Sunday 20 Apr

Dustin Prinz - Eleven

Few musicians take the time to master their instrument in the way that Oklahoma City singer-songwriter Dustin Prinz has; he’s a guitar virtuoso in every sense of the word, and Eleven gives him the chance to show just how far he can push that skill.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Horse Thief – Fear in Bliss

Listening to Horse Thief’s previous release — the haphazardly melodramatic Grow Deep, Grow Wild — felt like a chore. Whatever potential the Oklahoma City folk-pop act demonstrated on the EP was obscured behind a formulaic, contrived and ultimately hollow cloud. But it at least offered a glimmer of promise for a band consisting of, frankly, five pretty talented dudes. Critics saw it; the band’s management saw it; its current label, Bella Union, saw it; and its increasingly fervid fan base saw it.
04/08/2014 | Comments 0

Colourmusic — May You Marry Rich

There’s always a sense of danger when debuting songs in a live setting and playing them well. Without having heard the studio versions, expectations are set according to the live incarnations. But capturing the breadth of free-flowing atmosphere and sheer volume on a disc, vinyl or digital file isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially for a band as vociferous as Colourmusic.
04/01/2014 | Comments 0

Em and the MotherSuperiors — Churches into Theaters

As titles go, Churches into Theaters is an apt descriptor for the debut album from Oklahoma City rockers Em and the MotherSuperiors. It’s a reverential record, one that shares the gospel of classic rock, blues and soul but embraces the need to refashion it for modern times, channeling The Dead Weather, Grace Potter and Cage the Elephant along the way.
03/25/2014 | Comments 0

Rachel Brashear — Revolution

Rachel Brashear’s second EP, Revolution, starts with a kick to the shins.
03/18/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · A housebroken monster wrestles...

A housebroken monster wrestles with complacency in 'Shrek Forever After,' a tale for kids and adults

Doug Bentin May 27th, 2010

I could write three reviews of "Shrek Forever After": one about the animated movie for kids, one about the subtext, and one about the even deeper, more subversive sub-subtext, but the Gazette would ne...

I could write three reviews of "Shrek Forever After": one about the animated movie for kids, one about the subtext, and one about the even deeper, more subversive sub-subtext, but the Gazette would never go for it, so I'll mash all three up together.

What's on the surface is the fourth " and, they tell us, last " film in this quartet of tales about an ogre who finds his inner nice guy and saves the land of Far, Far Away. You don't have to have seen the previous three pictures, as this one opens with enough backstory to allow you to follow what's going on.

Shrek's (Mike Myers, "Inglourious Basterds") domestic life is starting to wear on him. He has three kids and an obnoxious best friend in the form of a talking Donkey (Eddie Murphy, "Imagine That"), so it's no wonder that he feels the need to let his inner monster run loose for a day.

He makes a deal with Rumpelstiltskin (Walt Dohrn, "Shrek the Third"): In exchange for a single useless day from his past, he will receive one day during which he can relive the old joys of terrifying townsfolk and being chased by an angry mob with pitchforks.

But Rump is still the nasty little con man he's always been and what Shrek actually gets is one day in the world as it would exist if he'd never been born. It's "Groundhog Day" blended with "It's a Wonderful Life." Shrek has to become reacquainted with Donkey, Fiona (Cameron Diaz, "The Box") and Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas, "Take the Lead") to save Far, Far Away and return life to normal, all within 24 hours.

It's a perfectly serviceable burlesque, fairly tale plot. Director Mike Mitchell ("Sky High"), a former University of Oklahoma student, fills in the gaps with the usual Shrekian pop-culture references, anachronisms and gags based on the tunes that litter the soundtrack.

I liked the subtext, subtle commentary for adults on what happens when you sign a contract that seems too good to be true without reading the fine print. Subprime lending, anyone? Of course, the contractor turns out to be a weasel " you were expecting Santa Claus?

The sub-subtext may hit husbands and fathers a little close to home. Ever since the first film in this series, Shrek has been moving away from the freedom of his basic nature and becoming tamed by his wife and by civilization in general. By the beginning of this chapter, the play-nice-with-others lifestyle he finds himself stuck in causes him to pop his cork. It's midlife crisis, ogre-style. Has he become domesticated because he wanted to be or because civilized conformity convinced him, against his instincts, that he should be?

I'd like to see one more Shrek movie, one in which the green guy lights out for the territory because he's tasted both civilization and freedom, and finds the latter more to his liking. Huck Finn as ogre. "Doug Bentin
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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