DVD Release Date:  November 13, 2007
Theatrical Release Date: May 18, 2007
Rating:  PG (for some crude humor, suggestive content and swashbuckling action)
Genre:  Animation/Drama
Run Time: 93 min.
Director: Chris Miller and Ramen Hui
Voice Talents of: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas, Julie Andrews, John Cleese, Rupert Everett, Eric Idle, Justin Timberlake,

What does an ogre do when he really doesn’t want to be king?  He searches the world for the next logical relative and coerces him to return to the land of Far Far Away and assume his royal position. 

It is Shrek’s quest for Arthur (“Arty”) and the challenges he faces getting him on the throne that make for a fun ride in Shrek the Third.  With cleverly-written, well-voiced, all-star humor and impeccable animation, this latest fairy tale movie is marred only by a few typical Hollywood worldview elements and some scatological humor.

The story begins with the frog king (John Cleese) dying, and even his death is hilarious, with him gagging and choking and passing out, only to come back again three times to utter short, meaningful quips to his family.  It turns out that he wants Shrek (Mike Myers) to be king but is willing for a distant relative, young Arthur (Justin Timberlake), to take the throne, if necessary.  Shrek, who is extremely uncomfortable in the world of royal palaces, tight, kingly outfits, wigs, makeup, and formality, thinks that a replacement is definitely necessary and sets out to find the teenage heir.

He sails off with his donkey friend (Eddie Murphy) and the famous Puss N’ Boots cat, (Antonio Banderas), and the last thing he hears his wife (Cameron Diaz) yelling to him is that she’s pregnant.  Shrek has nightmares about being a father to tons of little ogre babies with their projectile vomiting and breaking valuables habits, and he wakes up in a cold sweat to disembark.

The little team does find Arty, who happens to be an unpopular, oft-bullied teen at a hilarious medieval high school.  Shrek convinces him that the frog king specifically asked for Arthur to take over the Kingdom of Far Far Away, so the young lad finally complies, and the motley group sets out for home.

To complicate matters, however, not everyone is happy that Arty is coming to take the throne—especially Prince Charming (Rupert Everett).  Remember him?  He’s the guy who got ousted in Shrek II, and now he’s got a plan for revenge and overthrow.  He rallies all the disgruntled, “loser” fairy-tale characters (like Snow White’s wicked stepmother, Rumpelstiltskin, Captain Hook, etc.), and he convinces them to take back the wins they’ve been robbed of by performing in an evil palace play that is slated to end with the death of Shrek.

It will take some honest communication and teamwork, the quick growing up of a kid, and the clever work of some princesses who haven’t had to fight before—in order for Shrek and his team to spoil Charming’s plans and get the right man, or kid, on the throne.

This third time around, Shrek  is very funny, grand in animation and casting and generally well written. There are many good “laugh out loud” moments in the film, especially at the medieval high school, whose kids sound an awful lot like America’s teens (“Just say nay” to drugs).  Many extra touches were added to each scene to give them that extra boost of humor and entertainment.

Regrettably, sometimes Hollywood pushes that envelope a bit too far, though they’re subtle about it.  For instance, one of the “princesses” is a big, ugly “girl” with a deep, man-sounding voice, who says, “That (Prince) Charming makes me hotter than July.”  And there are guys who are effeminate as well.  There are also plenty of depictions of vomiting, burping, passing gas, scratching rears, etc. And there’s a needless portrayal of alcohol.  Prince Charming goes to a bar to recruit his bad guys and orders a round of fuzzy navels for all (an alcoholic drink made with Peach Schnapps). 

As usual, there’s plenty of magic and New Age verbiage, and this time it’s supplied by Merlin (Eric Idle), an aging wizard with dementia, who calls out things like, “Cosmic children of the universe!” and has people look into the smoke to see pictures that will give them clues about their souls.

The movie does address the common problem of children and the “father issues” they have when they’re abandoned or overlooked.  Many movies are addressing this issue now, even recent animations like Curious George and Chicken Little.  It’s just that Hollywood usually gives incomplete answers for such dilemmas.  In this case, the theme is “The thing that matters most is what you think of yourself.”  Well yes, but it takes some dealing and healing with God to get there.
 
Overall, this skillfully made, high budget animation will very likely clean up at the box office as it entertains the masses this summer.  Enjoy the laughs, but always, always talk to your kids about the worldview elements and how they stack up to Scripture.

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol:  Fuzzy Navels distributed in bar.
  • Language:  Mild issues of off-color, or scatological verbiage, with a few innuendos going over kids’ heads.
  • Sex:  None.
  • Violence:  Mild, cartoonish, slapstick violence.