Long-settled into married life and fully domesticated, Shrek (Mike Myers) begins to long for the days when he felt like a real ogre. Duped into signing a contract with devious Rumpelstiltskin, he finds himself in an alternate version of Far Far Away, where ogres are hunted, Rumpelstiltskin rules, and he and Fiona (Cameron Diaz) have never met. Shrek must find a way out of the contract to restore his world and reclaim his true love.
We have reached the end of the original Shrek series for my review marathon, folks. It’s been an absolute blast watching every film in the main series and discovering how great they still are all these years later (with the exception of Shrek the Third). In a couple of days or so, I will also be revisiting the spin-off Puss in Boots, so be on the lookout for that. But today, it’s time for me to talk about The Final Chapter in the main series of films, Shrek Forever After.
Even though I was ten years old when the movie was released in theatres, I genuinely do remember going to the local theatre with my mom and watching it and having an extremely good time. As a ten-year-old, it was probably my favorite movie back then, especially since when I was younger, the Shrek films were some of my all-time favorites. Going back to watch it ten whole years later, I was incredibly pleased to discover that this is still an amazing children’s film that serves as a beautiful and highly satisfying conclusion to the franchise.
One of the biggest problems I had with the aforementioned Shrek the Third was that none of the characters went on any sort of personal journey. They were the same ogres they were at the beginning of the story, and it just felt like ninety minutes of pop-culture related jokes and almost nothing else. They must have heard the fan complaints because Forever After takes the characters to emotional places that were absolutely necessary.
At the beginning of this film, Shrek has three babies with his wife Fiona, and together, they are all settled in the swamp living together. However, Shrek grows immensely tired of constantly having to deal with his newborn children and, at one of their birthday parties, loses his temper after the party gets a bit too hyper for his liking. It’s at that moment when he runs into Rumpelstiltskin who promises that, if he signs a magical paper, he will transport Shrek into an alternate timeline for one day where he is once again feared as an ogre.
Feeling hopeless and selfish without thinking about the potential consequences, Shrek happily signs the paper which causes him to go to the alternate timeline, and for a while, everything seems to be going right for him. But quickly he realizes that this alternate universe is not what he had hoped for. There, Fiona, Donkey, and all the closest people to Shrek don’t have a clue as to who he is. He learns that if he doesn’t find a way to defeat Rumpelstiltskin by the end of the day, he will vanish from existence.
It’s probably the only Shrek film that has extremely dire consequences and I love it dearly for that reason alone, as well as many other reasons too. While watching the story play out, you truly feel as though Shrek could lose. As time begins to run out, the stakes grow increasingly higher, and even as an adult, the film can feel a little bit intense. I wish I could remember how exciting this must have been for me when I was a ten-year-old because it was probably heart-racing.
As I touched upon in my other Shrek reviews, the animation style throughout the entire series is truly a work of art, and the exact same can be said about Forever After. It’s the most visually stunning entry in the franchise, not just because of the incredible detail that went into animating every frame, but the film also uses a ton of colors in unique and creative ways. As far as family films go, this is one of the most beautiful out there.
On top of all of that, the voice cast yet again shines tremendously here. It never gets old hearing the voices of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, and the rest of the cast in their now iconic roles. There have been many reports over the last couple of years stating that a Shrek reboot is in the works over at Illumination Entertainment (Despicable Me, The Secret Life of Pets) with the original voice cast returning. Personally, I’m completely down for a reboot just so long as the animation style is the same or at least quite similar. It would be an absolute delight to hear the original voice cast return for one last adventure. But, if not, we can all be happy that Shrek Forever After serves as a touching and hilarious final outing for our beloved ogres.
Overall Grade: A
MPAA Rating: PG for mild action, some rude humor and brief language
Directed by: Mike Mitchell
Distributed by: DreamWorks Pictures
Release Date: May 21, 2010
Running Time: 93 minutes