animated comedy takes a breather before ramping it up again for a rambunctious, girrrl-power finale that provides a convenient springboard for further adventures to come. As the $920 million in worldwide B.O. for “Shrek 2” three years ago nearly doubled the take of the 2001 original, there can be little doubt about similarly monstrous results this time around.

The “Shrek” industry continues to expand beyond the feature films themselves. The short “Shrek 4-D” bridged the gap between the first two pictures, a “Shrek the Halls” holiday TV spec looms later this year, and “Shrek: The Musical” will head for Broadway next season.

Shrek and his bride Fiona prove similarly fertile in the new outing. With the death — in a hilariously protracted scene — of the Frog King (voiced by John Cleese), the crown of Far Far Away is Shrek’s to refuse, and refuse it he must, given the oafishness with which he performs the most menial royal functions. “I am an ogre. I’m not cut out for this,” he complains to his wife, unaware she’s got a wee one growing in her belly.

Pic peaks with a resultant fatherhood nightmare in which panicked Shrek is engulfed in a flood of demanding ogre tykes from whom there can be no escape. But before he is forced to cope with fatherhood, Shrek must tend to the business of finding a replacement for himself on the throne.

Prime suspect in this line is Artie (Justin Timberlake), Fiona’s half-brother, who lives in another land far far away reached by Shrek, Donkey and Puss in Boots after a lengthy sea voyage. Although the region is called Worcestershire, it bears more than a passing resemblance to the OC, given the American-accented layabouts who lard their speech with “like” and “whatever.” What may have been the filmmakers’ idea of an amusing gag in fact comes off as pandering to young Yank viewers.

Artie is a good-looking but dweeby outcast, the butt of fun for rival Lancelot’s crew, and dismissive of Shrek’s entreaties even as they travel together toward Far Far Away. Film itself is becalmed when their ship runs aground and the action is briefly dominated by a broken-down, New Agey Merlin (Eric Idle) whose magical powers aren’t what they once were.

Providing more fun is Prince Charming (Rupert Everett), who, after a failed career in dinner theater, convinces a tavern full of villains (Captain Hook, Cyclops, et al.) to join him in conquering Far Far Away and enjoy their own happy ending for once. Ultimately opposing them is a band of heretofore sweet young things (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and Rapunzel among them), who take matters into their own hands while Shrek, Artie and Fiona are sorting out their futures.

Having moved on to “The Chronicles of Narnia” franchise, Andrew Adamson, director of the first two “Shrek” entries, has handed the reins to Chris Miller, who worked as a story artist and provided vocals on the earlier installments. From a visual and storytelling p.o.v., transition is seamless. Notable details this time include the attention to facial and physical nuance in Shrek’s characterization, and the evident delight Miller and the artists have taken in the design and minutiae of the stage productions rendered in the opening and closing sequences.

Franchise stars Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy and Antonio Banderas continue their stellar voice work, and the latter two have some choice moments in the late going thanks to a clever gag involving the Donkey and Puss in Boots characters. Musical elements are bright as usual.

Shrek the Third

Production: A Paramount release of a DreamWorks Animation SKG presentation of a PDI/DreamWorks production. Produced by Aron Warner. Executive producers, Andrew Adamson, John H. Williams. Co-producer, Denise Nolan Cascino. Directed by Chris Miller. Co-director, Raman Hui. Screenplay, Jeffrey Price, Peter S. Seaman, Miller, Aron Warner; story, Andrew Adamson, based on the book by William Steig.

Crew: (Technicolor); editor, Michael Andrews; music, Harry Gregson-Williams; production designer, Guillaume Aretos; art director, Peter Zaslav; visual effects supervisors, Philippe Gluckman, Ken Bielenberg; head of character animation, Tim Cheung; head of story, Rejean Bourdages; head of layout, Nick Walker; sound (Dolby Digital/DTS/SDDS), Andy Nelson, Anna Behlmer; supervising sound editors, Richard L. Anderson, Thomas Jones. Reviewed at Bruin Theater, Los Angeles, May 6, 2007. MPAA Rating: PG. Running time: 92 MIN.

With: Voices: Shrek - Mike Myers Donkey - Eddie Murphy Princess Fiona - Cameron Diaz Puss in Boots - Antonio Banderas Queen - Julie Andrews King - John Cleese Prince Charming - Rupert Everett Merlin - Eric Idle Artie - Justin Timberlake

More Film

  • sith trooper

    Sith Trooper Revealed From 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker'

    “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” revealed a new storm trooper uniform Wednesday at San Diego Comic Con as part of a special exhibit celebrating the evolution of the storm trooper design. Dubbed the Sith trooper, the new uniform sports all-red armor plates with a matching red and black blaster. Also decorating the armor is [...]

  • Dunkirk

    Harry Styles Is the Perfect Prince Eric; Why He'd Rock 'Little Mermaid' Role

    Could Harry Styles be the perfect Prince Eric? One day after the announcement that the One Direction star is “in early negotiations to play the iconic ‘Little Mermaid’ role,” the internet exploded with speculation as to how he would portray the object of Ariel’s affections. “I can see lots of reasons why Harry is perfect,” [...]

  • The Lion King

    Film News Roundup: PETA Sponsors Rescued Lion in Jon Favreau's Name

    In today’s film news roundup, PETA honors Jon Favreau for “The Lion King,” “Tigers Are Not Afraid” gets a theatrical release, a Kirk Franklin biopic is in development and “The Sixth Sense” gets an anniversary showing in Philadelphia. HONOR The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is sponsoring a rescued lion to honor director [...]

  • Tokyo Director-in-Focus-at-Japan-Now

    Nobuhiko Obayashi set as Japanese Director in Focus at Tokyo Film Festival

    Indie director, Nobuhiko Obayashi will be feted as the director in focus at the Japan Now section of this year’s Tokyo International Film Festival. The festival will give a world premiere to his “Labyrinth of Cinema.” Supporting his art by shooting commercials, Obayashi is an indie whose dreamy works have influenced numerous other directors in [...]

  • Jimmi Simpson Joins Russell Crowe Movie

    Jimmi Simpson Joins Russell Crowe Thriller 'Unhinged' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Jimmi Simpson will play a key role in “Unhinged,” Variety has learned. He joins an impressive cast that includes Oscar-winner Russell Crowe and Caren Pistorius. Solstice Studios is producing the psychological thriller, which is currently filming in New Orleans. “Unhinged” centers on a woman named Rachel (Pistorius), who leans on her horn at the wrong [...]

  • David Crosby

    David Crosby Says New Documentary 'Remember My Name' Is Like 'Being Naked in Public’

    “It’s not easy. It’s hard being naked in public,” David Crosby, the legendary troubadour of classic rock, reflected at Tuesday night’s New York City premiere of “David Crosby: Remember My Name.” “I don’t know what to do here. There’s no guitars, no drums,” he laughed. Directed by newcomer A.J. Eaton and produced by the legendary [...]

  • Javier Bardem Dune

    Javier Bardem in Talks to Play King Triton in Disney's 'Little Mermaid'

    Javier Bardem is in talks to play King Triton in Disney’s live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid.” Halle Bailey will portray the Ariel, a mermaid princess who dreams of being a human, while Melissa McCarthy is playing her evil aunt Ursula. Harry Styles is also in early talks to play Prince Eric. “The Little Mermaid” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content