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Shrek the Third

Voiced by Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and Antonio Banderas; Rupert Everett, Julie Andrews and John Cleese; Eric Idle, John Krasinski, Justin Timberlake, Ian McShane, Amy Sedaris, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Regis Philbin

Screenplay by Jeffrey Price Peter S. Seaman and Howard Gould; story by Andrew Adamson
Based on book by William Steig
Directed by Chris Miller and Raman Hui

Before we get to the review, people, really, please (pretty please with sugar on top and all that stuff) do not bring any kid under three to a movie theater. We don't care what movie it is . . . If you can't keep 'em still at home or, as ridiculous as it may read, if they can't keep number two inside (and we don't mean inside a diaper) why do you think it's a good thing to take 'em to a theater? If not for you, think of the other grownups -- in this case an animation fiend like Cranky who had to watch Shrek the Third twice because of interruptions from squawling babes and parents needing to take wee ones out to the changing table. Sheesh. I love babies and kidlets but come on people, hire a baby sitter! Or just wait for video (sorry to my friends at the studio but we're talking reality), which should be out be year's end. Okay. Onwards . . .

IN SHORT: A wee bit of slippage from the first two, but still a very enjoyable sit. [Rated PG for some crude humor, suggestive content and swashbuckling action. minutes]

Yeah, we know it's policy not to compare to Source Material but, the older we get, the more we bend to the fact that certain franchises do't necessarily need that caveat. Shrek falls into that situation and the third edition opens up its world to even more characters out of the Brothers Grimm and the medieval world of Camelot.

Shrek (Mike Myers) Donkey (Eddie Murphy) Puss 'n Boots (Antonio Banderas)

plus Merlin (Eric Idle) Lancelot (John Krasinski)

His majesty, frog King Harold (John Cleese), having croaked his last, the royal crown falls, by way of marriage to the lovely Princess Fiona, upon Shrek. Shrek wants nothing of it. He really wants to return to his comfy home in the swamp and the only way to attain that goal is to find another person to run the kingdom of Far Far Away. Shrek and Co go on a quest -- quests are always good things -- to find the most upright male king to be. As our hero sets sail, his beloved Fiona yells out a reason for him to return in one piece -- she's pregnant! 'Bout time, too. Donkey and Dragon already have four of their own! See it and believe it.

The only candidate on Fiona's side of the royal line, the only side that counts actually, is good ol' cousin Artie Pendragon (Justin Timberlake), sixteen years old ; ignored by the thumpa-thumpa of his young heart, Gwen () and a ye olde punching bag for the bullies of Worcestershire, like Lancelot (). Guardian Merlin (Eric Idle) theoretically could be of some protection to the potential future King, but Merlin's up in the high-hundreds years wise and his magic twanger jus' don't hit the high notes no more..


and back in the kingdom, Prince Charming (Rupert Everett) is leading a cou d'etat, helped out by other "bad guys" like Captain Hook (Ian McShane) . Only Queen Lillian (Julie Andrews), Fiona and fellow fab femmes Sleeping Beauty (Cheri Oteri) Cinderella (Amy Sedaris) Snow White (Amy Poehler) Rapunzel (Maya Rudolph) plus less than fab but a good person anyhow, (formerly) evil Stepsister Doris (Larry King) to save the kingdom. Doris left sister Mabel behind to run the bar (Regis Philbin). That mandates at least one more Shrek movie. After all, there's one more evil stepsister to go

The script is funny but what's missing from this edition is the overkill of visual jokes that made v.2 such fun. Only one such play on words stuck to what passes for Cranky's mind (it starts with the letter "v") but the rest of the film is sorely lacking of gags.

Not only is this King to be no close to upright, all the fairy tales in the kingdom -- the ones who always get the short end of the stick -- an uprising to try and take over the whole shmear.

or something. we haven't even gotten near the magic spells or body swapping or any of the other outrageous stuff that makes Shrek fun. the writers go nuts. the characters make it work. The parents who brought their two year olds and babies into a crowded theater to see this great movie should be shot

I mean get real people, babies don't get it. They cry and they poop and they make watching movies in theaters absolutely unwatchable. Grow some brains!

For whatever rules apply to this Never Neverland which, of course, is a different country far far away, no check that, it's up up and away second star to the right and all ('cuz Krypton is to the left. No mixing fables in this review!).

Shrek and his bride Fiona prove similarly fertile in the new outing. With the death -- in a hilariously protracted scene -- of the Frog King (voiced by John Cleese), the crown of Far Far Away is Shrek's to refuse, and refuse it he must, given the oafishness with which he performs the most menial royal functions. "I am an ogre. I'm not cut out for this," he complains to his wife, unaware she's got a wee one growing in her belly.

Pic peaks with a resultant fatherhood nightmare in which panicked Shrek is engulfed in a flood of demanding ogre tykes from whom there can be no escape. But before he is forced to cope with fatherhood, Shrek must tend to the business of finding a replacement for himself on the throne.

Prime suspect in this line is Artie (Justin Timberlake), Fiona's half-brother, who lives in another land far far away reached by Shrek, Donkey and Puss in Boots after a lengthy sea voyage. Although the region is called Worcestershire, it bears more than a passing resemblance to the OC, given the American-accented layabouts who lard their speech with "like" and "whatever." What may have been the filmmakers' idea of an amusing gag in fact comes off as pandering to young Yank viewers.

Artie is a good-looking but dweeby outcast, the butt of fun for rival Lancelot's crew, and dismissive of Shrek's entreaties even as they travel together toward Far Far Away. Film itself is becalmed when their ship runs aground and the action is briefly dominated by a broken-down, New Agey Merlin (Eric Idle) whose magical powers aren't what they once were.

Providing more fun is Prince Charming (Rupert Everett), who, after a failed career in dinner theater, convinces a tavern full of villains (Captain Hook, Cyclops, et al.) to join him in conquering Far Far Away and enjoy their own happy ending for once. Ultimately opposing them is a band of heretofore sweet young things (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and Rapunzel among them), who take matters into their own hands while Shrek, Artie and Fiona are sorting out their futures.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Shrek the Third, he would have paid . . .



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