Let's get this out of the way. No disrespect to Dreamwork's but honestly I thought this movie was going to be terrible. The Shrek franchise has been getting tired these past few years; repetitive jokes and pop culture references only go so far and the 3rd film was the greatest example of this.
So naturally, when Shrek (4) Forever After came out, I didn't run to the theater. But sitting in my living room yesterday with an academy screener in one hand and a television remote in the other, I decided to give Shrek Forever After a try. You know what? I quite enjoyed it.
Sick of his repetitive parent lifestyle, Shrek makes a deal with Rumpelstiltskin to get a day off. Due to not reading the contract carefully, this day off happens to be in alternate universe where Shrek was never born. Now he has no friends or family, Rumpelstiltskin is the king, and if Shrek doesn't win Fiona's heart again by sunrise he will disappear forever. Adventure ensues.
Shrek Forever After isn't something to run to the theaters to see, by no means is it cinematic gold, but its heart certainly is in the right place. The jokes are funny (especially one dance number featuring the ogres) and the action is pretty good, but most of all what it is is a fresh take on the franchise. Rumpelstiltskin is a pretty decent villain, though his motives and his means don't really make too much sense. Same goes for Shrek discovering that he was tricked. Technically he never should have realized, but it had to happen so the plot could continue, and honestly, its easier if you don't think about it.
The pop-culture references are much more sparse here than in previous Shrek films, and that is great because it gives time to really explore the land and characters of Far Far Away. Also, early on the ogre babies are got rid of, which is a good thing in my opinion. One thing I would have liked to see is the return of Lord Farquaad. Since the film is in an alternate dimension where Farquaad was never killed, he would have been a fun cameo to see pop up.
Long story short, it's not perfect by any means, but it was a fun watch and if you're home this winter break with nothing to do, you can get a few laughs out watching this. This was a good way to wrap the franchise (as far as films are concerned), and I'm glad Shrek can now get on living his happily ever after.