In which I damn “Shrek Forever After”…Posted: July 18, 2010
Abberation: Deviation from the ordinary or normal type of any natural production; abnormal structure or development (as per OED).
Sweet popcorn is an aberration. Popped corn, melted butter, a sprinkling of icing sugar—maybe some cinnamon if you are feeling particularly American. We don’t have this disgustingness in Ireland—no saccharine popcorn for us, thanks, we’re sweet enough.
Shrek Forever After…or Shrek 4, Forever After Known as the One That Shouldn’t Have Been Made* is not an aberration. Or, more accurately, it was not the aberration I was hoping for. It was merely a passable kids movie. It is decent, funny-ish…and if you can’t tell yet I am damning it with faint praise.
The whole thing was very disappointing because Shrek 1 and 2 (no snappy names here) were a complete joy—funny, sly and hammered home an important message (ugly people can be happy too…) without being preachy.
Not so for Forever After. In the most hamfisted way possible the main subtext of the movie’s storyline is the inability of men to deal with family life. Shrek is blissfully happy as father to three wee ogres, husband to the feisty Fiona and best friend to the terminally enthusiastic Donkey. For about a day. Then, poor little fella, he gets bored. Family life has changed him, he isn’t feared and respected any more. He is no longer King Of His Castle*. It gave me a pain to be honest…as if women don’t get sick of daily life? As if women don’t feel like their previous role in life has changed irreparably after childbirth? And there are millions upon millions of men out there who adore family life. Not all men are feckless gadabouts who mourn the death of their single days (I know, I know, it came as a shock to me too).
So yeah, Shrek goes all Faustian, meanders through a few things and soon Learns The Error of His Ways and All Was Well In The World*. In other news, Puss did the big-eyed thing, the Gingerbread man perished in an amusing fashion, and Donkey sang another song and canoodled with a giant dragon. That’s about it.
On another note, I went to the 2D showing. I chose 2D for a variety of unexciting reasons: I arrived 5 minutes before it started; the 3D one was 15 minutes later; it was before payday (PAYDAY as it is in my head) and 3D is relatively expensive; there were a pile of screaming (not really, but there’s always the possibility) brats who appeared to be gearing up for the 3D showing. I am sure this made no difference to the movie itself, or the frankly offensive subplot inherent in the movie, so this review is still valid, right?
* Please note, I fecking hate Significant Caps so when I include them here it denotes a point of extreme sarcasm or a particularly hamfisted attempt by the filmmakers to thrust their point home.