Shrek the Third (USA, 2007)
Directed by Raman Hui & Chris Miller
Starring Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas
One of the most disappointing things that can happen to a film series is when commercial pressures begin to dictate the creative shape of sequels. While many film series begin life as cash cows (including many modern comic book adaptations), most series start to lose whatever edge they originally had as they become more successful. The second something becomes a commercial hit, any follow-up tends to play it safe to protect the brand and the dozens of people who are working on it.
Evil Dead 3: Army of Darkness, it misunderstands and waters down its central character every bit as much as, say, Superman III. In the hands of Raman Hui and Chris Miller, the title character is reduced from his substantial beginnings to a hollow and wearisome pastiche.
The Sword in the Stone painted Arthur as a reluctant weed more than forty years earlier, and for all the baggage that Wolfgang Reitherman brings with him, it is a much better film. The Princess Bride toyed with the idea of the prince being a completely pompous slimeball, and while Rob Reiner's film has issues, Prince Humperdinck has more of a motivation than Prince Charming.
The Social Network, but his casting here seems entirely motivated by brand name recognition; he's in the film because he's a hearthrob that will bring in teenagers, not because he can act. Likewise Eric Idle makes the very least of his role as Merlin, which is surprising given his previous dabblings in Grail lore, but entirely unsurprising given his status as a complete sell-out.
The Exorcist and The Brood in less than a minute.
NEXT REVIEW: Ella Enchanted (2004)