Shrek The Third (U)



Family (2006)
92mins US

Starring: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas, Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake, Rupert Everett
Director: Chris Miller
Writer(s): Jeffrey Price, Peter S Seaman, Chris Miller, Aron Warner
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

When King Harold, the ruler of Far Far Away, dies suddenly, the realm cries out for a new ruler. Prince Charming schemes to claim the throne but Shrek has other plans, embarking on a quest to track down the rightful heir, Fiona's teenage cousin Prince Artie. Loyal sidekicks Donkey and Puss In Boots return for more comical misadventures.

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LondonNet Film Review
Shrek The Third

The annual epidemic of sequelitis continues to sweep multiplexes...

Princess Fiona (CAMERON DIAZ, center) is joined by (left to right) obsessive-compulsive Cinderella (AMY SEDARIS), prissy-but-sarcastic Snow White (AMY POEHLER), opinionated Rapunzel (MAYA RUDOLPH), and narcoleptic Sleeping Beauty (CHERI OTERI) in DreamWorks SHREK THE THIRD. Photo Credit: DreamWorks Animation LLC. Shrek the Third TM &  2007 DreamWorks Animation LLC. All Rights Reserved.No sooner have we recovered from nasty bouts of Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End and Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer then along comes the third computer animated adventure of the jolly green ogre.

Chris Miller's colourful tale of paternal angst is lazy and, in the middle act, dull enough to send parents and youngsters off to the land of nod. Sight gags seem to have been recycled from earlier films - customers milling about in the Versarchery store on the Far Far Away high street - with a smattering of pop culture references including The Sound Of Music, Chorus Line and The Six Million Dollar Man.

Donkey (EDDIE MURPHY) and Puss In Boots (ANTONIO BANDERAS) are Shrek's stalwart companions in DreamWorks SHREK THE THIRD. Photo Credit: DreamWorks Animation. LLC. Shrek the Third TM &  2007 DreamWorks Animation LLC. All Rights Reserved.The quality of the animation has improved in leaps and bounds: facial detail, such as wrinkles in Shrek's face when he winces, or the movement of Fiona's dress blur the boundaries between reality and imagination. However, there is a noticeable lack of breathtaking, jaw-dropping set pieces and even the film's best sequence - Donkey and Puss In Boots swapping bodies after one of Merlin's spells goes awry - feels drawn out.

When King Harold (voiced by John Cleese), the beloved ruler of Far Far Away, passes away, the realm cries out for a new ruler. The King and his wife, Queen Lillian (Julie Andrews), intend for Shrek (Mike Myers) and Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) to rule, but Shrek is unsure that the loyal subjects would take kindly to an ogre on the throne. So the rotund hero and loyal sidekicks Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and Puss In Boots (Antonio Banderas) embark on an odyssey to track down the rightful heir, Fiona's teenage cousin Prince Artie (Justin Timberlake).

Shrek (MIKE MYERS) provides instruction in seamanship to Fiona's 16-year-old underachiever cousin Artie (JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE) otherwise known as Arthur Pendragon, a student at the Worcestershire Academy who is tapped for a royal position in Far Far Away in DreamWorks' SHREK THE THIRD. Photo Credit: DreamWorks Animation LLC. Shrek the Third TM &  2007 DreamWorks Animation LLC. All Rights Reserved.Back in Far Far Away, Fiona prepares for the birth of her first children, surrounded by a gaggle of broody admirers: Cinderella (Amy Sedaris), Rapunzel (Maya Rudolph), Sleeping Beauty (Cheri Oteri) and Snow White (Amy Poehler). Meanwhile, calculating and vain Prince Charming (Rupert Everett) schemes to claim the crown for himself, aided and abetted by nefarious storybook characters including Captain Hook (Ian McShane) and wicked stepmothers and witches.

With Shrek The Third, the series has clearly run out of ideas. The eponymous ogre and his wife are the least interesting characters in the film. Apart from a dream - or rather nightmare - sequence in which Shrek imagines his hovel overrun by cute, vomit-spewing babies, he and Fiona would almost be surplus to requirements. Donkey and Puss steal all of the laughs, the few there are, while Eric Idle is squandered as Merlin, who Artie confides "was the school's magic teacher until he had a nervous breakdown." Timberlake's vocal performance as the high school nerd who would be king is lifeless, but Sedaris, Rudolph, Oteri and Poehler have fun as the catty, bickering quartet at odds with their beatific reputations. Shrek, Fiona and co. get their happy ending, but for audiences, Miller's film falls well short of the greatest fairy-tale never told.

- Jo Planter

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