With movie trilogies, usually it is the second film which ends up suffering due to either a bad script that can’t live up to the original or the direction is completely off base. While ‘Shrek the Third’ was a box office smash at nearly $800 million worldwide and a $160 million budget, it was panned by critics and fans. ‘Shrek’ and ‘Shrek 2’ were great and really told a very interesting fairy tale of their own even though the ‘Shrek’ franchise borrows a lot from many fairy tales in general. What ends up happening is that we have more of the same with ‘Shrek the Third’ and the jokes only get worse.

The story centers around Fiona’s (Cameron Diaz) father the King (John Cleese) passing away and with the need for an heir to the throne. Yes, the father that was turned into a frog in ‘Shrek 2’ due to his ignorance and being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Little does Shrek (Mike Myers) know that he is the next in line to the throne and this infuriates him. For those that have seen the first two Shrek films, know that Shrek wants to live the easy and relaxing life. Shrek is not one for pageantry; he is from the swamp and loves to bathe in mud. The stress levels go up for Shrek, but it gets even worse for him when he finds out that Fiona is pregnant. The pressures of being a responsible adult for Shrek kick in and this has him stressed to no end as I mentioned earlier.

It is hilarious when Shrek finds out that he can get out of this once the word gets out about Arthur a knight (Justin Timberlake) that might be the real heir. So Shrek and his buddies Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and Puss ‘n’ Boots (Antonio Banderas) plan to find Arthur. While this is all going on, enter the evil Prince Charming (Rupert Everett) from ‘Shrek 2’. Prince Charming tried to steal Fiona in ‘Shrek 2’ to become the heir, but wasn’t successful, so he is going to try and get to Arthur first and claim the crown his.

I am a huge fan of ‘Shrek’ and ‘Shrek 2’ as they really brought something unique to the table, even though they heavily borrowed from other fairy tales. ‘Shrek the Third’ continues the fairy tale from ‘Shrek 2’, but the current culture humor is getting a bit stale. I think that at this point the writing team has squeezed out just about every over the top joke that they can. This is where my comments earlier about movie sequels either being hit or miss can cause the downfall of a franchise. We know that a fourth film is waiting in the wings, and this is where things need to be changed up and go in a different direction if this franchise is to succeed. I think that it can be done by limiting the over the top humor.

The print is presented in 1080p/VC-1 with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. There are no differences between the Blu-ray and HD DVD transfers. Both high definition formats trump the DVD as we have viewed this film many of times. The picture quality is unbelievably clean and pristine with vibrant colors that really make the picture pop. The audio for ‘Shrek the Third’ is presented in a Dolby True HD 5.1 mix, which sounds much better than the Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 on the HD DVD release. With this new mix, all my speakers were working for their money. The dialogue comes out of the center channel very clean and crisp. I found the balance to be mixed very well between the soundfield and dialogue. I am glad that finally more and more releases on Blu-ray are coming with well balanced audio mixes.

Special Features:
All the features from the HD DVD and DVD versions of the film have made their way on to the Blu-ray.
•    Meet the Cast
•    Shrek Tech
•    Lost Scenes
•    Big Green Goofs
•    Shrek’s Guide to Parenthood
•    Donkey Dance
•    DreamWorks Animation Jukebox
•    Theatrical Trailers
•    Merlin’s Magic Crystal Ball
•    Learn the Donkey Dance
•    How to Be Green
•    My Menus
•    The Animators Corner
•    The World of Shrek
•    Shrek’s Trivia Track
•    Donkey’s Coloring Book

If you are a fan of the ‘Shrek’ franchise, I recommend viewing ‘Shrek the Third’. The many times that my kids have watched all 3 ‘Shrek’ films on DVD, I should be a millionaire by now if I was paid for each viewing. HD DVD owners, I would only recommend an upgrade if you want to get a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 sound mix. I look forward for what DreamWorks has in store with the next Shrek film.

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