A few weeks ago I saw the trailer for the new Shrek Forever After and found myself sucked in enough to grab a tub of popcorn and settle in for my very first Shrek.
A Shrek virgin no more, after two hours of 3D antics starring the voice of Eddie Murphy (brilliant!) and the loveable green visage of the big ogre, I decided that I was just not Shrek material. I’ve seen the original fairytales on which almost all of the slender “plot” of Shrek 4 was based. I devoured fairytales as a kid and knew about Rumplestilskin, Sleeping Beauty, Hansel & Gretel, Jack and the Beanstalk, etc. etc. I even saw, over and over, the Judy Garland version of The Wizard of Oz, upon which some of the cleverest sight gags in Shrek are based, nay ripped off.
So I have to figure that this animated suite of films is strictly for little ones who a) don’t read, or b) don’t have any prior knowledge of fairytale filmography.
See, I’m being calm. And fair. So now I’ll vent a bit.
I actually reached into my purse and took out a ten dollar bill AND a one dollar bill and gave them to a ticket person, in exchange for the opportunity to put on those silly glasses and occasionally be delighted by 3D. Eleven dollars for a matinee!!!! Madre Dios!
And for those dollars there just wasn’t very much plot, visual dynamic or emotional engagement. I’ve seen commercials that offered more in the way of clever juxtaposition of voice and imagery.
A few exceptions come to mind. Like the adroit vocal work and singing of Antonio Banderas as the saucy puss in boots. The witty little wig bits adopted by the nasty Rumplestilskin. Eddie Murphy, Eddie Murphy, Eddie Murphy. A genius in any form.
That’s it. Shrek ain’t my thing, though the trio of six-year-olds behind me absolutely adored it.