Shrek Forever After [Blu-Ray] Mike Mitchell

Shrek Forever After [Blu-Ray] Mike Mitchell
It's been nearly a decade since the original Shrek hit theatres, delighting children and adults alike with its acerbic, referential nature, infusing buzz words and quotes about waffles and parfaits into the general pop culture lexicon, making it the "oh, you have to see it to fit in!" title of the year. But because this brand of children's storytelling became so ubiquitous, generating dozens of facile imitators, it quickly burned out, overstaying its welcome, as Shrek the Third learned from its cool critical reception. This supposed final chapter is aware of this and attempts to meld the original Shrek style with the deeper thematic soul of the modern Pixar films. This time, the titular green ogre (voiced by Mike Myers) is seemingly living happily ever after with wife Fiona (Cameron Diaz), raising three children and living harmoniously with the villagers in an ersatz fairy tale version of suburbia. Inevitably, middle-aged anxieties kick in when Shrek starts idealizing his youth, frustrated with the mundane nature of the quotidian, leaving him primed for manipulation by the conniving Rumpelstiltskin (Walt Dohrn). Thrust into a world where he and Fiona never met, our surly protagonist learns of a tyrannical dictatorship that has overthrown the kingdom, leaving Donkey (Eddie Murphy) a slave and Shrek's wife (now a stranger) leading an underground revolution of ogres. It's all just an elaborate edification ritual, telling men to appreciate what they have, lest culture disintegrate with the death of the idealized nuclear family. Because the humour is subdued and generalized, leaving gags about reality television and popular advertising on the backburner, and the aforementioned Pixar existential vein is somewhat superficial, there is a straight-to-DVD sequel feeling to the entire production. Shrek Forever After reminds us of the freshness and excitement of the first two films while itself feeling stale and unnecessary. Fortunately, the Blu-Ray comes with an absurd amount of supplemental material, including "Donkey's Christmas Shrektacular," which is a horrifying karaoke-style short with crappy songs and a lot of Eddie Murphy singing, along with an actual Shrek Yule log that really is just the image of a burning piece of wood, with the occasional walk by of a character from the film. The commentary track and "Animators' Corner" supplements are the same, only with the latter feature being displayed on screen while the creators sit awkwardly on stools. Deleted scenes, technical discussions, cast interviews, Shrek secrets and a discussion about filmmaking intentions are also included in mini-featurette form. (Paramount)