An early review of Shrek 3 is not good for the third installment of this animated fairy tale basher.Â I didn’t think the early preview I saw a few months back was that exciting myself.Â Here are some excerpts from Kirk Honeycutt’s review in the Hollywood Reporter.
Much of the bite and a good deal of the wit of the first two films are missing here. The rude send-up of beloved fairy tale conventions remains — somewhat — but these playful jabs no longer come as pleasing surprises. You expect them. And you expect better.
What “Shrek the Third” has evolved into is less a story film than a vaudeville show. Fittingly, it begins with a medieval version of dinner theater. It continues with pure slapstick between Shrek and bride Fiona (again Cameron Diaz) as they riotously disrupt a court ceremony while handicapped by stiff royal clothes. The film then proceeds with a jousting duel, a magic act, dancing, singing (deliberately bad), a drag queen, personal appearances by a host of fairy tale princesses — Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Rapunzel — and a bra burning before returning to another theatrical extravaganza.
The glue struggling to hold all this together is a quest by Shrek to find a new king of rule Far Far Away upon the death of his bride’s dad (John Cleese but only briefly). Shrek is next in line to the throne — guess Far Far Away doesn’t believe in a matriarchy — but he abhors the idea. He just wants to return to his hovel in the swamp.
So Shrek, Donkey and Puss in Books (Antonio Banderas) set sail in search of Fiona’s long-lost cousin Artie (newcomer Justin Timberlake). Prince Charming (Rupert Everett), jilted by Fiona for Shrek, seizes on his rival’s absence to instigate a coup d’etat. In the movie’s cleverest idea, he assembles all the “losers” from classic fairy tales — these would be Captain Hook, the Evil Queen, the Big Bad Wolf and the Headless Horseman among others — to assist him.
I loved the first two Shrek films and still hope the third one is better than the early reviews are claiming.Â Perhaps it is merely disheartening because Justin ‘the rat’ Timberlake voices the young prince.