Shrek Forever After

Shrek Forever After premiered Wednesday night at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. Does DreamWorks Animation have another critical hit on their hands like How To Train Your Dragon and Kung Fu Panda, or is this just another lackluster pop-culture-joke-filled Shrek sequel, one final money grab? We take a look at the early reviews, after the jump.

The Hollywood Reporter: “You know that a film franchise is beginning to tire when its central character is in the throes of a midlife crisis.” … “Josh Klausner and Darren Lemke’s screenplay creates some fun with the personality and visual changes the familiar characters have undergone, but as with so many sequels to sequels, “Shrek Forever After” has lost much of the simple charm, humor and heart that marked its predecessors. No doubt looking to exploit the sensory stimulation offered by 3D, the filmmakers have ramped up the action” … “The 3D effects are undeniably impressive, but like many other examples of this increasingly popular form, some of the visual quality is sacrificed with the inevitable image darkening. The fact that much of the story is set in a literally bleaker landscape doesn’t help matters.”

Variety: “When fantasy figures start having midlife crises and their animated franchises start having late-life crises, it’s time to lower the wobbly green tentpole — something few are likely to object to after “Shrek Forever After.” The reputed swan song for the series and its first entry in 3D, pic contains a respectable number of laughs, but also borrows its storyline from the oft-recycled “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and if that’s all its creators can do, it’s best to put Far Far Away far far away. A strong brand means strong initial B.O., but word of mouth likely won’t make for a fairy-tale ending.” … “To its credit, though, “Shrek Forever After” (scripted by Josh Klausner and Darren Lemke) continues the series’ tradition of embellishing its central story with a plethora of sight gags, snarky little asides rooted in fairy-tale revisionism and terrific vocal performances by Murphy and Banderas. They’re both hilarious, even in their slightly altered states in the parallel non-Shrek universe.”

indieWIRE’s ScreenRush: “Each Shrek movie, including the new fourth entry Shrek Forever After, works overtime as both self-reflexive fairy tale and energetic, fast-paced action spectacle. Forever After, which opened the Tribeca Film Festival on Wednesday, might just be the best of the bunch: A breezy sense of fun dominates the story from start to finish, and it never lags. The opening sequence, in which Shrek grows tired of his redundant family life, recalls the speediness of the introductory montage in Pixar’s Up.”  …  “Forever After may lift its theme of fantasy-set suburban discontent from The Incredibles, but it mainly pilfers from its own background. Fortunately, that background is persistently funny. And now in 3-D!”

Cinematical: “This summer we’re promised “the final chapter” in Shrek Forever After, and while Part 4 is certainly an improvement over its predecessor … well, I guess I should stop expecting these sequels to recapture the magic of the original Shrek. The filmmakers certainly don’t seem to think it’s a priority. For some bizarre reason, the Shrek Forever After screenwriters thought that the best way to end this monumentally popular series would be to deliver … the It’s a Wonderful Life concept. Employed countless times in sitcoms and cartoons.” … “unfortunately Shrek Forever After plays to the little kids than to anyone else (whereas the original Shrek was geared for young and old alike).” … “As is often the case, Shrek’s supporting characters get all the best material”

Bloomberg: “The series has thrived on great banter, which continues here, and on the charms of playfully distorting familiar fairy tales. “Forever After” darkly distorts Shrek’s world, which suggests the franchise is running out of juice. The films also crossed over well from a young audience to adults. Here, though, kids will face Shrek’s midlife crisis followed by enough angst and ogre aha moments to make a marriage counselor giddy. In fact, adults may find it icky too.” … “The 3-D is used with great effect for a dragon ride and a very Harry Potteresque flying-broom chase. Otherwise, it seems mostly to add depth to animation that already was beyond 2-D.”

Associated Press: “One thing hasn’t changed with “Shrek”: Puss in Boots still steals the show.” … “Shrek Forever After continues many of the familiar characteristics of the franchise — the pop song allusions, the fractured fairy-tale storytelling — but moviegoers can expect Puss in Boots to again be a memorable part of the experience.”

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