Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Shrek Forever After

I've just returned from a preview screening of the new and supposedly last of the Shrek films, “Shrek, Forever After.” The audience, which was full of kids, thoroughly enjoyed the film. I, however, had serious problems.

Even though the story was quite charming and magical (it was similar to “Its A Wonderful Life”) I felt the artwork was quite ugly. Perhaps they wanted to keep the same style and design of the 1st installment, so the artists used the same crude models. Or perhaps Jeffrey Katzenberg needed to save a few bucks to give a bright stockholder's report. I don't know why. But after being impressed by the superb design in “How to Train Your Dragon,” how could the same studio make such an amateurish production like this? The characters were stiff, the fabric looked plastic. The colors all wrong. In fact, Shrek was not green. And there was no squash and stretch. It was like the whole production was made in some 2nd rate CG studio in India. Certainly the story and some of the humor worked, and the audience gave it a nice ovation at the end. But please, Jeffrey, have some good character design! Even the antagonist in the film, Rumpelstiltskin, was terribly designed, and he's the character you can really have fun with. The potential for humor design was huge and they blew it.

I must say that the 3D worked very well and the action scenes were exciting. The music bits were fun especially The Carpenters song, “Top of the World,” as Shrek goes back to being and evil ogre. One little bit of trivia: the pied piper is brought in near the end and the flute music is performed by Jeremy Steig, the son of Shrek's creator, William Steig.

On the Plympton scale I give it 5 out of 10.