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I really liked the first two installments in the SHREK movie franchise, especially the sharply satirical second movie. As for SHREK THE THIRD ($30), again, I really liked the movie, but it isnít as consistently clever or satirical as the second. Am I expecting too much from an animated movie? Considering the talent involved, I donít think so. The potential for adlibbed brilliance is just mind boggling, but it only seems to come out in spurts, instead of a continuous flow.

The premise of SHREK THE THIRD finds that happily ever after comes with a lot of responsibilitiesÖ far more than our swamp ogre hero Shrek (Mike Myers) ever anticipated after winning the heart and marrying his Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz). As the film opens, Shrek is now heir to the thrown of Far, Far Away and Princess Fiona hears her biological clock ticking. The death of the current King leaves Shrek looking at a job he doesnít want, so he decides to track down a high school aged heir named Artie (Justin Timberlake) to take on his royal duties. Of course, just as Shrek is about to set off on his quest to find the heir, Fiona announces she is pregnant- leaving our green hero facing the prospect of another job he isnít ready for- namely, fatherhood. While Shrek, Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) are away from the kingdom, Prince Charming (Rupert Everett) joins forces with the fairy take villains to mount an assault Far, Far Away, so they can get the happily ever afters they feel they are due. The vocal talent behind SHREK THE THIRD also features Julie Andrews, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Susan Blakeslee, Cody Cameron, Larry King, Christopher Knights, John Krasinski, Ian McShane, Cheri Oteri, Regis Philbin, Amy Poehler, Seth Rogen, Maya Rudolph, Amy Sedaris and Conrad Vernon.

Dreamworks Home Entertainment has made SHREK THE THIRD available on DVD in a 1.85:1 wide screen presentation that features the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. SHREK THE THIRD looks really great on DVD. Image clarity and detail are pretty much first rate. The style of the animation isnít as detail intensive as Pixarís RATATOUILLE, but the computed generated picture never fails to impress in its own way. Colors are wonderfully vibrant and do not demonstrate any flaws. Blacks are accurate, while the whites are clean and crisp. Contrast is very smooth. Digital compression artifacts are very nicely concealed.

SHREK THE THIRD comes with a fairly impressive Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack. Although much of the film is dialogue driven, the sound design does make good use of the outlying channels to bounce sound effects around. Fidelity is also pretty much top notch; the music is especially lively and sound effects come across in a convincing manner, even when they are a bit cartoony. Dialogue is nicely recorded and easy to understand. The bass channel provides a nice amount of rumble. A French 5.1, plus English and Spanish 2.0 channel tracks are also encoded onto the DVD, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.

Animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as some extra features. The extras are as follows Worcestershire Academy Yearbook (Artieís high school cohorts), Big Green Goofs (computer animation errors), Lost Scenes (sequences that never made it to the animation phase), Donkey Dance (very short Donkey music video), Meet The Cast (put a fact to the animated character), Shrekís Guide To Parenthood (parenting tips from the characters), Tech Of Shrek (computers behind the CGI), DreamWorks Animation Video Jukebox (musical clips from the Dreamworks vault), Merlinís Magic Crystal Ball (movie equivalent of Magic 8 ball) and How To Be Green (hug a tree).

While not as biting and hilarious as the second installment, SHREK THE THIRD offers a lot of serious fun. Dreamworks DVD looks and sounds great. If you canít get enough Shrek and Donkey youíll want this DVD as well.



Shrek the Third (Widescreen Edition) (2007)



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2007 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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