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The message is "be yourself," and while that’s been done many times before, it is done to good effect here.

DVD Review: Shrek the Third (Widescreen Edition)

Written by General Jabbo

Shrek, Donkey, and Puss in Boots make their comedic return in Shrek the Third. When Shrek’s father-in-law King Harold (played by John Cleese) falls ill, Shrek has to fill in as king of Far Far Away. Predictably, his kingly duties go horribly wrong as he manages to sink a ship when he breaks a bottle on it and a knighting ceremony with a sword ends badly for the knight to be.

As King Harold lay dying, he tells Shrek that he is giving the kingdom to him. Horrified, Shrek asks if there are any other heirs and in his dying breath, Harold tells him “Arthur.” Though Arthur, played by Justin Timberlake, is not the first choice to be king, Shrek, Donkey, and Puss in Boots nonetheless set out to find him to convince him to become king so Shrek can return to his swamp with his wife Fiona (played by Cameron Diaz).

As the trio sets out to sea, Fiona informs Shrek she is pregnant, adding to his stress levels and causing nightmares of hundreds of ogre babies terrorizing his home. Shrek, played by Mike Myers, is concerned there will be no future for his ogre baby as they aren’t considered “cute and cuddly” and Myers does an excellent job of playing the worried parent.

While Shrek is gone, Prince Charming (played by Rupert Everett) rounds up a who’s who of fairy tale villains to kidnap Fiona and her princess friends. He then attempts to make himself king of Far Far Away. Fiona’s fellow princesses – Snow White, Beauty, Cinderella and Rapunzel (played by Amy Poehler, Cheri Oteri, Amy Sedaris and Maya Rudolph) – decide they are above trying to help themselves and, in Snow White’s words, “assume the position,” standing or lying helpless while they wait to be rescued. Fiona, angered and not knowing if anyone will come to save them, motivates the princesses to fend for themselves and they go after Charming and his crew in a humorous action sequence set to Heart’s “Barracuda.”

Meanwhile, Shrek discovers Arthur, or “Artie” as he prefers to be called, jousting Lancelot at Worcestershire Academy. Artie is an awkward teen who gets picked on a lot and is anything but kingly. Shrek finds in Artie a kindred spirit, as he too was picked on and tells him to ignore the names people call him and just trust who he is. The message in Shrek the Third is “be yourself,” and while that’s been done many times in movies before, it is done to good effect here. Merlin (played by Eric Idle), a past-his-prime wizard turned magic teacher, casts a spell to send Shrek, Donkey, Puss in Boots, and Artie back to Far Far Away where they battle Prince Charming to save the princesses and the kingdom.

Shrek the Third is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 as well as 2.0 Surround Sound. The DVD comes with a number of bonus features, including: A Worcestershire Academy Yearbook, deleted scenes (in sketch form), bloopers, a donkey dance, and interviews with the cast members. Also included is a DreamWorks Kids bonus menu with Merlin’s Magic Crystal Ball, where you can ask questions, a “how to be green” environmental feature, instructions on how to do the donkey dance, and DVD-ROM “Shrektivities.”

About Gordon S. Miller

Gordon S. Miller is the artist formerly known as El Bicho, the nom de plume he used when he first began reviewing movies online for The Masked Movie Snobs in 2003. Before the year was out, he became that site's publisher. Over the years, he has also contributed to a number of other sites as a writer and editor, such as FilmRadar, Film School Rejects, High Def Digest, and Blogcritics. He is the Publisher of Cinema Sentries. Some of his random thoughts can be found at twitter.com/ElBicho_CS

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