Far too many animated features divide the world into heroes and villains, winners and losers. Our culture proclaims this travesty of human separation in a million ways but it is especially egregious in movies made for children. The Shrek franchise does just the opposite with a lead character who is an ogre with a heart as big as his body. He does not divide the world but tries to bring out the best in everybody. Although Shrek the Third is not as funny or entertaining as the two previous films, it does deliver a few laughs, colorful characters, and a whimsical view of the world of fairy tales.
In the opening scenes of the story, Shrek (voiced by Mike Myers) valiantly tries to cope with the royal obligations in Far Far Away but knows that he wasn't cut out for such things. Just before he dies, the Frog King (John Cleese) reveals that there is another possible heir to the throne. Shrek and his two loyal buddies, Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas), head off on a quest to locate this fellow. Just before leaving, Shrek learns that his wife, Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz), is pregnant. Not only is Shrek reluctant to become king, he has nightmares about becoming a father!
His mission seems to be accomplished when he locates Artie (Justin Timberlake) at a medieval school where he is viewed as a loser by his classmates. At first the teenager is excited about the prospect of being a king but then he worries about whether he will be up to the challenge. Thanks to the magical ministrations of Merlin (Eric Idle), the four travelers are able to return to Far Far Away just in time to square off against Prince Charming (Rupert Everett) who has come up with a dastardly plan to become king and get rid of Shrek. His allies include fairy tale characters (Captain Hook, Cyclops, the Evil Queen, the Wicked Stepsisters, and others). He's convinced them that it's time for them to stand up and resist always being cast as the villains in the story. But once they get into the castle, they seem to revert to type. Prince Charming captures Princess Fiona and her ladies in waiting (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and Rapunzel) and puts them in prison. Can Shrek and his pals rewrite the expected ending?
Shrek is an admirable hero who brings out the best in everyone he meets. He has no illusions of grandeur and cannot wait to return to his swampy home and settle down to a life of simple pleasures. He revels in the love of his wife and the delights of his friends. Three cheers for Shrek who, as Artie points out, has bad b.o., but as we all see by the end, definitely has his heart in the right place.
Special DVD features include: additional scenes: 1. "The Fauxly Grail," 2. "Hot Lunch," and 3. "Cyrano De Artie"; an audio commentary cast; a featurette "Tech of Shrek 3"; music videos: 1. "Dancing Babies" and 2. "Donkey Dance"; and games: 1. "Learn The Donkey Dance" and 2."How To Be Green."