Shrek and Fiona are knee-deep in marriage these days, with Shrek filling his ailing father-in-law’s ceremonial duties as king of Far, Far Away land. When his heinous croaks (hey, he’s a frog, I get one bad pun), Shrek, Donkey, and crew, head off to find the only heir that gets Shrek out of becoming king. Meanwhile, the evil Prince Charming is rounding up all of the characters doomed to be the bad guys of fairy tales to rebel.
If this seems a bit complicated for the apparent intended audience of the big green guy, I think so too. Worse, the humor almost always relies on pun and inuendo way over the heads of any one under 10 or 11, and wasn’t all that funny the third time around for the rest of us.
I’ll admit fairy tales weren’t a huge part of my life as the youngest of four boys, but they just had to reach too far for new jokes. Sleeping Beauty, Goldy Locks, and a transvestite-looking chick that I still don’t get were part of Fiona’s buds that end up having to fight off Charming, and the predictability runs rampant. Donkey, voiced by Eddie Murphy, had a somewhat reduced role, which wasn’t helping things, either.
A strange side note for me was how much Charming and the King’s long lost relative looked alike. It was so obvious I thought for sure something would come of it, but it was never even mentioned. I guess coming up with what would have been only the third or fourth original looking character was too much to ask.
Sadly, the best part was the postscript to the story in which Fiona has given birth to several little Shreks. A few classic dad-taking-care-of-baby jokes were the best laughs of the night. I only say “sadly” because Shrek 4 seemed to be guaranteed in those final minutes.
The original Shrek was solid, but that was all I ever needed to see. Talk of an ongoing franchise should frieghten movie goers and young parents alike. Shrek the Third just wasn’t that good.