Sunday, November 04, 2007

Shrek 3

(movie review)

Continuing my journey through this summer's blockbusters as they come out on video. (Because I live out in the Japanese countryside, I don't really have access to a cinema).

It has become cliche to refer to these movies as kids movies with adult humor (not only the Shrek series but the Pixar movies as well, and to a certain extent the whole recent animation boom).

Much of this adult humor consists of sneaking in obscure cultural references or sexual innuendos that the kids won't get, and then laughing about how we pulled on over on them. "It's a kids movie, but they won't get that sexual reference until they're much older. Ha, ha, ha."

The Shrek movies definitely dip into this well, but fortunately they also rise above it. Certainly their very premise, a satire on fairy tales, gives them plenty of material to draw on, and is part of the reason they're still going strong on the 3rd movie.

By the 3rd movie there are a lot of characters being juggled around in this franchise. I'm not saying that's a bad thing (I come from a comic book/ Star Trek background, so character continuity is one of the things I look out for) but it had been about 3 years since I saw the last Shrek movie, so I had a hard time remembering who everyone was. I was still able to follow the plot of the movie, but I ended up making a second trip back to the video store to rent Shrek 1 and 2 just so I could remember who came from where. Already at the start of Shrek 3 we have an ogre princess with a human mom and a frog dad, a donkey married to a dragon with several flying donkey kids, several princesses and one ugly stepsister (who has apparently gone over and joined the good guys), et cetera. If none of this makes any sense to you, you'd better go back and rent the first two movies again before watching this one.

As a Monty Python fan, this film got extra points with me because of both John Cleese and Eric Idle. John Cleese only had one brief scene, but Eric Idle really got to ham it up as the character Merlin.

I thought the scenes in the medieval high school were hilarious, and my only complaint was that it was too short. I would have loved to see more of the Shrek satire on high school life.

All this being said, I did find myself getting a little restless as the film went on. The fault is probably my own ruined attention span, but I would have definitely preferred something a little more fast paced. Near the end I was even doing some cleaning while watching the film in the back ground to keep myself from getting totally bored. Like a lot of comedies, this film has some funny high points, but it doesn't stay on a high note the whole time, and it's the in between moments that the film has trouble sustaining. And there are a few too many heart to heart talks and character growth moments for my taste, but I guess that's what you get when you rent a children's movie.

Link of the Day
'U.S. Resisting Ban on Cluster Bombs'

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