Friday, August 10, 2007
The Cheap Critic: Shrek Third
If you are anything like me the first first question you asked yourself when you heard that they were doing a third installment of the Shrek saga was "How many films can they get out of this property before the wheels fall off?" Having seen the film now I can provide an answer: Exactly two.
The first film got its juice from snarky anti-Disney parody. The second film was done because there were things to be done with the characters above and beyond making fun of the Mouse. The third film was done because ... because, ... well, because they just decided to do a third film.
It's a bit of a pity, actually. Dreamworks has all of the stuff on hand to make a top notch film: A good cast that was familiar with their characters and turning in uniformly good performances; An established franchise so that less of the film must be spent on exposition and the action can start right away; a team of animators doing the best work of their careers, work that rivals Pixar for technical excellence; good art direction ... and stacks of money to spend. You could tell that everyone took a turn cranking the handle of the magic machine... but the dang thing just wouldn't kick over.
Shrek 3 is dull, lifeless, over-produced and under-funny. This isn't to say I didn't laugh at all: case in point is in a sequence where the baby ogres are playing with the baby dragon-donkeys. A dragon-donkey sneeze ignites a baby ogre fart and hilarity ensues. Not particularly high-brow humor but nicely done and funny. It's in the final sequence right before the end credits roll and it was the first laugh in the film for me.