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DREAMWORKS

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Chris Miller, Raman Hui
Cast:
Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas, Julie Andrews, John Cleese, Rupert Everett, Eric Idle, Justin Timberlake, Ian McShane, Seth Rogen
Writing Credits:
William Steig (book, "Shrek!"), Andrew Adamson (story), Jeffrey Price, Peter S. Seaman, Chris Miller, Aron Warner

Tagline:
Who's ready for Thirds?

Synopsis:
When Shrek (Mike Myers) married Fiona (Cameron Diaz) the last thing he had in mind was becoming the next King of Far, Far Away however, when Shrek's father-in-law, King Harold, suddenly croaks, that is exactly what he becomes. Recruiting Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and Puss 'n Boots (Antonio Banderas) for a new quest, Shrek sets out to bring back the rightful heir to the throne. Meanwhile back in the kingdom, Fiona's jilted Prince Charming (Rupert Everett) storms the city with an army of fairytale villains to seize the throne. Fiona and a band of princesses must stop him to ensure there will be a kingdom left to rule!

Box Office:
Budget
$160 million.
Opening Weekend
$121.629 million on 4122 screens.
Domestic Gross
$320.706 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 2.35:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Dolby Surround 2.0
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Surround 2.0
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French

Runtime: 92 min.
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 11/13/2007

Bonus:
• “Worcestershire Academy Yearbook”
• “Big Green Goofs” Reel
• Lost Scenes
• “Donkey Dance”
• “Meet the Cast” Featurette
• “Shrek’s Guide to Parenthood” Featurette
• “Tech of Shrek” Featurette
• DreamWorks Animation Video Jukebox
• DVD-ROM Shrektivities
• “Merlin’s Magic Crystal Ball” Game
• “How to Be Green”
• “Learn the Donkey Dance”
• Previews


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Shrek The Third (2007)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 19, 2007)

Was it just me, or did 2007’s Shrek the Third hit screens with less fanfare than expected? After all, 2004’s Shrek 2 became that year’s biggest hit and took in $436 million in the US. Without adjustment for inflation, only Titanic and Star Wars earned more money. Against that background, I’d have anticipated much more hype for Third.

In a summer packed with big-name sequels, though, Third got a little lost in the shuffle. Not that it did poorly, of course. With a $320 million gross, it seems likely that we’ll eventually get a fourth chapter in the Shrek series. Third simply failed to garner as much attention as you’d anticipate from a third chapter in such a hugely successful series.

At the film’s start, we saw what happened to Prince Charming (voiced by Rupert Everett), the defeated baddie of the last movie. Humiliated and left in exile, he dreams of revenge upon Shrek, and he decides on a new plan.

In the meantime, Shrek (Mike Myers) and Fiona (Cameron Diaz) do their best to fill in for Far Far Away’s ailing king (John Cleese). When the king dies, he wants Shrek to take over as the new ruler, but our ogre hero resists this call. Instead, he prefers to find Arthur (Justin Timberlake), an awkward teen who also has a place in the royal lineage. This sets Shrek on a quest to find Arthur and place him on the throne – and also to deal with Fiona’s announcement that she’s pregnant.

While this occurs, Charming takes the lead of all the various fairy tale villains. He appeals to them to create their own “happily ever after” and they take over Far Far Away. The movie follows these two main stories.

The first Shrek wasn’t great, but at least it managed to offer something different via its skewed take on famous fairy tales. Shrek 2 lacked the same sense of originality, and I still can’t quite account for its success. The movie presented some amusement but wasn’t anything particularly dynamic or inventive.

Against that backdrop, you should expect more of the same from Third. For better or for worse, this chapter falls into the same realm as its predecessors. We get more lampooning of fairy tale characters and scenarios, though Third branches out into slightly different territory. The King Arthur legend may be mythological, but it feels like an odd piece to link to the world of ogres and talking animals.

Even if we accept that – and we probably should, since we’re willing to swallow so much - Third only intermittently succeeds. Actually, I think we find at least as many laughs as usual, and probably more. Granted, the first two never amused me too much, but this one offers a decent number of chuckles. I particularly like two bits during the scene when Charming tries to find Shrek and Fiona. We see Gingy’s life flash before his eyes in amusing fashion, and Pinocchio’s obfuscation is a hoot. A few other sequences also stand out as among the series’ funniest.

But plenty fall flat as well. We get too many of the usual bodily function jokes, and the usual attempts to show modern life in a fantasy setting get a little old. Yeah, these are inevitable and part of the series’ tendencies, but they start to sag after three movies.

One problem with a third chapter in a cinematic series comes from all the characters they amass. Third wants to give us most of the personalities from the first two flicks and add new ones as well. This means some of our old favorites get a bit lost in the shuffle and don’t have much to do. Actually, the film balances them about as well as it could, but it would’ve worked better with fewer personalities on display.

At least Third manages a reasonably concise and efficient story. With so many characters, it could’ve indulged in 47 different plot threads, but it really concentrates pretty heavily on the two I mention. The issues with the heir and Charming take the forefront, while Shrek’s family anxieties act more as a subtext. The movie blends the sides pretty well and ties them together semi-neatly in the end.

I must admit I could live without the parental aspects of Third, though. I think it would’ve been enough for Shrek to battle a sense of responsibility versus his natural inclination toward sloth and self-centeredness. I guess the Arthur elements meant the filmmakers needed some payoff for Shrek other than as king, but I think the parental side of things feels forced – like it exists more as fodder for Shrek 4 than as a natural story point.

I suppose if I directly compared the animation of Third with the original Shrek, I’d notice growth. However, it continues to feature the same look, for good and for bad. On one hand, it’s positive that the series maintains a sense of continuity; we wouldn’t want a Shrek film that doesn’t fit in with the others.

Unfortunately, this means that many of the characters continue to look off-putting and odd. The human renderings still fare poorly. They try too hard to be photo-real, and they just don’t work. Poor Artie often looks like clay-mation more than anything else, and the moderate ugliness of the figures makes it tough to get into the story at times. I prefer the Pixar approach, which uses the advantages of CG animation but still manages to make its work look like cartoons.

If you read my reviews for the first two films, you’ll see that I thought both offered moderate entertainment but not much more. My feelings remain the same in regard to Shrek the Third. This is a perfectly enjoyable film, though one that seems rather hit or miss much of the time. For every funny bit, there are plenty more than go nowhere. Third offers an amusing but forgettable 90 minutes.


The DVD Grades: Picture B+/ Audio C/ Bonus C

Shrek the Third appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Much of the transfer looked great, but the overall impression was just a bit below top-notch standards.

Most of the time, sharpness was strong. The vast majority of the flick showed tight, accurate delineation. However, a few wider shots could be a smidgen soft. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering materialized, and I noticed no edge enhancement. Source flaws also remained absent.

With its fantasy setting, Third boasted a broad palette, and it demonstrated very good color reproduction. The hues looked bright and dynamic throughout the film. Blacks were deep and firm, while shadows seemed decent. They tended to be a little thick at times, unfortunately, and weren’t as consistent as I’d like. This was a very good transfer; it just didn’t dazzle.

At least the visuals outdid the lackluster Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Shrek the Third. My biggest complaint came from the mix’s lack of oomph. It lacked great depth, as low-end response was somewhat flat. My subwoofer remained oddly subdued, as even the smattering of louder scenes failed to produce much life.

Not that Third boasted a lot of involvement from its soundfield. Most of the material stayed in the ambient realm, as the elements usually just supported the settings in a general way. A few action scenes managed to add activity from the sides and surrounds, and the entire track offered a reasonable sense of place. However, I couldn’t name a single sequence that stood out as particularly engaging. The whole thing created a decent atmosphere but nothing more than that.

And the somewhat flat reproduction of the audio didn’t help. As I already mentioned, bass response was bland, a factor that made both effects and music dull. Actually, the score showed moderate pep, but the songs featured in the movie were rather thin. Effects managed a little more life but still couldn’t boast much range. Speech was consistently natural and concise, at least. This wasn’t a bad track, but it seemed awfully subdued and restricted for a film of this sort.

A mix of extras fills out this disc. Worcestershire Academy Yearbook provides an unusual interactive piece. It shows us high school yearbook entries for 30 characters. The presentation makes it a little tedious at times, but it presents enough creativity to amuse.

For some animation errors, we go to Big Green Goofs. The one-minute and 56-second reel shows a mix of computer errors. Many are quite creepy.

Three Lost Scenes run a total of 18 minutes, 24 seconds. These include “The Fauxly Grail” (9:22), “Hot Lunch” (4:36) and “Cyrano De Artie” (4:25). All three involve Artie at the fore. “Grail” offers a big action scene in which Artie must battle a dragon, while the others focus more on his love for Guinevere.

We don’t see these as fully-rendered animation – or even as storyreels. Instead, we watch the filmmakers’ pitch sessions during which they point to storyboards and act out the sequences. Of course, it’d be nice to see the scenes in a more finished form, but this format works fine. All three are fun to see, even though it’s not completely clear where some would’ve fit into the movie.

For a simple music video, we find Donkey Dance. This odd clip lasts a mere 32 seconds and shows Donkey as he sings his own rendition of “The Safety Dance”. It’s odd and only moderately amusing.

A featurette called Meet the Cast runs 10 minutes, 40 seconds. It presents comments from producer/writer Aron Warner, co-producer Denis Nolan Cascino, co-director Raman Hui, director/writer Chris Miller, John Burroughs HS musical director Paul Vessiland, music arranger Kaz Boyle, head of character animation Tim Cheung, and actors Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas, Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake, Eric Idle, Julie Andrews, Maya Rudolph, Amy Sedaris, Cheri Oteri and Amy Poehler. Don’t expect a lot of information from this promotional piece. It’s fun to see the actors at work, and they tell us a little about the characters and capturing high school, but most of the piece sticks with fluff.

Shrek’s Guide to Parenthood gives you “advice” from four characters: Donkey, Puss in Boots, Pinocchio and Gingy. They offer parenting ideas from their own perspectives. This turns into a fairly cute little feature.

Another featurette appears next. Tech of Shrek goes for nine minutes, 54 seconds and offers notes from Miller, Hui, Cheung, Cascino, Warner, chief technology officer Ed Leonard, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, supervising animator Anthony Hodgson, visual effects supervisor Philippe Gluckman, technology executive Kate Swanberg, effects supervisor Matt Baer, research and development manager Andrew Pearce, effects supervisor Arnauld Lamorlette, art director Peter Zaslav, production designer Guillaume Aretos, and head of digital operations Derek Chan. The program looks at how the computer technology has improved over the three movies and how that growth affected the rendering of hair, clothes, natural elements, lighting, crowd shots, and different settings. As with the cast featurette, this one includes some decent details, but most of the time it feels promotional. “Tech” seems like it exists to tell us how great Third looks and also to tout some computer vendors. It proves only sporadically useful.

For material from other films, we can move to the DreamWorks Animation Video Jukebox. This allows you to watch clips from the first two Shrek flicks, Shark Tale, Flushed Away, Madagascar and Over the Hedge. This lets us hear some musical numbers from the films. It feels like an ad to me, honestly, as it serves little real purpose.

Under the “DreamWorks Kids” banner, we get three components. Merlin’s Magic Crystal Ball offers a video spin on the Magic 8-Ball. You ask a yes or no question and Merlin gives you an answer. It maintains your attention for about half a minute.

How to Be Green runs four minutes as it teaches us how to help the environment. It tells us tips over the top of movie clips. It’s harmless propaganda but not particularly interesting.

Finally, Learn the Donkey Dance refers back to the mini-music video found earlier. The one-minute and 39-second clip gives us a tutorial to show us how to do Donkey’s dance. Though not very interesting, at least it’s short!

On the main menu, you’ll see an icon that represents the top of Shrek’s head. Select it and you’ll simply find a reel that shows the musical numbers that end the first two movies. It’s not interesting, especially if you already own those DVDs.

A few ads open the DVD. We get promos for Bee Movie, Kung Fu Panda and The Spiderwick Chronicles. These also appear in the Previews domain along with ads for the other two Shrek films and Charlotte’s Web. No trailer for Third appears here.

If you liked the first two flicks, will you like Shrek the Third? Probably, as this chapter does little to alter the pre-established template. Will Third possibly create new fans for the series? Probably not, as it suffers from the same ups and downs as its predecessors. This is an amusing enough movie at times but not one that ever threatens to become especially memorable.

As for the DVD, it presents very good picture quality but suffers from oddly lackluster and bland audio. It also fails to give us many extras. Unlike its predecessors, no audio commentaries appear here, and the remaining components are decidedly lackluster. Third ends up as a decent movie and a bland DVD.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.0714 Stars Number of Votes: 14
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main