Cast: Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas, Justin Timberlake, Julie Andrews, John Cleese, Rupert Everett
Directors: Chris Miller, Raman Hui
Storyline: Shrek has to convince a reluctant high schooler to be King, after King Harold passes away.
Bottomline: A perfect hat-trick!
Not many movies make you want to be an animated character, just so that you could enter their world and be part of all the action. The Shrek franchise is now officially no more like a trip to the movies where a meaty plot is mandatory. It’s more like a party you go to catch up with old buddies. You end up having a good time anyway. You not only get to meet characters you have always liked, you meet some that you met last time around and some new admissions.
The anti-thesis to classic fairytale stereotypes, in its third installment, continues to be a celebration of the uncool. For the benefits of those who have never been to the party, this is the world where the ogre is the great guy and Prince Charming is actually the chap harming innocents.
A little similar to ‘Asterix and the Vikings’ plot-wise, Shrek 3, is about the journey Shrek (Mike Myers) makes along with Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) to convince Artie (Justin Timberlake joins the voice-cast), the butt of all jokes in high school, to be the King of Far, Far Away after Fiona’s father King Harold passes away. If it was Sean Austin as the metrosexual Justforkix playing reluctant warrior in ‘Asterix…’ here it is Justin Timberlake as Artie who seems to under-prepared for his new role as King. The boy has a confidence problem.
So, to the cue of feel-good music (the film surely knows to take a dig at itself), Shrek delivers the “You-know-who-you-really-are, who-cares-what-people-think” speech that has now become a tradition of the franchise, just to remind you about the core values the films stand for.
With that formality done, Shrek sets out to do some good old fairytale hero-bashing with all help from the bra-burning brigade of Fiona, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and Queen Lillian (doing a nice little Charlie’s Angels reprise), the underdogs Artie, Gingerbread Man and Pinocchio, and the regulars, Donkey and Puss in Boots.
To add to that motley, there’s the wizard Merlin who creates a little confusion between the rival “annoying talking animals,” the three little pigs, the big bad wolf, talking trees, blind mice, Mrs. Dragon Donkey and her kids (part Donkey, part dragon), Prince Charming, Rapunzel, sidekicks Captain Hook, Lancelot and Cyclops and a whole bunch of Artie’s high-school bullies and cheerleaders. Whoa!
In spite of this huge a cast, director Chris Miller (who had been a part of the story department of Shrek and had headed it in Shrek 2) seems to have no problem in harnessing the characters together with a clear-cut sense of purpose, as he mixes contemporary pop culture references with fairytale mythology to keep the punchlines coming in at regular intervals with an extended climax to accommodate everyone.
If the franchise continues getting bigger with every episode, with Shrek 4 announced and slated for 2010, we know what to expect. Less story. More fun.
Bring it on.