Shrek the Third

It Ain’t Easy Being Green

The March of the Sequels continues in the month of May with another installment of that lovable Ogre voiced by Fat Bastard, er, Mike Myers. Yep, Shrek the Third continues the story of the Big Green and his Ogre-iffic wife Fiona (Cameron Diaz), sidekick Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and his sidekick Puss In Boots (Antonio Banderas). Will this motley crew be able to ward off the evil Prince Charming (Rupert Everett) and his newly-made army of villainous cohorts? The bigger question is will we laugh in the process? The Shrek series is getting a bit long in the tooth, and Shrek the Third is only a mildly amusing entry in the trilogy.

While Shrek has inherited the kingdom of Far Far Away, he doesn’t want to rule it. He just wants his life back in the swamp with his family. Matters become more pressing when the king dies, but Shrek sees a way out when he discovers distant relative Arthur (Justin Timberlake) and attempts to bring him home. While away, evil Prince Charming is plotting to take over Far Far Away and kill Shrek in front of the entire kingdom. Sounds funny, eh?

To be fair, Shrek the Third is kind of humorous. It sticks to the basic formula of mixing slapstick with referential humor (the school Arthur attends is at “Worcestershire”), only doesn’t hit as often as its predecessors. For a movie like this to crossover, the adults have to enjoy it as much as the kids, and it doesn’t work as much on this level. There are funny bits (especially toward the end as the good guys repel the invasion), but as a whole I found myself snickering when I should have been laughing.

No fault can be found in the voice talent, who fit right into these roles like a comfortable glove. Myers is great as big lug Shrek, hitting the perfect tone and Scottish accent. Eddie Murphy also works well as the hyperactive Donkey, and even the unrecognizable Timberlake carries his weight. Eric Idle also has a nice supporting part as the wacky wizard Merlin, the retired (and retarded) magic teacher.

Shrek the Third really just sticks to the formula created previously, and doesn’t deviate much. It succeeds on the level that it’s faithful to the first two movies, but fails in that it doesn’t take on a life of it’s own. It’s sort of feels like a deleted scenes reel: sometimes funny, but not really necessary.