Much of the bite and a good deal of the wit of the first two films are missing here. The rude send-up of beloved fairy tale conventions remains -- somewhat -- but these playful jabs no longer come as pleasing surprises. You expect them. And you expect better.
"Shrek" was a success, at all levels, and DreamWorks made money like never before thanks to the two initial films in this tetralogy. Even today, "Shrek 2" remains the most money-making film for the studio. This certainly motivated the production of this film, which will not have disappointed those responsible for DreamWorks since it was almost as profitable as its predecessor. However, and in keeping with the truth this has to be said, it's not as interesting, engaging or pleasant as the previous ones. In fact, I found it even a little boring and the story did not please me in the least.
The script is based on a succession crisis in the kingdom of Far Far Away, where Fiona's father dies and leaves the throne for his daughter, Fiona, and son-in-law, Shrek. It turns out that he does not feel at ease as a king and the search for an alternative heir will fall on a troubled teenager, Arthur, whom Shrek will seek to take the crown. It turns out that, while he is away, Prince Charming will join forces to contest the succession and, in a real coup d'état, become king by force.
The feeling we get after watching this film is that the quality of the story is much lower than in previous films, and everything sounds worn out, boring and uninteresting. It also seems to me a much more adult film than the previous ones, less interesting for children and youth audiences. I, at least, hated the script and the story told. Shrek is a character who won us over in previous films and, for us, is the ideal king for the kingdom, even though he feels unprepared and scared by the inherent responsibilities. Therefore, the question of succession is something that does not please those who liked him, whereas Arthur is a character who never won us over and who only appears in the film because he really has to be. I felt that Fiona is a character that was almost erased from the film in two thirds of its length, only given importance in the final. The idea of the coup d'état is a good one, and I think it would be enough to support the script. I also liked the way Fiona, her mother and the other fairy tale princesses come together to fight a common enemy using the weapons they know best. In the middle, there is a nice plot twist involving one of them, but that is basically all the good that this story has to give us.
Being a film made following the previous two, it inherits most of the voice cast and the technical team that we have seen in these two productions, so there is very little to say or add. It is more of the same, and it is not possible for voice actors to do something, at this point, that we have not seen. The only thing I can add is the addition of Justin Timberlake and Eric Idle, who have given a voice to the characters of Arthur and Merlin, but their work is almost as uninteresting as the characters to whom they lent a voice.
At a technical level, the film is good, but even at this point it seems inferior to the others, undoubtedly hampered by the tiredness of the material with which it works. Visually pleasant and well done from a more technical point of view, it has a good cinematography and beautiful colors, but that's it. Everything else is a reissue of what we already know, with little to add. Personally, I liked the scenes involving the death and funeral of King Frog, Fiona's father, and the use of a song that I really like "Live or Let Die".