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Shrek The Third

review by Zach B.

 

 

MPAA Rating: PG (For Some Crude Humor, Suggestive Content and Swashbuckling Action)

Running Time: 92 Minutes

Starring the Voices of: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas, Justin Timberlake, Eric Idle, Julie Andrews

Screenplay by: Jeffrey Price & Peter S. Seaman and Chris Miller & Aron Warner
Story by: Andrew Adamson
Based upon the book by: William Steig

Directed by: Chris Miller
Co-Directed by: Raman Hui

 

Studio: Paramount

Retail Price: $29.99

Features: Worcestershire Academy Yearbook, Big Green Goofs, Lost Scenes, Donkey Dance, Meet The Cast, Shrek's Guide To Parenthood, Tech Of Shrek, Animation Video Showcase, Merlin's Magic Crystal Ball, How to Be Green, Learn the Donkey Dance, DVD-ROM Shrektivities 

Specs: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround, Spanish Dolby Surround, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scenes (18 Scenes)

Released: November 13th, 2007

 

 

Other than the contrast seems to be a bit on the high side (resulting in a little bit of noise) and some edge halos, this is a gorgeous anamorphic widescreen transfer. The outstanding computer animation looks amazing and really pops right at you. Color saturation is deep and looks quite pure - be it the greens of Shrek and Fiona, or the blues of the high seas. Black levels are solid, and detail is incredible - just check out the strands of hair on Puss In Boots, or the bricks that make up the dungeon the princesses get trapped in. There's no edge enhancement either, and everything looks remarkably sharp. Well done.

 

Surpassing the transfer ever so slightly in the English Dolby Digital 5.1 track, and boy, this is a boisterious and lively mix. Dialogue is incredibly crisp and clear, while the music in the movie - such as the ending pop song rendition and Harry Gregson-Williams' lovely score - breathe will full life and much power through the channels. However, it really is the plentiful surrounds in the film that that make this mix stand out. Nearly all the sound effects sound remarkably discrete, and pack quite a punch. Sequences such as the princesses storming the castle, a disastrous boat ride and the climactic stage show have great imaging, and surrounds that really envelope and enclose all around. Even the subtle surrounds sparkle, like rain falling or horses galloping. The track also gets other notable components right too: wonderful use of the subwoofer, strong dynamic range and all of the sound elements are evenly mixed - nothing overpowers anything else throughout the proceedings. I wasn't crazy about "Shrek The Third," but this is one of the most exciting Dolby Digital mixes I've heard in a very long time.

Also included are Dolby Surround tracks in English and Spanish and a French 5.1 Dolby Digital track. There's English closed captions, plus subtitles in English, French and Spanish. 
 



The first two "Shrek" films on DVD were pretty outstanding releases in the supplements department. Unfortunately, "Shrek The Third" seems to lower the bar a bit in comparison. DreamWorks seems to know where the appeal of this movie really lies: the kids. Hence, many of the extras are geared toward them.

First up is the Worcestershire Academy Yearbook. This is kinda cute, where supplementary characters from Artie's school get a little fleshing out: cheerleaders, mascots, and the members of all sorts of clubs give you recorded lines of their interests, desires, quotes and more as if this was an actual yearbook. Personally, I would have preferred if DreamWorks made a CGI short with these characters parodying teen angst series.

Big Green Goofs is a 2 minute "blooper" reel showcasing CGI mess-ups, while Lost Scenes has three sequences that were cut from the movie - all in storyboard form. The screen is divided into three sections, as key creative personnel from the movie "pitch" the sequences. The top frame has the actual storyboard, the bottom left the actual pitcher pointing at each board, and in the bottom right frame reaction from the staff. The scenes wouldn't have added much to the movie, but are still fun to watch. I really liked the inclusion of seeing the reactions of those working on the movie.

Donkey Dance has Eddie Murphy showcasing his vocal talents in a Men At Work parody, and then there's the 10 minute and 40 second Meet The Cast. It's a rather fluffy look at the voice actors, who talk about their characters, and the characters they enjoy in the movie. Everyone's here: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas, Eric Idle, Julie Andrews, Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake, Maya Rudolph, Cheri Oteri, Amy Poehler and Amy Sedaris. Also chiming in are some of the producers, and there's a little a bit on how a short musical bit was recorded with actual students from the band at John Burroughs High School. It's watchable, just don't expect to learn too much.

Shrek's Guide To Parenthood is quite superfluous, as four Shrek characters (Donkey, Puss In Boots, Pinocchio and Gingy) give short little tips to Shrek and Fiona in how to raise their children. Tech Of Shrek is the only other featurette on the disc, and is accessible for all age groups - but probably skews to those really interested in how these films come to life. A bunch of animatiors, art directors and visual effects supervisors discuss the technical innovations made in animation for this installment: mainly that the hair is now more realistic, as are such elements as water and gasses. The background characters are also more detailed now, too.

I should also mention that there's the DreamWorks Animation Video Jukebox, which is a sly plug for many of their other animated movies (all available on DVD, of course). Rounding the set out are some games and activities (Merlin's Magic Crystal Ball and Learn the Donkey Dance), a guide to being more environmentally friendly (How to Be Green) and some DVD-ROM "Shrektivities."  

 

"Shrek The Third" is certainly the weakest installment of an overrated franchise, and it's too bad DreamWorks has no plans to cease Shrekmania anytime soon. As far as a DVD release, despite the exceptional transfer and reference quality 5.1 mix, the extras are pretty disappointing (and really aimed at the kiddies). If you liked the movie or have kids, then I'm sure you - like millions of others - will be adding this to your collection. Still, I'm not way if this mediocrity will hold anyone over until 2010, when "Shrek 4" is due.