Shrek Forever After is stronger than Shrek the Third, but not by much. There’s still no competition between Shrek and Shrek 2. Even with the intention of making it The Final Chapter. DreamWorks Animation had changed so much since 2001 that their style barely matched the original movie anymore. DreamWorks finally found their own voice separate from Disney & Pixar and were no longer making movies out of spite. So a fourth and final Shrek movie wasn’t exactly special in 2010. Unlike Toy Story 3 released the same year, Shrek Forever After almost completely lost its adult appeal. Gone was the innuendo and occasional profanity of their glory days. Shrek is a family ogre with his wife Fiona and babies Fergus, Fargel, and Felicia. His swamp is a tourist attraction, Donkey, Dragon, and Puss in Boots drop by for playdates, and no one fears Shrek like they used to.
Shrek Forever After was the last major film role for Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy was stuck making kids movies, and Cameron Diaz was nearing the end of her career. Antonio Banderas was frankly the only actor getting something out of the final installment. With all other villains used up, Rumpelstiltskin became the primary antagonist. Just not the ordinary looking one from Shrek the Third. This Rumpel is cartoony with an annoying voice, a giant goose, several mood wigs, and a penchant for making sleazy deals. When Shrek’s goofy life pushes him too far, he makes a deal with Rumpel to have a day as a real ogre. Things come full circle with an It’s a Wonderful Life twist. As Shrek unknowingly gave up the day of his birth, he finds himself with one day to set things right. Since King Harold and Queen Lillian once made a deal with Rumpel, he inherited their kingdom. In this alternate reality, witches run rampant, Donkey is a cart mule, Puss is a fat cat without boots, and Fiona rescued herself from the tower. Gingy, Pinocchio, the Three Little Pigs, and Big Bad Wolf are also dealing with the dystopian fairy tale kingdom.
Shrek tries to convince Donkey they’re friends, but most importantly, he tries to make Fiona fall in love with him. Easier said than done, since Fiona is now a cynical ogre warrior leading a resistance of ogres. The only time we see ogres other than Shrek or Fiona. Most of them are voiced by a celebrity cast that has their moments, but don’t make much of an impact. Things take a turn when Rumpel hires the Pied Piper to capture the ogres. Fiona starts to come around, but she doesn’t love Shrek just yet. Not until he helps her fight Dragon and take down Rumpel. I was sad to see Shrek go, but of course they live happily ever after. Ending with a party in the swamp set to “I’m a Believer,” followed by a montage of past movies. I saw every Shrek movie in theaters from age 5 to age 14. The far advanced computer animation was the main reason for it seeming out of place. Aside from a Christmas & Halloween special, stage musical, and several minor appearances, Shrek Forever After was the last we’d seen of the lovable ogre. Shrek Forever After did its best to go out on a high note.
Preceded by: Shrek the Third