So today it was a lazy day for me and took a nap in the afternoon which was nice. When I woke up around 3:50 I went on the computer and saw that Shrek 2 was playing down the street in 10 minutes. I ran out of the apartment with flip flops and picked up a water and twizz and a hershey bar with almonds at the bodega. I walked in during the previews and the whole place was packed with kids. I was psyched. I sat down three rows from the front and put my feet up. I saw a preview for some new Dreamworks animated movie called Shark Tale. It looked like it was made 3 years before Nemo. All flat and shadowless. And ooh Scorsese and Deniro voicing animated characters. Ha. Ha. Ho. Hum.
Anyway, Shrek. I liked the first Shrek alot but I didn't love Shrek. It was fun but I didn't get all choked up like I did with Nemo. New Shrek started off really strong. It had some bizarre loveydovey musical sequence and then we were back in the swamp with Mr. and Mrs. Shrek. And donkey. And everything was fun, funny and nice. I wanted to stay there in the swamp. Donkey was funnier this time around. And the whole place gave off a stupid silly grin.
Then Mr. and Mrs. Shrek's headed to the big city and it popped a bubble for me. The modern world crept into this medieval world and I had a hard time with it. The 'kingdom' had a Gap and a Starbucks. Hardy har har. Modern appliances came into play like flashbulb cameras and television type things. Donkey would make references to things like 'inflight movies' and I couldn't help flagging that stuff as being unnecessary. Take me to your world, Shrek. I don't need mine all mixed up in there swirly thank you very much. Dabble a reference here and there for fun. But Shrek's world got dunked in our world this time around. They cruised thru the friggin Grove for schnikes sake!
That being said I liked alot of this movie. The first half of Shrek was relatively solid. It had some good laugh out loud jokes. Puss and Boots was a nice addition but he looked a little weird- like he was a dead cat that was re-animated or something. I loved the textures in the animation. Shrek's frayed shirt. Donkey's fur. Trees, movement and shadows were so good it was distracting. But humans still looked wrong through. Something about these computer generated humans are just off. It's like they're trying to hard to make them look human or something. Cartoon em up a little more. I can handle it. Also the movie was soundtrack way heavy with modern music. David Bowie 'Changes' cover? Funkytown? Uch. Bubble poppers. It all started mounting and at the halfway point I started to fade. The plot got clunky and irrational. Tension was at a flatline minimum and I noticed the whole place started looking like the art director was Thomas Kincade.
By the end of the movie I was ready to get the hell out of there. It wrapped up all stupid (Livin La Vida Loca? Vomit!) and there was no real twists that had any impact. I'm not sure I sensed that the kids in the audience were loving every minute of it but they seemed happy coming out of the place. The movie had it's fair share of fart jokes and donkey doing his big grinny grin yabba yabba- so I guess the kids were satisfied. That was nice for them I guess- but the kid in me just sorta shrugged and whatevered this corporate orge.
Three Good Things About This Movie
- The quality of the animation was at a high. I
probably could have watched it without sound and been ok.
- It had some great family type moments. The dinner scene was top notch top notch.
- There were a good amount of jokes that were deep enough into pop cultural references that I respected it went so far. (Ex. Donkey yelling 'Elizabeth! I'm coming to see ya!' right before he passes out on the floor.)
Three Bad Things About This Movie
- The fantasticality seemed limited. It wasn't magical
- The music was awful -pretty much throughout. Every time they played a song they should have ended it with a cash register cha-ching noise.
- I didn't feel an emotional pull to any of the characters nor was I touched by the love between the Shrek and Fiona.
All in all this is a kids movie. I think my nephews will be happy because it's got a ton of great visuals and it's happy bouncy lighty with the silly and the smiley. But it really lacked in danger and scary and a plot that was respectable. It all looked great. And it smelled nice. But when push came to shove (not to get too industry about it) if this is the top shelf of Dreamworks...
Pixar can relax..