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Non-Review Review: Shrek the Third

The biggest problem with Shrek the Third is arguably reflected in its lead character. Despite producing two sequels, making a boatload of money and establishing a massively iconic franchise, it seems like the creators are unwilling to accept their changed reality. Much like the title character refuses to adapt to his new-found circumstances, and the possibility that he will become a father, Shrek the Third refuses to admit that it has essentially become the fairy-tale establishment that it so sorely ridiculed and mocked. The wry and subversive take of fairy tales championed by the original Shrek is no longer on the outside looking in, but on the inside looking out. Shrek the Thirdjust stubbornly refuses to accept that.

Has the franchise lost direction?

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Non-Review Review: Shrek 2

Shrek 2 is quite entertaining. It’s not nearly as good as the original Shrek, but it doesn’t feel quite as tired or stale as the two films that would follow. There’s still an endearingly subversive streak to the film, and the series hasn’t quite evolved into the very thing it was originally mocking. While it is charming, witty and intelligent, there’s a case of diminished returns. In particular, this time around, the series is growing increasingly dependent on pop culture references and cheesy “in-joke-y” references. While, again, not quite as bad as the two films that would follow, it’s a sign of things to come. Still, despite that, Shrek 2 has its heart in the right place, and continues the original’s spirited deconstruction of the Disney fairytale franchises. It’s only slightly diminished by the fact that it is gradually evolving into one itself.

Happily ever after?

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