Pixel Tracker

Friday, March 22 , 2019, 2:49 pm | A Few Clouds 61º

 
 
 
 

Cinema in Focus: ‘Shrek Forever After’

The final chapter in the series takes a decidedly darker turn

2 Stars — Entertaining

It’s difficult to tell the same story four different ways, but Mike Mitchell’s first try at directing the popular Shrek series — with Shrek Forever After — makes a valiant attempt.

Once more using the writing of Josh Klausner, who added minor elements to Shrek 3, along with the talents of Darren Lemke, the tale takes a decidedly darker theme as it explores a paradise lost. The allusions to classic literature as well as pop culture make the film enjoyable for children and parents alike. Touted as the final chapter of the series, it seems that everyone agrees the story needs to come to an end as we allow Shrek to live happily forever after.

Creatively weaving the three previous films into Shrek Forever After, we find that the marriage of Shrek (voice by Mike Myers) and Princess Fiona (voice by Cameron Diaz) has become overwhelmed by their parenting and domestic chores. Feeling as though he can no longer be his true self, Shrek is preyed upon by the devious Rumpelstiltskin (voice by Walt Dohrn).

Wanting to be ruler of the kingdom, he offers Shrek the opportunity to return to his bachelor ogre ways for a day in exchange for any other day in his life. Shrek trades it for a day in his childhood, not realizing Rumpelstiltskin will choose the day of his birth so that he never existed. This foolish choice becomes immediately obvious as he realizes how much difference his life has made, not only in Fiona’s life but also in the entire kingdom.

These two interrelated messages are obvious ones: Each person’s life matters, and we often don’t know or appreciate what we have until it’s gone. Yet, in the disappointments and responsibilities of life, it is surprising how often we forget them.

Shrek soon discovers that his courageous quest to free Fiona from her curse and their subsequent love is something that gives their lives meaning and purpose and brings the best out in their friends Donkey (voice by Eddie Murphy) and Puss in Boots (voice by Antonio Banderas).

The introduction of witches into the kingdom under Rumpelstiltskin’s leadership creates a battle between good and evil as the ogres fight for freedom of all the enslaved fairy tale creatures. The suggestion that relationships would be formed in whatever reality we share is also presented.

An entertaining, 3-D format with creative writing and cinematography makes this fourth film enjoyable but, like most sequels, it lacks the novelty experienced when a tale is first told. However, it does give a satisfying resolution to a story we have all enjoyed.

Discussion:

» Do you believe that if you were to meet your friends and spouse in an alternative universe that you would befriend and love them again? Why?

» The fact that most of us don’t realize what we’ve got until we lose it is a common human experience. What do you think makes this virtually universal among us?

» Fairy tales often speak of “true love” and its power over life. Have you found your true love and, if so, how did it change your life? Do you believe there is more than one person with whom you could find true love? Why or why not?

— Cinema in Focus is a social and spiritual movie commentary. Hal Conklin is former mayor of Santa Barbara and Denny Wayman is pastor of Free Methodist Church, 1435 Cliff Drive. For more reviews, visit www.cinemainfocus.com.

Support Noozhawk Today!

Our professional journalists work tirelessly to report on local news so you can be more informed and engaged in your community. This quality, local reporting is free for you to read and share, but it's not free to produce.

You count on us to deliver timely, relevant local news, 24/7. Can we count on you to invest in our newsroom and help secure its future?

We provide special member benefits to show how much we appreciate your support.

Email
I would like give...
Great! You're joining as a Red-Tailed Hawk!
  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.