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May 21, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Although DreamWorks Animation is billing Shrek Forever After as “the final chapter,” several critics are suggesting that it really amounts to the equivalent of a perfunctory, unnecessary epilogue. As Joe Morgenstern puts it in the Wall Street Journal: “Having run its course in the third installment, the franchise jogs and lurches but mostly meanders through a story that tests the limits of true love (Shrek’s, and ours).” That’s a common thread of most of the reviews. “I’ve seen Keebler Elf commercials with more story line,” comments Kyle Smith in the New York Post. “The energy is lacking and the fun feels forced,” writes Claudia Puig in USA Today, who notes that “the pop-culture references and joyous spirit have been replaced by spurts of slapstick and contrived mania.” And Roger Moore in the Orlando Sentinel concludes that the movie “goes down like warmed-over porridge. You don’t have to be Goldilocks to think that this time they’ve cooked their Golden Goose.” A few critics, however, remain enchanted by the character and his exploits. Stephen Cole in the Toronto Globe and Mail writes, “The latest and last Shrek comes to life not because it finally gives in to 3-D (although it does), but because the DreamWorks creative team has transplanted the beating heart of a 1946 film classic, Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life, into the series’ giant green carcass.” Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times also believes that this sequel is an improvement over the last one. She remarks: “Forever After comes back with more heart and much of the kick-in-the-pop-culture-keister cleverness that made the greenish brute such a breath of fresh air when Shrek first blew into town nearly a decade ago.” And Stephen Holden in the New York Times observes that what fortifies the film “are its brilliantly realized principal characters, who nearly a decade after the first Shrek film remain as vital and engaging fusions of image, personality and voice as any characters in the history of animation.”