May 22, 2010 -- The fourth, and probably final movie of the Shrek series, bows out fairly gracefully with a film that is not as good as the first two films, but definitely better than the weakest entry in the series: “Shrek the Third.” Some have compared this to “It's a Wonderful Life” because Shrek sees what would have happened to his kingdom if he hadn't been born. Actually, its not that bad, since Shrek, unlike George Bailey, doesn't spend two hours wallowing in self-pity and martyrdom before finally acting like a man. Instead of self-pity, Shrek gets mad and vows to take his old life back by force, realizing he didn't know how good he had it until it was gone. Shrek doesn't get his life handed back to him by an angel, he is determined to take it back with his own courage and determination.
In this movie Shrek is fooled into a devil's bargain by a tricky magician, Rumpelstiltskin, who grants him a wish to be free of all responsibilities. In a moment of weakness, Shrek signs the bargain. He realizes later he was badly fooled. He has unwittingly given up his family and friends. He has only a short time to win them back or he will disappear forever. It is daunting task. In a land dominated by witches, he discovers a rebellion of ogres and joins them in an effort to wrest control of the kingdom from Rumpelstiltskin. He also must win the heart of Fiona, leader of the ogre rebellion. She and Shrek were married in the alternate universe, but here, Fiona doesn't know who Shrek is. In this alternate dimension, Fiona has become disillusioned because no one came to rescue her. She had to rescue herself. As a result, she has also become stronger and more self-reliant. Shrek does find allies, however. He is joined by a couple of old comrades, Donkey and Puss in Boots.
The story is bit unwieldy, but it works well enough, in part due to its short running time of 93 minutes, which imposes some much-needed narrative discipline. The characters are strong, most are voiced by the same actors who have voiced all four films. The 3D animation is effective. The 3D stereoscopy supervision is by the renowned Phil "Captain 3D" McNally. Try to see this film in a theater with a bright enough projector so that the 3D images are not too dark. This is key to watching any 3D movie. There probably will not be another Shrek movie, but if there isn't, this is a good place to end the franchise, and two out of three is a far better average, as far as quality goes, than most sequels. This film rates a B.
Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.