(2007) dir. Chris Miller, Raman Hui
viewed: 05/19/07 at Century San Francisco Centre, SF, CA
I’ve actually always been a bit disdainful of the whole Shrek film series. The whole thing is a pastiche of a multitude of characteristics, culture, humor, and style with a pop music soundtrack and a deep attempt to hit home with some emotional “truths”. To me, it lacks genuine character, and though the “character” of Shrek, is a big part of what the film trades on, he’s a pretty lame and boring figure.
The two best characters in the film are the Eddie Murphy Donkey and the Antonio Banderas Puss in Boots. But those are the sidekicks. This movie, the “Third”, tries to carry home some messages that were way lame back in after school specials three or four decades ago. “Be yourself”, “Just because other people are mean to you, doesn’t mean that you are a bad person”, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. Let’s just say that I think you could actually find most of these euphemisms or like ones right there in the script. It’s hard to imagine anyone writing this crap or reciting this crap, much less the guess that this is “quality” animation.
One of the funniest things that I’ve read, and I haven’t read it in depth, is some of the schizophrenic marketing that they do for Shrek, having him speak out about childhood obesity (he’s fat) all while marketing McDonald’s. It’s soulless in the Hollywood world of creating marketing entertainment like this. And the whole “appealing to the adults, as well as the kids” with humor that the kids won’t get is old and wrong. If you make a good movie, people will like it, get it. When you pander incessantly, you show just what a crock this whole business is.
So why did I go see it? Why did I take my kids to it? It’s been a very dry couple of months without a film that I could take them to. And overall, I think that the experience of going to movies, of seeing various things, is fun and worthwhile. That said, my next thought was to take my son to the “Bad Bugs Bunny” series of films that will be shown with the “Hole in the Head” film festival, that features animations that have become obscure because of their racist stereotypes or other things that aren’t kosher in the contemporary world. I guess I’m just a hell of a father.
Anyways, this film sort of underscores my feelings about this whole series of films. Highly over-rated. Pretty goddam bad, if you ask me.