Friday, June 14, 2013

Derp Blog Into Darkness #25: SHREK THE THIRD

In Derp Blog Into Darkness, I take a plunge into the deep with movies I’ve never seen or (in some cases) never even heard of, with the only common thread throughout being that they were purchased by my partner in the years after the break with her religious upbringing. This gives me a range from mainstream comfort food to more daring, “rebellious” stuff.

There is a commonly held belief among movie geeks (currently somewhat antiquated) that Dreamworks is an irredeemable shit factory, whereas Pixar is a magical rainbow palace where gumdrop kisses fly out of puppy buttholes 24/7. In the year of our lord 2013, films like HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, the CARS franchise, RISE OF THE GUARDIANS and others should have helped put that belief to rest. In the year of our lord 2007, however, movies like SHREK THE THIRD and RATATOUILLE were pit against each other, and suddenly one can see the wisdom in such axioms.

SHREK THE THIRD continues the travails of Shrek, Fiona, Donkey, Puss as they temporarily take over kingly duties while Fiona’s father lays ill. They are comically inept at it, as they are ogres and farm animals. When the king dies after a protracted scene where exagerrated groans are mistaken for comedy*, it is up to Shrek to either take up the throne, or find the next guy in line – one Arthur at the distant Worcestershire academy. But that is not all that is rotten in the land of Far Far Away! Somewhere in a seedy nightclub, Prince Charming** has united all the villains who are public domain enough to be in this movie and has taken the king’s death and Shrek’s departure as an opportunity to storm the castle and take what he believes is rightfully his by force.

Since SHREK is first and foremost a comedy, I’ll cut it some slack on the plot front. The main quest and the villain’s plan are completely separate things that are never in any way organically connected. Fine, okay. This movie only happened because SHREK 2 made a jillion dollars and they needed something put in production quick for a release date that was probably set in stone about six hours after the second one came out. Plot probably wasn’t the biggest priority. How about jokes then? These can be divided roughly into two varieties. It’s not a 1:1 analogy, but most of the time, it works.

Is the joke executed in animation? COULD BE funny.

Ex. Shrek has to christen a boat but he tosses the bottle too hard and the hull is breeched and the sails inexplicably set fire; Shrek has a nightmare where he is buried in hilariously apathetic looking babies.

Is the joke one executed in writing and acting? Most likely, it is not funny.

Ex. Shrek acts like a sitcom dad straight out of King of Queens (70% of scenes); someone mugs (100% of scenes)

There is a viking captain on the boat that takes Shrek, Donkey and Puss to Worcestershire Academy. He has about 6 lines. They paid Seth Rogen to deliver these. I guess they just couldn’t cut those lines down to the minimum required amount of lines in a Dreamworks movie under which the SAG allows them to hire non-celebrities.

Look, here’s a thing: Fiona and the other princesses are taken captive by the villains and they bust out on their own accord and kick ass. This ultimately has little bearing on the outcome of the plot, but it’s nice to see the damsel in distress trope undercut, and it’s also nice to see Amy Poehler command woodland creatures by singing Immigrant Song. I mean, it’s not too important, but it’s a thing.

I assume that everyone who liked this movie has forgotten about it by now. Mike Myers has probably forgotten about it. It’s the one where you talked Scottish, Mike.


*oh god he is a frog and he CROAKS i just got it

**who in the current pop culture climate resembles nothing less than a perfect CGI recreation of Jaime Lannister. Ironically enough, good guy Artie looks just as Lannistery in his red and gold doublet and blonde wavy hair.

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