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'Shrek Forever After': the Value of a Good Villain

Janeen Mathisen

Posted on April 5, 2020 18:26

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Is this movie still worth the watch so longer after its first release?

Dreamwork’s fourth Shrek entry, Shrek Forever After, is the most recent title to grace one of the latest streaming services. IMBD TV is a new media platform that allows you to stream movies, television shows, and even entertainment news with a Fire TV.

Is Shrek Forever After merely an obligatory title to add some padding to IMBD’s “Movies of the Week” selection? Or is it actually any good? Despite being ten years old, Shrek’s final movie is still worth one’s viewing time all these years later. Sparingly-placed pop-culture references and songs serve to strengthen the story rather than break immersion. The well-crafted story and characters are the stars of the show. Its strength comes from performing a simple story well-told, with narrative details and stakes to keep viewers engaged from beginning to end.

The once-feared ogre, Shrek, is now married and has a family. He soon finds himself yearning for the glory days. He makes a deal with the classic fairytale mischief-maker, Rumplestiltskin, who, in a clever twist, is now a penniless nobody because everyone distrusts his deals. Everyone except for Shrek, whose craving for the freedom of his old lifestyle causes him to sign his life away with a Rumplestiltskin contract. The rest of the plot is inspired by the alternate-universe woes of It’s a Wonderful Life. Far from assumptions of blandness, the plot is executed in an original, emotionally engaging, and genuinely refreshing way.

Rumpelstiltskin is the stand-out star of this movie because of the excellent threat he presents. His character writing bursts with effective details that make him memorable, like the odd affection he has for his gigantic golden goose minion, or that he gives egotistical cupcakes to everyone in staff meetings and changes wigs based on his mood. The film is as engaging as it is because of the tension he gives it, through plot developments and individual character moments. He prances around with a whimsical attitude that makes his darker side even more sinister. 

Rumpelstiltskin doesn’t only mistreat the film’s good guys, but casually inflicts pain upon his own underlings, even outright killing one of them and heightening his presence in the narrative with such acts. He is a genuinely threatening villain and makes Shrek’s uphill struggles riveting to watch. He outright revels in the fact that Shrek’s wife, Fiona, doesn’t know who he is; he finds joy in the rock-bottom misery and fury of those from whom he’s already stolen everything. He’s a malicious creature down to his very bones. Done right, simplicity in an antagonist is equally as ominous as complexity. 

Dreamwork’s Shrek Forever After is filled with clever character writing, both in its heroes and villains, from start to finish. Good writing does not age. IMBD TV is a new service with a new heap of movies to watch, and sometimes choosing one can be difficult. However, Shrek Forever After is a great addition to their selection.

Janeen Mathisen

Posted on April 5, 2020 18:26

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