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.