Shrek (Series)

4 – Shrek Forever After; Shrek Forever After is a prime example of how a film series can die out from simple exhaustion. This family flick in particular is a casualty of using the same tired formula across four films and almost a decade’s time. Shrek Forever After not only uses the same formula, but it also adds very little at all. The extra star powers in voice acting – such as Jon Hamm and Craig Robinson – aren’t put to good use and have only minor roles. Unlike each of its predecessors, there aren’t any lines that stand out or are memorable without going back to rewatch the whole movie. The characters don’t have much growth or big crucial arcs other than a comparatively unique antagonist in Rumplestiltskin. However, Rumplestiltskin is more unique as an antagonist from a conceptual standpoint than he actually is in film. Shrek Forever After is an unnecessary addition that is enjoyable –  yet stale – and had it never been produced we wouldn’t be missing much. Cinemaster Score: 5.7/10

3 – Shrek the Third; Shrek the Third is a very in the middle film. It is not nearly as bad as Shrek Forever After, but definitely not as good as the original and its sequel. Its story takes a different route entirely, reflecting on the struggles of fatherhood and responsibility. While it does make for some humorous scenes, the lack of attention brought to the supporting cast is apparent and does detract from the film as a whole. Having big name actors such as Seth Rogen, John Lithgow, and Amy Poehler matters little when the movie has such a lackluster script. The inclusion of Justin Timberlake’s character Arthur Pendragon as part of the main story does little to change the plot in any meaningful ways. On top of this, the sharp comedic energy that was present in the first two films is nowhere to be found here but instead low-brow gags and throwaway jokes. Shrek the Third was when the series took a turn for the worse, beginning the plunge in quality that only continued from there. Sadly, this film has little to no reason for existing, as it does not lead the series into exciting new ground or even tell a compelling story on its own. It is disappointing and quite easy to forget. Cinemaster Score: 6.3/10

2 – Shrek 2; Shrek 2 is a close second to its predecessor, containing most of the charm and humor that made the original so great – along with a unique story that introduces us to a colorful cast of characters. Mike Myers puts in another excellent performance as Shrek, conveying a plethora of emotions for the character throughout the film. The supporting cast of Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas, and even Julie Andrews are likewise as good in their roles – creating memorable and well developed characters. What this sequel lacks, however, is the narrative focus of the original, whose small scale presented a much more heartfelt and cohesive story. Shrek 2 has moments where its plot becomes a little too convoluted as it balances multiple storylines and a large assortment of characters. This is not a major problem, but the straightforward plot of the original can be sorely missed at times. All in all, Shrek 2 is a well-made and enjoyable film that has just a little too much going on – putting it at 2nd for our ranking. Cinemaster Score: 8.4/10

1 – Shrek; In the category of animated children’s movies, Shrek is near the top of the hierarchy. Shrek is unique to its genre and stands out amongst other flicks with fairy tale natures. Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy show off their excellent voice acting abilities in the starring roles. Scattered throughout the entire hour and a half runtime are a plethora of jokes and memorable moments. Shrek as a character is well-rounded and a breath of fresh air in children’s movies. He and Donkey as a complimentary pair work to entertain and build off each other. Then you have the antagonist of Lord Farquaad (voiced magnificently by John Lithgow) who is the best to root against when the protagonist isn’t so friendly himself. The story told puts a nice twist on the stereotypical fairy tale with a good theme for younger viewers. Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson (Directors) bring the entirety of Shrek together to make a great movie that is loved by many to this day. Cinemaster Score: 8.7/10

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