Directed by Mike Mitchell (Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo) from a script by Josh Klausner and Darren Lemke, Shrek Forever After is a hilarious, laugh riot and fun for all ages! I have always loved this franchise because it is as entertaining for children as it is for adults with tons of witty references that only grown folk will get. Combining elements of the fairy tale Rumplestiltskin with the classic favorite “It’s a Wonderful Life”, the story is simple and the best of the four.
In a nutshell, Shrek becomes bored with his life as a husband and father, makes a deal with the trickster Rumpelstiltskin that turns his Life completely upside down, and then has to find a way to undo the deal. The message is simple. Count your blessings or you risk losing them. With everyone hanging by a thread in this economy, it is a message that has resonance. (I have one friend in particular, who I hope will see this film. A housewife who doesn’t work outside her home, she is living the life of Riley with a husband that supports her. Yet all she does is complain or speculate on the possibility of future hardship from cancer to her hubby losing his job!)
The 3-D element is put to perfect use in Shrek 4 and makes you feel like you are actually a villager in Far Far Away. At the end, I was sad to leave my new neighborhood! (The only downside is the $20 price tag for 3-D, which I feel is ill-advised in this economy. It is just not right to make cash strapped patrons pay these sort of exorbitant prices and could actually create a backlash in the long run.)
All of our favorite characters are back with Fiona (Cameron Diaz) given a whole new dimension as a tough warrior princess. As usual, the comedic references are fast, furious, and random, such as a hilariously obscure “Deliverance” reference in the beginning, that had me laughing for at least five minutes after it was made. The hilarious one-liners, from Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas), Donkey (Eddie Murphy), Ginger Bread Man and two new characters Cookie, voiced by Craig Robinson and a little boy with a voice like an old man, Shrek 4 had me screaming laughing throughout. Walter Dohrn as the villainous Rumpelstiltskin manages to be menacing but humorous at the same time. (Actually, he reminded me of my former attorney – a pleasant snake offering trick filled deals!)
I truly hope that the filmmakers rethink ending the wonderful Shrek franchise with the fourth one, as I would love to visit Far Far Away a dozen more times! At least, we have the Puss and Boots spinoff to look forward to.