While it occasionally provides good laughs, this fourth “Shrek,” like its main ogre, is confused and way beyond its prime.
For its long-time followers, “Shrek Forever After” is passable entertainment. It is for those who grew up with the franchise and not the type that could easily add new toddler fans. In any case, the “Shrek” brand still works for the DVD and Blu-ray market with a potentially good spot for top home video sales charts.
“Shrek Forever After” begins so mediocre. It takes the narrative a deadly long time to kick in for the laughs. For this final animated flick of the successful franchise, the “Shrek” music magic doesn’t work like it used to. It is not as good as the first two. The musical numbers can’t forcefully bring folks to dance around or even sing along like it used to — ironically not living up to the power of its bounty hunter piper. Its expected use of pop standards is mostly a bore amidst the existing appeal of its celebrated characters. The rehashed cash-cow elements are already tiring.
As the story progresses, the ogre heart of the green fellow and the rest of the popular fairy-tale guys keep some spark through a few moments of good comedy using the old “Shrek” formula. While its novelty may have worn off, it knows how to make good use of its tickle points which still manage to lift up some needed charm. Its social commentary aspect about midlife crisis, obesity, and the routinely frustrations of daily life has well-established mainstream presentations. As an animated portrait of adult and family life, it seems more geared towards the older folks than the kids. This is where it somehow recovers. Its straightforward take for its social issues comes around convincingly enough for its target market. Through it, somehow, the big green guy and the whole gang manage to make this flick something to watch with a popcorn.
The voice performances and technical details mainly carry out this fourth installment. These elements tend to keep the “Shrek” charm alive. It is actually a little better than “Shrek the Third,” at the least.
Its 3D show-offs compensate a bit too much at the expense of its storytelling. From the flying to the falling scenes, more often than not, the scenes exude some forced nature on them.
While it tries a little too hard, this final chapter is still mildly entertaining, especially when infusing the pleasant nostalgia of the movie experience of its good old past.