Shrek Franchise Runs Out of Steam

Shrek Forever After, finds Shrek married with kids and in the midst of a mid-life crisis. Missing the angry streak that gave him his ogre-ness, he wishes he had never been born. And it is here that the final installment in the decade-long franchise takes a turn toward It’s a Wonderful Life. For the most part, it succeeds. After the mediocrity of the third Shrek movie, writes Betsy Sharkey of The Los Angeles Times, this movie “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.” Bill Zwecker of The Chicago Sun-Times agrees, though he notes, “you come away feeling this is a good place to wrap things up with this franchise.” But Stephen Holden of The New York Times was not impressed, saying that the Shrek series now just “feels a bit tired at its core.”