Four words say all that needs to be said about Shrek the Third: more of the same. The problem is, what seems fresh and pleasing the first time through starts to feel a little stale by the time we've gone through it three times (not counting video games and an amusement park ride). The recipe hasn't changed: take a few appealing characters, surround them with slightly off-kilter versions of our favorite fairy tale personalities in a land far, far away, mix in some pop songs and hip cultural references, and keep the tone generally light. It worked beautifully in Shrek and was still appealing in Shrek 2. By installment #3, it has become a little tiresome. Kids will still love the big green ogre and his wisecracking donkey, but adults may find that the formula is wearing thin. Shrek the Third is a classic example of a movie that exists because its predecessor made a lot of money. ($436 million domestically, to be exact.) There's no creative reason for this movie to have been greenlighted. It's a mass-marketed product, plain and simple, where product tie-ins fatten an already gorged pot. That's capitalism at work.
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