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‘Shrek the Third’ Film Review: The slapstick third

While it offers nothing new on the table, this third movie of the “Shrek” franchise compensates with its laid-back familiarity and comedy.

The Shrek Franchise

The best thing about the “Shrek” movies is that you are offered a patented comic blend of fairy tale tradition and pop-culture references. These recreate a comic flavor and moral implications for its wide commercial range of movie viewers. The franchise’s main charm is its organic ability to mix fairy tale sweetness and pop-culture tradition with a horde of fun personalities and a lovable green ogre on the forefront. In its world of fanciful fable, its clever originality has already brought genuine thrills and belly laughs to the world of animated films.

With the vibrant characters as original as “Shrek,” it takes advantage of the fairy tales known many generations. As the “Shrek” movies already made a pretty good fan base, it somehow becomes complacent in providing more quality installments (branding now comes before quality).

Shrek the Third

The “Shrek” franchise comes up with its third installment quite inferior to the first two. “Shrek the Third” tries to do its best to bring out some laugh-inducing slapstick from the can. At least, it has the very humor that “Shrek” fans have come to expect. The jokes and comic pacing are nearly constant, with enough silliness for its type of comedy.

It may be tough to keep up with the pressure after offering two delicious treats in a row. “Shrek the Third” isn’t as smart as the first two; but it still brings some big laughs in. With its fun fairy tale, pop references, and the satirical situations, it still works as a light comedy offer. While it offers nothing new on the table, this sequel compensates with its laid-back familiarity and comedy for its fans.

Being a cash cow that it is, this movie still gives a dose of laughter while keeping up with its high-end computer animation. The corporate mind is very much apparent in its overall package. However, this playful fable filled with vivid fairy tale characters and pop-culture fun still engages its tale with some moral lessons for the kids and some light streaks of feminism on the side. It tries to give enough “Shrek-ish” ingredients for its all-ages audience: a joke for the kids, for the teens, and for the parents (jokes about parenthood, high school, girl power, among others).

Directors Chris Miller and Raman Hui make a collection of riffs and gags to spoof a number of movies, myths, and pop icons. The treatment generally chooses gags over character. It generally works for its level amidst some classic cartoon non-sense parts and obviously calculated jokes, probably due to the zestfully conceived slapstick that puts heart to the details and impress the most number of “Hollywood babies.” The fine supporting character moments help it soar a little more in the laughter department. Moreover, with the inclusion of satirical and moral undertones including the parallel threats of kingship and parenthood, the stinking but pure-hearted ogre radiantly renders a fairy tale world of wonders. The spoofs of a number of blockbuster hits old and new add up to the light and fun entertainment: “Titanic,” “Superman,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Harry Potter,” “King Arthur,” “LOTR,” “Peter Pan,” “Spiderman,” and many others.

The green swamp creature, along with the rest of the characters, still has a charm that quite engages. The star voices for this third outing live up to their trademark animated roles: Mike Myers as Shrek, Eddie Murphy as Donkey, Cameron Diaz as Princess Fiona, Antonio Banderas as Puss In Boots, Julie Andrews as Queen Lillian, John Cleese as King Harold, Rupert Everett as Prince Charming, Justin Timberlake as Artie/Arthur, and the rest of the comic characters. All of them deliver for the fun times.

“Shrek the Third” manages to package its predictable elements without losing its primary appeal. Its signature blend of realism and fantasy shows that the formula still works; maybe not as well as the first two, but it sure brings in more money to the franchise, like the first two. It has hit-and-miss moments, but this popular fairy tale spoof offers good enough laughs. It keeps a bankable bearing both for the big screen and for home video sales.

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Rianne Hill Soriano
Rianne is a director, writer, educator, and consultant in film and commercial productions. From mainstream essentials to independent flair, she knows the drill in making entertaining and well-meaning productions. She can lead a pack passionate about extreme action and technological edge; she can breathe an endearing and sentimental style for a team with a sweet disposition.

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