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Movie Review

Shrek Forever After also known as “Shrek 4,” “Shrek Goes Fourth,” “Shrek: The Final Chapter,” “The Final Chapter,” “Forever After: The Final Chapter,” “Shrek Forever After: An IMAX 3D Experience,” “Für immer Shrek,” “Shrek—nu och för alltid,” “Shrek 4, il était une fin,” “Shrek Para Sempre,” “Shrek: Felices para Siempre,” “Шрэк навсегда”

MPAA Rating: PG for mild action, some rude humor and brief language.

Reviewed by: David Criswell, Ph.D.
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Family Teens
Genre:
Animation Fantasy Adventure Comedy Kids Family 3D IMAX Sequel
Length:
1 hr. 33 min.
Year of Release:
2010
USA Release:
May 21, 2010 (wide—3,800+ theaters)
DVD: December 7, 2010
Copyright, Paramount Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Paramount Pictures

Donkey in the Bible

Witches in the Bible

Witchcraft

Enchantments

Reviews of other films in this series

Shrek (2001)

Shrek II (2004)

Shrek the Third (2007)

Fun for kids
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Adventures in the rainforest! Learn about the Creator of the universe by exploring His marvelous creation. Fun for the whole family with games, activities, stories, answers to children’s questions, color pages, and more! One of the Web’s first and most popular Christian Web sites for children. Nonprofit, evangelical, nondenominational.
Featuring: Jane Lynch (Gretched), Cameron Diaz (Princess Fiona—voice), Julie Andrews (Queen Lillian—voice), Eddie Murphy (Donkey—voice), Antonio Banderas (Puss in Boots—voice), Mike Myers (Shrek—voice), Craig Robinson (Cookie—voice), Jon Hamm (Brogan—voice), Ryan Seacrest (Father of Butter Pants—voice), Kristen Schaal (Alice—voice), Kathy Griffin (Witch—voice), Gilbert Gottfried (Happy the Hobgoblin—voice), Regis Philbin (Mabel the Ugly Stepsister—voice), Larry King (Doris the Ugly Stepsister—voice), Christopher Knights (Three Blind Mice—voice), Cody Cameron (Pinocchio / The Three Little Pigs / Ogre Triplets—voice), Conrad Vernon (Gingy / Mongo—voice), Walt Dohrn (Rumpelstiltskin—voice), Meredith Vieira (Broomsy the Witch), Mike Mitchell (Butter Pants), Aron Warner (Big Bad Wolf—voice)
Director: Mike Mitchell
Producer: DreamWorks, Pacific Data Images (PDI), Andrew Adamson, Teresa Cheng, Gina Shay, Aron Warner, John H. Williams
Distributor: Paramount Pictures

“The Final Chapter”

After a disappointing outing in “Shrek 3,” the “final chapter,” “Shrek” returns to its roots. It is entertaining, fun, and yes, rather crude at times. Those who have seen the first three “Shrek” films know about what to expect by now. A politically correct take on the fairy tales of old, with a smattering of crudity, jokes about bodily functions, and an angry Ogre as the hero. Perhaps not the stuff for young children, but certainly a popular series with more than a little appeal to the older crowd.

In this “final chapter,” Shrek is tricked into signing a contract with Rumpelstiltskin who changes time and history. In the alternate reality, Shrek was never born and Fionna was never rescued, and Far Far Awayland is ruled by the dictator Rumpelstiltskin and his band of witches, but in the magical contract Shrek has one day to find the new Fionna (who does not recognize him) and wins “love’s first kiss.”

Of course, Donkey is back, but this time around Puss N Boots has gained a little weight and has trouble rolling over or licking his… backside. That brings us to the crude elements which young children should probably not be a party to. There is animated baby nudity, jokes about dirty underwear, ample fart jokes, eating of eyeballs and bugs, and a disgusting joke where it appears as if the baby is urinating in Shrek’s face (he isn’t). Add to this the transvestite barmaid and the introduction of an Ogre cook who has all the stereotypical nuances of a homosexual.

Now, all of this is probably something anyone who has seen the “Shrek” films will expect, but Christian parents should still use great caution in taking young children to see this. Children are much more savvy than we were as kids, in no small part due to the fact that these sort of films “educate” children about these things (e.g., homosexuality, potty humor, etc.) at a very early age.

As to the film itself, Shrek is definitely back to form. The film has much the feel of the first film, as Fionna, Donkey, and even Puss N Boots no longer recognize him. It is by no means a remake and has a vastly different, and even refreshing, plot. Nevertheless, it has the feel of the early films in that Shrek must overcome his baser nature to win the love of his old friends and defeat Rumpelstiltskin.

Shrek is a welcome way to end the series (if it really is the “final chapter”), but it is strictly for older kids and parents. I would advise against young children going to see this film.

NOTE: This review is based on the 2D showing. I despise 3D with a vengeance. Despite the claims, this is the exact same technology used in the 50s. The red and blue glasses were only made for television, since the technology does not work on old TVs. It is fad which grants some “wow” factors, but gets old quickly. The characters all look like cardboard cut outs, and some people report getting headaches. I can’t even imagine what it must have been like to see the “urination joke” in 3D, and fear for those who do.

Violence: Moderate / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: Mild

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—I thought this sequel was ok. Nothing like the original… but then again, it was the newness, the originality, and the clever writing of the first one that impressed me. And the newness is now old, and nothing is original any more.

But, that being said, it was entertaining and actually very clean and family appropriate. I didn’t catch any bad or inappropriate language. There were a lot of really young children in the audience, and they were fussing and restless, and in some places, frightened. So, I would not recommend it for kids under 6 or so (they won’t understand it anyway), and it really is distracting for the rest of the crowd.

My 12 year old thoroughly enjoyed it and giggled throughout. Overall, a nice, clean family film. Some good family morals shown; Shrek longs for his single, free days, but gets his priorities straight in the end. Sorry to see the end of Shrek, but hope Dreamworks can come out with something equally as endearing in the near future!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—LJ, age 48 (Canada)
Positive—As has been stated, if you have seen any or all of the other “Shriek” movies, you should know what to expect, and even so, the filmmakers have successfully avoided the trap of simply re-hashing material from the other films. Familiar characters are back, but they have (dare I use this word?) evolved from their previous (dare I use this word?) incarnations and taken on new personality traits that keep them fresh.

(Note to previous reviewer: Puss In Boots did not put on a “little” weight—he’s a tub of lard!) There is a plethora of jokes, one-liners and sight gags designed to elicit simultaneous laughter and “ewww, gross!” responses. If you keep that in mind, and are prepared for it, “Shrek the Fourth” is a very good evening’s entertainment.

I also saw it in 2-D, and frankly do not see how the addition of 3-D would have made any substantial improvement. The quality of the animation is top-notch throughout; there were times I almost forgot I was watching a cartoon—I mean, ANIMATED FEATURE.

As to the story, it had the comfortable predictability of your standard fairy-tale (which it is, so what else would one expect?), but has enough twists, turns and bumps along the way to make the ride enjoyable. Yes, there are some thoroughly 21st-century politically-correct and possibly offensive ingredients, as previously mentioned, and they should be taken into account before seeing this movie (what’s a fairy tale without witches?).

Having said that, the movie’s message, one of making a mistake, paying for it, and getting the chance to correct it, is quite positive. I agree that very young children ought not to see this film, but 'tweens, teens and adults will all find ample reasons to enjoy it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Keith J., age 55 (USA)
Positive—Although I appreciated the comments here that warn of certain gross parts of the movie, so I could easily avoid them, I was very pleasantly surprised at this final installment of “Shrek.” There was, amazingly enough, LESS offensive material in this chapter of the ogres' tale than in the previous offerings.

It certainly tugged at the heartstrings—it was all I could do to keep from crying at the end. Very well written. Nice to see a female character—Fiona—in a strong role as the leader of the ogre resistant, too! Donkey was hilarious as ever, although it was disturbing to see Puss in Boots so rotund.

You will want to divert your child’s attention for a minute when PIB starts to discuss not being able to clean himself. A stupid little bit in an otherwise good movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Faith, age 29 (USA)
Positive—My wife and I saw it in 3D, thoroughly enjoyed it and had a good laugh as did others in the theater. I am a fan of 3D, when it is done right, and, in this case, it was done right, in my opinion. God created us with 2 eyes, and when they are both functioning, they allow us to have depth perception and see all of our surroundings in 3D, the third dimension being depth. Thank God, we were not designed to look like a cyclops, he surely knew what he was doing.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Howard, age 65 (USA)
Positive—I was given the opportunity, along with my friend, to see Shrek Forever After in IMAX 3D. I walked in hoping that this movie would be better than “Shrek the Third.” I’m pleased to say that I wasn’t disappointed. “Shrek Forever After” was a great movie. The cinematography for this film was just right. I found myself laughing in my seat, which is something that doesn’t always happen to me when I go to the movies. Mike Myers is the only person that could ever play Shrek, and the same goes for Cameron Diaz (Fiona) and Eddie Murphy (Donkey). The acting was well done. The visual effects were top notch, although I expect that when I see a Dreamworks Animation film.

However, though this was a good film it did have it’s suggestive moments, as the reviewer has stated. This film mainly contained potty humor, which in my opinion wasn’t too much of a problem. As the reviewer stated, there is a male dressed as a female, fart jokes, witches (nothing too occult), and a moderate amount of action, so the reviewer is correct in stating that this movie is for older children…not for young viewers.

This movie had a good moral behind it. Sometimes in life we forget how good we have it, as Shrek said, until it is gone. As Christians, myself included, we must be thankful for what God has given us…even in the small things. If you want a good example, I would suggest that one visits the story of Job. Overall, this was a good film. I was a fan of the Shrek series (except for the third movie). Sadly, all good things must come to an end. My final thoughts? Parents, this movie is for older children but is a pleasing and satisfying way to end the Shrek series.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Alexander Malsan, age 20 (USA)
Positive—I am surprised at the commentary on the movie. I’ve seen it 3 times with my son and I haven’t seen nudity in the film, and I wasn’t aware that the cook was portrayed as a homosexual. That must be the commentator’s paranoid perception. Anyway, my 7 year old son doesn’t know anything about homosexuality, and this movie does nothing to steal his innocence away by showing this cook engaging in inappropriate sexual acts with men. That being said, what is the basis to claim he is homosexual? As for eyeballs and bugs, why is that not Biblical? Where in the Bible does it say it is a sin to see an eyeball or see an ogre or a person eat a bug? I’ve taken college level courses on the Bible, both Old and New Testament and I never learned that… I think the movie is fine. My son and I love 3D and we will see it again, and it will not in any way damage our relationship with Jesus Christ to watch Shrek. Lighten up!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Diana, age 35 (USA)
Positive—A good outing for the Shrek franchise. Very innovative, with an advanced time paradox at the heart of the storyline. Lots of references to old songs and movies, all of them very deliberate. It’s genuinely funny, and it has some good things to say about how our selfish desires conflict with our loyalties and duties, and what is truly worthwhile.

Yes, there are references to diapers and bodily functions, but these are, after all, perfectly natural things that happen to all of us. The slight crudity (and the complex plot) probably mean its not for very young children. I don’t know where some reviewers have got the “subliminal homosexual message” from because I certainly didn’t. Frankly a bit more evidence than “all the stereotypical nuances of a homosexual” is needed before you libel writers and actors like that. Any real rather than imaginary downsides? Well, it’s a bit slow in places and there are a lot of characters, which means that many of them don’t have a lot to do, particularly Donkey.

The principle villains, the witches, are a bit bland and one-dimensional, although that may be a deliberate attempt to throw the over the top Rumpelstiltskin into sharper relief.

Overall, though, entertaining film for older children and above.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Martin Bourne, age 49 (United Kingdom)
Positive—After reading the original review from this site I was actually not looking forward to this movie much at all. I was really expecting a wall of coarse joking, sexual innuendo’s etc. Instead… I began to be amazed at how I appreciated Shrek and Fiona. To me Shrek came across as a father who cared very much for his family, but slowly started realizing that he missed some elements of his life back when he was single. It seemed a lot of it revolved around not being a celebrity anymore (and the emptiness of that whole lifestyle) and wanting to stay true to what he was (an Ogre).

He had some good thoughts as it is important not to get caught up in the empty glamour that Hollywood tries to entice us with and it is important that we should stay true to who we are (believers and followers of Christ). But he took it a little far and through the stress of family life, etc. …he allowed himself to get distracted and too focused on himself and eventually got into trouble when he made a deal with Rumplestilskin that backfired in a horrible way.

I saw the cross dressing barmaid briefly in a scene or two, and the effeminate (possibly gay?) chef ogre in a few scenes as well. I kept trying to determine if the Ogre was really supposed to be gay?… or just exhibited some softer traits that we characterize as more feminine… I’m still not for sure. The Ogre’s are pretty high on the testosterone scale, so anything less than that kind of stands out. There was a sexual joke that I caught (when Shrek is explaining to Fiona in the Ogre world about their life together and makes reference to “putting his donkey in her waffle hole”). I really wish that had been left out, because it seemed to be the only overtly sexual innuendo/joke that I remember seeing.

Overall, though, the movie had both my wife and I in tears by the end. The positive aspects of this movie far far outweighed the negatives for us. Shrek’s love for his wife and family is strongly shown as he realizes his mistakes and his consistent pursuit of Fiona as he tries to get back the woman he loves so much was very admirable. His self-sacrifices for her safety were an incredible lesson in what true love is.

I think Fiona is a wonderful feminine example (especially coming from a secular movie company). I felt that she truly loved Shrek, their children and family, and that she was not only very wise, but also steadfast and committed to him and their relationship. She struck me as a woman who would stand up for her husband if he was ever attacked…even if it was from one of her close friends. I think examples like this are pretty rare these days in the movies, where it’s all about “getting yours” and backstabbing your mate (especially if they are male).

After watching the film, I came away feeling I had experienced what Shrek did and realized how incredibly happy I am to have the woman I am married to and our children. I felt the movie helped me to be a better father and husband and plan on buying it for our family when it comes out.

The movie was not perfect (due to the negatives mentioned above), but I felt that the overwhelming positives in this movie really stood out and diminished the few things I didn’t care for about it. With the amount of garbage they put in kids movies these days I think this one was pretty good when lined up against many of the others.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Mike, age 40 (USA)
Positive—This film follows the Shrék tradition perfectly, and, what’s more, it’s a Shréky version of “It’s a Wonderful Life”. And there are quite a lot of positive and Biblical symbolism too. A tempting contract and the lost paradise could be the prominent one. I really liked the movie, though the music score is not as perfect as the first Shrék film, it’s still entertaining, especially “Top of the World” by the Carpenters. The film has all the action, adventure, suspense, and uplifting elements. Enjoy the film.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Cyril Thomas, age 29 (UK)
Positive—“Shrek Forever After” was a good way to end the movie series. Shrek learns the true meaning of love and thankfulness. I don’t think the chef ogre was supposed to be gay, but he was a bit feminine. A lot of violence was slapstick and cartoony, and when it’s not, it’s “Good vs. Evil”. Puss and Donkey did have a few uncalled for moments (Puss asks Donkey to help him clean up, and Donkey does a trick with a pair of eyeballs), but they only last a few moments of the whole movie.

I notice a lot of comments say stuff against the movie due to the presence of witches. As evil as witchcraft is, the witches are the BAD GUYS, not good or morally neutral. What I’m saying is, the evil witches are portrayed as evil and depicted in a negative light; if a movie is going to have witches, sorcerers, soothsayers, etc., at least they are shown to be evil, like the witch of Endor in the Bible. However, the witches are somewhat portrayed as goofy villains, rather than threatening, but, at least, they are clearly portrayed as evil, ungodly, and unattractive to imitate.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Peter, age 22 (USA)
Neutral
Neutral—In regards to David’s comment about 3D: “Despite the claims, this is the exact same technology used in the 50s.” He could not be more wrong. This new system uses two projectors with polarized light and the viewers wear polarized glasses which filter incompatible light thru the filter, it is called STEREOSCOPIC 3D, this is not the standard blue and red glasses we all know. If he is going to hate something with a vengeance, he should get informed if the movie is using stereoscopic or anaglyph technology. Shrek uses stereoscopic, not anaglyph 3D.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Red, age 47 (USA)
Negative
Negative—I do not recommend this movie for Christians. The movie is very dark and sinister with a heavy emphasis on sorcery and witchcraft. I was very uncomfortable watching this moving and wish I would have take my child out of the theater.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—LG (USA)
Negative—I took my two children (ages 10 and 8) to see this the other day and after having seen the first three movies and reading the reviews, I was looking forward to seeing this one as well. The movie began by going back in time showing Fiona’s parents visiting Rumplestiltskin in what I can only assume as being a witch’s coven. This was located in a dead forest or graveyard. This was very dark and sinister looking and although my kids did okay with it, I didn’t appreciate it.

The movie then goes on to show Rumplestiltskin as being a sorcerer, magician, or witch himself. It never does explain but his reliance on deception, trickery and magic is objectionable regardless of its classification. Throughout the rest of the film, Rumplestiltskin’s alliance with the witches is profound. The witches hunt for and lock up the ogres in what used to be the castle in Far Far Away. In one scene there is a large party held at the castle and all the witches are dancing with one another.

Again I didn’t appreciate this element as it is just too dark for my taste. On the lighter side of the movie, the storyline was very sweet and I appreciated the writers reviving the freshness of the first two movies. It was a good movie, but could have been a great one, if they didn’t rely on the witches so much. Had I known there was this much emphasis on witchcraft and magic, I would not have gone to see it. If you take your kids to see this movie, I would emphasize with them God’s warning to stay away from witchcraft, sorcery and magic.

My kids seemed to have a good grasp of this, but it was still disturbing on a spiritual level.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Carrie, age 40 (USA)
Negative—…I am an 18 year old who watched this with my friends. Yes, it was funny… yes, it was entertaining… but, no, it was definitely not Godly, and the way God expounds over and over in the Bible the evil of witchcraft, which is SATANIC, anything to do with witches or witchcraft should not be made into a joke or something we should laugh at or even be watching. I won’t watch it again. “I will set nothing evil before my eyes” —Psalm 101:3.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Jordan, age 18 (New Zealand)
Negative—The flim quality is great, you know that already, but morally it is very dark. I went to see it before I let me kids see it. So it was a no, in my book. I just saw a lot of the occult, not good for kids.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—John, age 38 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—Shrek 4 was great. Both new and old characters played their roles very well. Objectionable content was kept few, and a positive moral was present at the end. I heard only one d-word from Rumpelstiltskin, but it was brief towards the beginning and he spoke so funny and fast it could have be difficult to understand what he was saying…I recommend Shrek 4 to any family looking for a good family movie time!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Emily, age 12 (USA)
Positive—I was skeptical going to see Shrek Forever After. Shrek the Third was a complete rip-off. It was poorly made and boring. Therefore, I was unsure if this movie too would be a waste of time. However, after watching it, I am pleased to say that it was great. Not only was it quite funny (and clean), but it had a great moral lesson. ***SPOILER*** Shrek is unhappy with his life. He wants the old times back, when he was scary and single. However, by the end of the movie he realizes how thankful he is to have a wonderful wife and three “beautiful” ogre children. ***END SPOILER***

Out of all the Shrek movies, this one by far has the best message and is the cleanest. The only possibly offensive part in the movie is at the beginning, when some guy does a kissy face at Fiona’s father. But other than that, it was awesome! Great movie for the whole family!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Corrin, age 14 (USA)
Neutral—It was a good movie, moral wise, and it was very funny, but the storyline was flat. It has a good lesson about being thankful for what you have, because it could be worse.
My Ratings: Moral rating: none / Moviemaking quality: 2
—Sandy, age 15 (Canada)
Comments from non-viewers
Negative—I’m finding a contradiction between the Spotlight review and one [viewer comment] on the Web site. First, the review on Spotlight describes, “A politically correct take on the fairy tales of old, with a smattering of crudity, jokes about bodily functions, and an angry Ogre as the hero. Perhaps not the stuff for young children.” “There is animated baby nudity, jokes about dirty underwear, ample fart jokes, eating of eyeballs and bugs, and a disgusting joke where it appears as if the baby is urinating in Shrek’s face (he isn’t). Add to this the transvestite barmaid and the introduction of an Ogre cook who has all the stereotypical nuances of a homosexual.”

Next there is the [viewer comment], “But, that being said, it was entertaining and actually very clean and family appropriate. I didn’t catch any bad or inappropriate language.” and “Overall, a nice, clean family film.” Perhaps if I were more of the politically correct persuasion I would not see a contradiction between these comments. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good joke as much as anybody—even the occasional bodily function humor. However, I also recognize it when I’m being fed a bill of goods. Given the continual push in our media to support certain “alternative lifestyles” over and above the traditional Biblical family, coupled with the deterioration of families and marriage in our country, I will not be taking my children to see this film. I find it hugely disappointing to hear a parent commenting on a film that apparently follows the typical politically correct agenda of presenting sexual perversion as cute and funny, wholesome, what is often times portrayed in our culture as even more ideal than the biblical family, and then calling it clean and family appropriate. I think that many Christians in this country need to wake up and start thinking critically for themselves, rather than letting the media do the thinking for them.
—Harry, age 38 (USA)
Negative—I agree with Harry. There’s nothing funny about a movie having a little bit of homosexuality or a little bit of crude talk. “A little leaven leavens the whole lump!” (I Cor. 5 and Gal. 5).

Yes, we all pass gas occasionally. Yes, it’s funny. However, Shrek has gone above and beyond this level of humor in both of the previous movies, and I feel confident that this one also has a lot of hidden meaning in its humor and a lot of rude or insinuated comments (Eph 4:29). *IF* I see this movie, I certainly won’t see it in a theater (I’ll wait for the free showings), and I certainly won’t allow my children to see it.
—Chrystal, age 33 (USA)
Negative—I agree with the Harry and Chrystal above. …This movie sounds offensive and is one where it will not glorify the Lord. I appreciate the comments of Christians who base their rating on biblical principles. The Bible should always be our guide in whatever movie or book you spend time in. I will not support this movie of evil subtle messages, it is satan planting seeds in our minds.
—Mike Donnelly, age 52 (USA)
Negative—As a Christian, I take the word of God seriously. Sorcery is an abomination—a stench in the Lord’s nostrils. When I saw Rumplestilskin and then the witches, I gathered up my 5, 7 and 10 year olds and we left the family fun place we were dining in. They were much obliged to not set evil before their eyes and let it into their hearts because it isn’t pleasing to our Lord. Deuteronomy 18:10-12, “Let no one be found among you… who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD…”
—Amber, age 35 (USA)