Directors: Chris Miller, Raman Hui
Writers: Jeffrey Price, Peter S. Seaman, Howard Gould, Andrew Adamson, Jon Zack
Starring: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Justin Timberlake
Studio/Running Time: Dreamworks, 93 mins.
“Any man left on the Rio Grande is the king of the world as far as I know.”
-Steely Dan “King of the World”
While the life of the typical film franchise has been all squeezed out by its third installment, leaving a shattered shell of its former glory, Shrek the Third defies the odds in being as entertaining as the original animated hit and surpassing the second edition. Instead of just relying on the twisted fairy tale theme, the creators of Shrek the Third also venture into parodies of our average, mortal lives with some zingy dialogue.
While on his deathbed, good King Harold (John Cleese) puts the kingdom in the hands of his big, green son-in-law Shrek (Mike Myers), who clearly doesn’t want the job and must soon deal with his insecurity as a future father. So along with Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and Puss In Boots (Antonio Banderas), Shrek sets off in search of the only other heir, Arthur (Justin Timberlake). Our hero finds him in what appears to be a castle but, as Donkey’s suddenly sweaty palms tell him, it’s a high school filled with the typical quota of bullies, jocks and stoners. Arthur is found at the bottom of the social pool, even picked on by the geeks. Meanwhile, the evil Prince Charming has enlisted the help of all the fairy-tale villains and has overthrown the kingdom and imprisoned Fiona (Cameron Diaz) along with all the other Disney princesses. The inevitable confrontation between good and evil is only a vehicle for continually inventive sight gags and biting lines.
Musically, there’s the deft placement of song bites from the likes of Paul McCartney (“Live and Let Die”) and Led Zeppelin (“Immigrant Song”), along with tracks from The Ramones, Wolfmother, Damien Rice, Macy Gray and Fergie. Especially enjoyable was Julie Andrews’ portrayal of a dazed Queen Lillian who begins humming a few bars of “My Favorite Things” from Andrews’ Sound of Music. The onslaught of ogre marketing could easily dissuade you from seeing this film, but let go and go green.