Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

EVEN GREEN OGRES GET THE BLUES; What's Not to Love in a Family Drama That Revolves around the Midlife Crisis of Everyone's Favourite Animated Character?

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

EVEN GREEN OGRES GET THE BLUES; What's Not to Love in a Family Drama That Revolves around the Midlife Crisis of Everyone's Favourite Animated Character?

Article excerpt

Byline: Andrew O'Hagan

FILM OF THE WEEK SHREK: THE FINAL CHAPTER Cert PG, 93 mins **** EVERYBODY'S favourite green Scottish ogre, apart from Alex Salmond, is surely Shrek, a creature who always seems to take pleasure in life's minor irritations. He lives in a world where fairy stories regularly smack into harsh reality -- where Pinnochio is compulsive in his habits, and the three pigs are German -- yet Shrek has always managed to reinstate sweetness as the central feature in all good relationships. In Shrek 4, however, we get to see our friend suffer an early midlife crisis. If he were a man, Shrek would simply have bought a sports car and begun sending texts to the blonde receptionist. But this is the magical world of Far Far Away, so what we see, with the onset of Shrek's crisis, is the world turning upside down.

Having rescued Princess Fiona from the tower and vanquished the dragon, we now find the couple living in a state of boring domestic routine with their three little Shrekettes. Owing to Shrek's exploits, he is now a famous attraction, with tourists passing his part of the in buses to spot him. And life is a constant round of family chores for Shrek, who, as the film opens, is beginning to wonder if there isn't more. As with many a cliched male, more really means before, and Shrek yearns for his former days of mudbaths and romps.

In his new soft state, he misses the days when people were frightened of him. He wants his mojo back, his essence back, and finds it hard to accept that his ogre-status has been vanquished along with the dragon, to be replaced by daily rounds of nappies.

Enter the bad, scheming Rumpelstiltskin, who is a dab hand at framing horrible contracts. In a lovely rip-off of It's a Wonderful Life, we see Shrek fall into a trap which allows him to experience how the world would have been if he hadn't been born. All is dreary and corrupt in Rumpelstiltskin's alternative world, and the film becomes about Shrek's attempt to get back his lucky life, the one he didn't appreciate enough. There are witches and baddies galore, as well as the old friends, and people who have enjoyed this series will find nothing to disappoint them.

Princess Fiona, as voiced by Cameron Diaz, in this movie steps out of the green shadows to become a more fully rounded representative of female disbelief.

That's to say, she finds Shrek's behaviour unbelievable. When Shrek is caught up in Rumpelstiltskin's spell and forced to visit the world-withouthimself, he sees Fiona has turned into a fiery freedom-fighter, and his task, in order to return the world to normal, is to make her fall in love with him all over again and kiss him before the end of 24 hours. As with the previous films, there's a lot of pleasure to be had from the verbal nature of the jokes. …

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