HOLLYWOOD —With Eddie Murphy, Mike Meyers, Dame Julie Andrews, Antonio Banderas and Cameron Diaz rounding out the top players, “Shrek Ever After” concludes a bit lackluster and not on the high note I was expecting. Director Mike Mitchell has 3-D to help sell a film that wasn’t visually as fascinating as “Alice in Wonderland.” Maybe fans should just save their money and see it on the regular screen. A film that children and even their parents once flocked to the theaters in droves to see, is not as exciting this time around. A newly bored and domesticated Shrek pacts with deal-maker Rumpelstiltskin to get back to feeling like a real ogre again, but he’s duped and sent to a twisted version of Far Far Away where Rumpelstiltskin is king, ogres are hunted, and he and Fiona have never met. He sets out to restore his world and reclaim his true love.
Eddie Murphy as the Donkey still remains my favorite character. Though Murphy would love to be considered a serious dramatic actor, his diction and delivery in comedy is perfect, and in this film, his timing is impeccable. Mike Meyers mastered the role of Shrek from the very first film and this time around he’s still hilarious while Cameron Diaz is truly sublime as Princess Fiona. Banderas as Puss in Boots is also quite funny though he does something quite unique with his Spanish accent that some fans won’t catch, but it makes him stand out and basically steal so many scenes in the film.
Julie Andrews as the Queen is amazing. She’s got the British demeanor down to a science, even if it’s only by her voice in this picture. The film, however, lacks the ability to keep a grownup’s imagination or attention. Parents will enjoy being able to take their kids to a “Shrek” film knowing that it’s family-friendly and not filled with bad language and sex or violence, but perhaps they would rather stay outside the theater this time because by the last 20 minutes only children will be paying attention. The storyline is a bit slow to start, which the previous films were not, and the pace of the film doesn’t seem quite succinct. Maybe it’s just me, that I’ve grown up a bit too much for Shrek? Whatever it is, it’s a good film for kids, but not great.
“Shrek Forever After” gets Three of Five Stars. It opens on Friday, May 21, in theaters around the nation.