Once upon a… This is where I would start off and tell the story of the film’s plot, but since there’s no storybook opening that the previous two films featured, I instead share my reaction to the third chapter of the ‘Shrek’ franchise that Shrek says which relates back to this film; “If it were real, that would have been agonizingly painful”, and painful it was.
‘Shrek the Third’ sees our favourite trio Shrek, Donkey and Puss to find Arthur, a.k.a. Arty, to become the new king of Far Far Away. However, while in the process of finding Arty, the villains rise to get their happily ever after, therefore, Far Far Away is in ruin, ruled by fairy-tale villains.
The film lacks the magic and charm that the first two films feature, as it perfectly captures what a Disney fairy-tale parody are, making fun of the tropes in classic fairy-tale films, and while I am a massive fan of Disney’s fairy-tale films, it’s a breath of fresh air seeing these characters in a different light, e.g. Snow White singing a cheerful song, and then go into total rock music. While the film does present that at times, like the example mentioned, most times it now becomes a parody of itself.
‘Shrek the Third’ suffers from a lack of a solid story that the first two films had. ‘Shrek’ is about an accidental love story between an ogre and a princess. ‘Shrek 2’ is about a family war between Shrek, Fiona and her parents, leaving Shrek to try to please the people he cares about. ‘Shrek the Third’ is about seeking to find a king for the throne of Far Far Away, while the villains have a revolution on the city, and Shrek worrying about becoming a father. There’s just too much too focus on, with most not getting the screen time to explore. And I forgot to mention a wizard named Merlin, but he is only useful just to get our heroes home… that’s about it. The film shows promise, but fails in its execution of the film’s story.
Meanwhile, the humour in this film isn’t consistent as the first two films, while on the other hand, the film does have its moments of chuckles and a few laughs to be shared, but mostly feels like a sitcom, trying to make jokes just for the sake of having jokes. The film tries to have heart and emotion, but try to be a joke at the same time, and just doesn’t work at all, e.g. Fiona’s frog father, Shrek and Arties stories about their fathers.
‘Shrek the Third’ tries and shows promise of brilliance, but ends up as a disappointment as the story is mediocre and the film isn’t consistently funny or emotionally satisfying.