Shrek Forever AfterThe fourth and presumed final installment (or at least that's how it's being marketed) of the Shrek films - Shrek Forever After - revisits the beloved ogre as he is going through a sort of midlife crisis.

Find out after the jump what we thought of it... Shrek Forever AfterShrek Forever After (U)

Voices: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas
Director: Mike Mitchell
Running time: 100 minutes
Trailer: Watch it here

The plot: The Shrek trilogy of movies may have brought the story to a satisfying conclusion, but $791million at cinemas worldwide for Shrek The Third made it unlikely that backers DreamWorks Animation would call it a day. How to move the story forward? The solution is to have a discontented Shrek – tired of domestic routine and longing for his younger days as a big, bad ogre – strike a bargain with Rumpelstitskin. Shrek's part of the deal is to give up a single day of his own life, but the swamp dweller never guessed that the devious trickster would pick the day of his birth, changing the course of history. Now Shrek finds himself stranded in a parallel version of Far Far Away, where evil Rumpel rules, and feisty Fiona leads the underground resistance. Can he negate the contract, return the status quo and save his own life?

What's right with it? You can't accuse Forever After of being a rehash of the earlier films. Prince Charming has gone. Fiona's parents are hardly in it, and she herself is quite different – in this altered version of history, she's never even met Shrek, you see. And, best of all, big-eyed Puss In Boots has become a hilariously over-fed moggy. As for the new characters, slippery Rumpelstiltskin does make an entertaining villain.

What's wrong with it? The story may be fresh, but that doesn't make it satisfying. The original trilogy of stories had an internal logic, rooted in the characters. This one feels more contrived, as if cooked up by a studio keen to extend the life of its franchise by any means possible. The real problem, though, is that all the events of Shrek Forever After seem weirdly redundant: a sideways adventure that has little lasting impact on the world the characters inhabit.

Verdict: DreamWorks Animation is marketing Forever After as the final Shrek film, cleverly suggesting that fans need to see it to reach the end of the story. That's not really the case: it's a fun romp, sure enough, but less of a climactic conclusion than a curious postscript.

Rating: 6 out of 10

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