Shrek (Mike Myers) and Fiona (Cameron Diaz) are living an idyllic family life with their three children, but Shrek misses the days he was feared and soon goes weary of the repetitive days of looking after the children and not having any time for himself. So when Rumpelstiltskin (Walt Dohrn) offers him a chance to be his old self for a day, Shrek jumps at the chance, but things are never that easy, and soon Shrek finds he's changed history; Far Far Away lies in different hands and his friends, and more importantly Fiona, have no idea who he is. Can he save the day, the kingdom, and himself?
I'll start this review off with a small preface: I have never before seen a Shrek film, nor have I watched an animated film since Toy Story 2 way back in 1999. It's a genre that's never really grabbed me as 'must-see' and on this evidence, I was not wrong in thinking this.
From what I understand, Shrek and Shrek 2 were supposedly fantastic, offering something for both children and adults and delivering an engaging story which was entertaining and enthralling. This was far from that. There were very few laughs in this one, and even as someone who isn't a Shrek fan, I could see that this was no more than a nostalgia trip in order to finally wrap up the franchise. There was the occasional pun which adults will find a laugh at, and a couple of visual jokes which the adults will get, but other than that, it's a rather large let-down. The only good thing about this film? The 3D. The graphics were fantastic, and the use of 3D was somewhat gratuitous but it worked, more so than in Alice in Wonderland or, dare I say, Avatar.
Even for children, I can't see how they're going to like this. Throughout, there was a very serious tone with the threat of Shrek disappearing forever and him placing the kingdom into the hands of Rumpelstiltskin (who was probably the best 'character' in the film) so that the ogres have to rise up and take back the kingdom, all whilst Shrek has to get his friends to rediscover who he is, Fiona to realise he is her true love in order to have 'True Love's Kiss' again and break her curse again and to break his contract with Rumpelstiltskin. Saying it all back, it's actually quite complicated, how is a child supposed to follow all these different plot elements?! Shrek 4 is nowhere near a simple film, and although there were a few laughs for them, even the children surrounding me in the cinema didn't seem too entertained by the film in general.
Overall, I came in being promised a magic fantasy film that wasn't just for kids and that I was a fool for not having seen the previous 3 films. I came out feeling I was absolutely justified in my 9 year embargo of the Shrek franchise, very bored and very disappointed, even by the low standards I'd set for the films beforehand. Even if the first two films really ARE as good as everyone says they are, I'm not going to watch them now. This film gets 1 star for the 3D and the graphics, and another half a star for being the last Shrek film ever. No longer must we suffer through this horrific ogre of a franchise.