×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

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

  • Avengers EndGame Trailer

    ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Marvel claims the top spot in spending with “Avengers: Endgame.” Ads placed for the superhero film had an estimated media value of $6.28 million through Sunday for 927 national ad airings on 39 networks. (Spend figures [...]

  • Oscar OScars Placeholder

    Netflix Can Chill: Academy Rules No Change in Streaming Oscar Eligibility

    The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will not change eligibility rules for Oscar, despite speculation that streaming companies might see a crackdown on their release practices should they vie for the coveted trophies. A board of governors meeting on Tuesday voted to maintain the status quo, that any feature-length film can be considered [...]

  • Aniara review

    Film Review: 'Aniara'

    Each year brings an example or three of purported “thinking person’s science-fiction” films, a category that pretty much embraces anything not centered on monsters or lightsaber battles. These efforts are often more admirable in theory than result, but “Aniara” — the first film drawn from Nobel Prize-winning Swedish poet Harry Martinson’s 1956 cycle of 103 [...]

  • Avengers: Endgame

    'Avengers: Endgame' Reviews: What the Critics Are Saying

    It’s been a long year for Marvel fans since the release of “Avengers: Infinity War,” but the wait is nearly over. The finale to the Infinity Saga is here, and while most diehard fans will know to avoid them for fear of spoilers, early reviews are mostly positive. Last year’s “Infinity War” took home an [...]

  • American Made

    'American Made' Plane Crash Lawsuits End in Settlement

    The producers of the Tom Cruise film “American Made” have settled all litigation surrounding a 2015 plane crash in Colombia that killed two pilots. The settlement resolves pending suits in both California and Georgia. A notice of settlement was filed in Santa Monica Superior Court on Monday. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. The [...]

  • Avengers: Endgame

    Film Review: 'Avengers: Endgame'

    SPOILER ALERT: The following review contains mild spoilers for “Avengers: Endgame.” The culmination of 10 years and more than twice as many movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “Avengers: Endgame” promises closure where its predecessor, “Avengers: Infinity War,” sowed chaos. That film — which revealed that the cookie-cutter uniformity of all those MCU movies had [...]

  • Avengers: Endgame

    'Avengers: Endgame': Why a $300 Million Opening Could Be Impossible

    “Avengers: Endgame” is preparing for a staggering debut between $250 million and $268 million in North America alone. Unprecedented anticipation surrounding the Marvel juggernaut has some particularly optimistic box office watchers tossing around even higher numbers, estimating the superhero tentpole could clear nearly $300 million in ticket sales in its first three days. If any film [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content