When King Harold suddenly croaks, Shrek (Mike Myers) learns he will have to rule the land of Far, Far Away, unless he can find a suitable heir to the throne. The most-promising candidate is Princess Fiona’s (Cameron Diaz) cousin Artie (Justin Timberlake), a teenage slacker in a medieval high-school. Shrek and his trusted companions, Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas), set out to bring Artie back but find their mission is a bigger challenge than they expected.
Despite the fact that I have seen the first two films in the Shrek series more times than I can count, I have only seen Chris Miller’s Shrek the Third one time – back when it was released in theatres in 2007. My mother took me to the local theatre to see it seeing as how I was a massive fan of the first two and because I watched them time and time again.
When this movie was released, I was seven years old and I most certainly enjoyed it back then, but I was curious to see what it would be like thirteen years later. It seems as though the entire Shrek fanbase agrees on one thing – Shrek the Third is the worst entry in the franchise. Going in to rewatch it today, I was crossing my fingers that that would not be the case. Unfortunately, it is.
Truthfully, it’s the only Shrek film that I will wholeheartedly admit is bad. Not only is this the least funny installment, but it also has the least amount of heart. There are some annoying pop culture references along the way and way too many gross-out jokes. The other movies had a few of them, but for the most part, managed to be legitimately funny for both adults and children. Here, only young children will find things to laugh about. Even still, I can’t imagine any child over the age of seven genuinely enjoying the comedy in the film.
But expanding on what I briefly touched upon earlier, the biggest flaw I have with Shrek the Third is that there is simply no heart to be found anywhere in the story. There is little to no effort done to make the characters go to places both themselves and the audiences are unsure about. During the first act of the film, it actually seemed as though the film would greatly flesh out our lead protagonists and take them to richer and more interesting places, but by the end of the film, they are still the exact same people (or ogres, I suppose) that they were at the beginning.
Something that every Shrek film has managed to keep up consistently though, is the animation style. It is more than likely due to the fact that this movie was released in 2007 and technology was far more advanced than it was when the original movie was released in 2001, but the Shrek movies just look better and better with each passing entry. All of the people that worked on the animation team need immense praise for their hard work and dedication here. It paid off greatly.
Also, it’s always such a delight to hear Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy reprise their iconic voice roles as Shrek and Donkey respectively. To tell you the truth, I can’t imagine anyone else voicing these characters. They feel so charismatic and energetic in their roles and simply cannot be replaced.
There are some really great things to enjoy about Shrek the Third. It boasts truly stellar animation and it’s wildly entertaining to listen to the voice cast work their magic, but the film simply suffers from a lack of heart and a poor story that fails to deliver on its promise of taking our beloved ogres to more intriguing places.
Overall Grade: D+
MPAA Rating: PG for some crude humor, suggestive content, and swashbuckling action
Directed by: Chris Miller
Distributed by: DreamWorks Pictures
Release Date: May 18, 2007
Running Time: 92 minutes