A bloated, time-shifted Puss in Boots, viewable in the clip above, and immersive 3-D rounds out Shrek Forever After‘s promise. Which is good, because the Dreamworks franchise has lost much of that promise.
[This is a guest post by Scott Thill.]
Billed as the franchise’s final chapter, Shrek Forever After is bound to rake in millions, just like its predecessors. But it’s going to have to dredge up some serious pixie dust to clear the cobwebs of Shrek the Third, which was torn apart by schizo soap drama, delivered by faltering pop-culture snark to adults and kids in similar doses. The first two installments Shrek and Shrek 2 managed to pull it off, with the help of riotous talents like John Lithgow, Jennifer Saunders and more. The third time, however, was not the charm.
But salvation may have arrived, in the form of 3-D technology and time paradoxes.
When Shrek makes a devil’s bargain with Rumpelstilskin to win a free day of normal ogre-hood, he ends up sacrificing his birthday and enters a time paradox where normal has no meaning. Hence, a morbidly obese Puss in Boots, and other familiar characters skewed strange. It’s so crazy that it just might work. As it has for other franchises, like Justice League, that have become more reliant on parallel-universe intrigue.
As for the technology, Dreamworks’ CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, who produced Shrek the Third but not Shrek Forever After, appeared Tuesday on The Colbert Report to champion the studio’s proclamation that all of its films will now be made in 3-D. He even showed off a pair of next-generation 3-D shades that put their clunky cardboard predecessors to shame.
But he clammed up when Stephen Colbert asked whether a great 2-D film was better than a crappy 3-D movie. So Colbert delivered of his own brand pop-culture snark, which drew cackles from the audience:
Colbert: “Can you give them terrible stuff and make it 3D?”
Colbert: “But you would never do that.”
Colbert: “Because you’re the maker of Monsters vs. Aliens.
It’s a clever exchange, and Katzenberg plays it cool all the way through. But Colbert’s question remains: Will Dreamworks and other studios riding the inevitable 3-D zeitgeist deliver a steady stream of terrible films?
Or will they push the form’s envelope to create immersive worlds and stories that capture our imaginations as well as they empty our wallets? Let us know your answers in the comments section below.