Directed By Chris Miller
Starring Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas, cameron Diaz
I actually enjoyed the first Shrek film. It was a simultaneous spoof of and an homage to classic fairy tales. The second film was a safe sequel featuring more of the same as the first, more pop culture references and more fairly tale spoofing. The third film is proof that this concept as it was birthed in the first film doesn’t have legs.
The three films show a really clichéd type of character development that we’ve seen in hundreds of movies before it, and often done better. In the first film Shrek finally became comfortable with who he was and so did his girl, In the third film they started a life together and of course the third film is all about having babies. As expected Shrek is all nervous about having babies and he really doesn’t want to take that step. Due to the situation he is put in during the film he msut act like a father a few times and he realizes that he not only likes being a dad but he is also good at it. There’s not one thing surprising about this story.
So, with that said this is a family film, with a slant to the younger set, so maybe a basic plot to tie together some gags to make everyone laugh is ok. If that’s the case, then I hate to tell you that the film falls flat in this department too. I was actually bored for most of the running time. There are a few laughs to be had but they way to few and far between. You know I think one of the issues is just how much these films rely on pop culture references. These references are funny for a brief moment in time then they fade away. Watch the first film again now so many years alter and you’ll see what I mean.
When Fiona’s father dies Shrek learns that he is next in line for the throne, something he really doesn’t want. When he learns there’s another potential heir Shrek, Donley, and Puss -n- Boots set out on another adventure to find him. It turns out the heir is an awkward teen named Artie, hence the evolution of Shrek in the fatherly role. All the cast of characters you know from the first to films are back including Prince Charming who wants to retake the kingdom, this time with the help fo some really familiar fairy tale villains.
The CGI looks fantastic here and I think kids will still enjoy it but adults will get bored quick.
The 1080/VC-1 widescreen presentation here is nothing short of stunning. Everything is amazingly crisp and detail levels are some of the best I’ve seen. Check out the horses mane for example. Colors are vivid and black levels are spot on. This is as near perfect a Blu-Ray as I’ve seen visually.
The video presentation here is identical looking to the HD-DVD release but the audio gets redone here and massively improved. The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 here is a step above any previous version of this film. Surround sound usage is almost nonstop throughout this film. The sounds don’t feel tacked on either. They do a fantastic job of immersing the viewer into the the Shrek world. Dyanmic range is strong with only a minor complaint about the slight lack of bass. There is bass in this film but it’s the weakest link in the chain. Dialogue, score, and sound effects are crystal clear and very well mixed.
Packaging and Bonus Features
The single Blu-Ray comes in a standard slim Blu-Ray case with the same artwork as the standard def DVD. The artwork features the same bright colors and energy as the film so it satisfies in its representation of the content.
Once you get to the bonus features you find yourself disappointed, I did. Technically this film is stunning so I wanted to see some deep behind the scenes stuff on the making of the film. What we get is all pretty surface-y stuff. Here’s the featurettes:
Meet the Cast is a brief series of talking head interviews with the cast all talking about their work on the film.
Shrek Tech is a 10 minute look at the animation done for the film. The featurette is mostly just a series of shots of the characters at various stages of creation.
Lost Scenes is interesting if misleading with this title. These aren’t deleted scenes they are scenes assembled for pitch meetings for the film. There are no voice recordings and the “scenes” are essentially just assembled from pencil sketches.
Big Green Goofs is a really short set of scripted gags rendered in a more basic version of the CGI from the movie. Sense it was planned it all feels forced.
Shrek’s Guide to Parenthood is the least interesting featurette on the disc. This featurette is made up of four 1 minute clips of side characters giving Shrek very bad parenting advice.
Donkey Dance is another waste of space on the disc. It’s about a minute of Donkey dancing to the 80’s tune “Safety Dance”.
Merlin’s Magic Crystal Ball is basically just a magic 8 ball where kids can ask a yes or no question and hit enter get on of a short list of responses. I don’t know, maybe kids could like it for a minute or two.
Learn the Donkey Dance is short instructional video for kids to learn how to do the Donkey Dance. Very unnecessary considering how short the dance video is.
How to be Green is a brief featurette informing kids on what they can do to fihgt global warming. Meh at best.
My Menus allows you to choose from a set of templates based on characters from the movie. Just feels like a bullet point on the box to me.
All of the above featurettes are also available on the standard def edition of the film. Fortunately Dreamworks decided to truly support the Blu-Ray format by providing some exclusive additional extras:
The Animators Corner presents the entire film in storyboard form. It’s sort of neat for a few minutes but there’s no way I could watch the entire film again in this format.
Paramount did a fantastic job with the web enabled capabilities of The Transformers. What we get for this release isn’t as good, but I’m happy to see they are continuing to support the web capabilities of the players.
The World of Shrek is a database of bio information for the characters from the film and the actors that voiced them. Paramount says they will update the actor bios to keep them current.
Shrek’s Trivia Track is a pop up video style layer for the film that provides basic trivia about the franchise. It works well and is easier to read than most similar tracks I’ve seen on other discs.
If you saw the above list on the back of the box you probably thought, “wow there’s a ton of stuff on this disc” and I think that was the point. It’s shame that most of what’s here is just not that good.
This film did not do a good job of appealing to both kids and adults the way the first film did. Young kids may overlook the weak story in favor of the great animation and some of the sillier moments so for them it still may be worth a look. If you want a demo disc for your Blu-Ray player and HDTV Shrek The Third would do nicely in that department too.
Overall (Not an Average) 6.5/10
The Movie 4/10
The Video 10/10
The Audio 9/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 4/10
Overall (Not an Average) 6.5/10