Shrek the Third
What can a man say about Shrek 3 that hasn't already been said umpteen times before, especially given the baffling delay in shipping this over the Atlantic? Precious little, if the void of my mind is any judge, but let's crash on regardless of such worries.
Shrek 3 sees the big green fella (Mike Myers) off on search of a suitable heir to the throne of Far Far Away, not much fancying the gig himself. The only candidate turns out to be Arthur, the hard drinking tiny toff portrayed by Dudley Moore. Going off on a not-particularly perilous quest to find the downtrodden, socially outcast Artie (okay, it's Justin Timberlake, not Dudley) accompanied by Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and Puss In Boots (Antonio Banderas), it's left to Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) and her motley crew of fairytale heroines to hold down the fort.
Attempting to, er, lift up the fort, I guess, Prince Charming (Rupert Everett) rallies a band of stock villains to seize their own happy ending. Oh noes! Conflict! Happily, there is also Resolution! although precious little Drama! and more worryingly, an equally anaemic amount of Laughter!
We should, in fairness, not be too surprised that franchises run out of steam by their third outing. There's plenty of historical precedent, most recently in the bloated, unfocussed Spider-man 3. You could argue that we really ought to be praising the fact that it's good enough to be in cinemas at all, as other series would find themselves in the straight to video bucket by this point. The thing of it is, this summer more than any other we find the cinemas clogged up with Last Year's Film +1, and with so many of these sequels miring themselves in mediocrity we'd rather hoped that this would be an exception, based on the quality of the previous two.
Sadly, no. It's perfectly adequate, I'll give it that. "Perfectly adequate" is unlikely to have people rushing to list their granny on Ebay to scrape together the cost of a ticket. There's very little of the wit and imagination that made the first two so enjoyable, and there's an unmistakeable wiff of a story continued purely for the sake of a studio bottom line rather than there being any story left to tell.
Of course, any film's always about the bottom line otherwise it wouldn't get financed, and it would be distinctly uncapitalistic of me to get upset about that, especially with that McCarthy fellow nosing around. It doesn't matter, at any rate, as long as it's fun. I'd hesitate to call Shrek 3 fun. It's good enough to prevent mass rioting of angry audiences demanding their money back. It's mollifying. It's a big, mass produced dummy we can suck on for an hour and a half, but at the end of it you're still hungry and kinda sick of the taste of rubber.
Were I in the business of passing quantifiable judgements, I'd award this 3/5 TippyMarks.
Eddie Murphy (Donkey)
Cameron Diaz (Princess Fiona)
Antonio Banderas (Puss in Boots)
Rupert Everett (Prince Charming)
Eric Idle (Merlin)
Justin Timberlake (Artie)