Shrek the Third (2007)

Since the end of Shrek 2, things have been going well for Shrek, Fiona, and the rest of the denizens of Far, Far Away everyone, that is, except Fionas father, King Harold. Shrek discovers that he is next in line for the position, a responsibility he is unwilling to accept. Shreks only alternative is to locate the next in line for the throne (a young King Arthur) and return him to the kingdom.

Prince Charming, however, has plans on his own. Upon learning of the Kings demise, the prince (who has been relegated to an unintentionally humorous club performer) has decided that it is his turn to be the king. Leading an angry mob of other fairy tale exiles, Prince Charming devises a plan to take over the castle in Shreks absence, seize the throne, and slay the big green ogre once and for all.

Even the most lukewarm reader may notice Shrek the Third is essentially a retread of familiar waters, a combination of the quest for a person (Shrek 1) and a battle with Prince Charming for the throne (Shrek 2). I also suspect, according to the bazillion dollars Shrek the Third took in throughout its opening weekend, that few people care about the originality of the plot and were instead dragged to theaters across the country by younger fans of Shrek and his pals. At least, thats my excuse.

Like the previous installment, Shrek the Third is filled with sight gags for kids and adults alike. There are plenty of jokes for each demographic; each cute pun intended for older audience members is followed by a burp, fart or puke joke. Also, like the previous two movies, the animation within the film is superb. Top notch. The on-screen details and motion of the characters may be the best to date. The difference between this film and some of the other 3rd party animated films my kids have forced me to suffer through is instantly noticeable.

Every major character from the first two films (from the three blind mice to the three little pigs) reappear here as well. Comic relief sidekicks Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) provide plenty of yuks throughout Shreks adventure. New characters Artie (Justin Timberlake), Merlin (Eric Idle) as well as Fionas friends Snow White (Amy Poehler), Rapunzel (Maya Rudolph), Cinderella (Amy Sedaris) and Sleeping Beauty (Cheri Oteri) round out the film.

Shrek the Third delivers new, groundbreaking messages to kids such as, be yourself youre somebody special, and dont worry if people pick on you someday you might be a king! Theres a message there for adults too, something about growing up and accepting responsibility for your actions. Of course, these and any other messages the movie has to over will be soon drowned by the onslaught of cups, cereal and toys your kids are about to start begging for. Happy shopping.

Better than the second but not as good as the first, Shrek the Third will keep you and your kids entertained all 90 minutes long and will make both of you laugh, although rarely at the same time.

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