Shrek the Third was one of those sequels that I felt was just unforgivable.
I was wrong, of course. Paying to see Shrek Forever After implies that I have forgiven Dreamworks for 2007's franchise-killing, pseudo-Arthurian abomination.
Shrek Forever After is the actual franchise-killer, but in a good way. Or at least that's my hope. The land of Far, Far Away doesn't need more epic struggles in this generation, and while "happily ever after" may be a little too trite, at least this film suggests that our heroes can grow old in peace rather than dying in battle.
But I'm getting ahead of myself, and spoiling the ending in the middle of the review. This film is a treat. The performances are solid, and the animation is artful and sustains the story perfectly.
The story, though... if you've seen the trailers and been led to expect It's a Wonderful Life meets Faust in the Shrek franchise, you'd be exactly, 100% correct.
Darn it, I've spoiled the ending again.
Shrek Forever After was a lot of fun, but I wanted something a little more complicated, and maybe a little longer. The time-bomb plot device (that's what it's called when the hero has to solve a problem before time runs out) made the film feel rushed, and it was so pretty to look at I wanted to bask in it for just a little longer.
Shrek Forever After comes in 5th for me so far this year. Why does it beat much more powerful films, like The Book of Eli or The Wolfman? Because yesterday was absolutely, positively awful, and today I wanted something safe, predictable, funny, and uplifting. But I wanted a bit more of all that (except for the "predictable") than this movie offered.