The third film in a series can travel into narrative territory that is not always clear. It can enhance the narrative and the characters, taking both in new directions. It can also be a disappointment if it lacks what its predecessors special.
Shrek the Third (2007) is the sequel to Shrek (2001) and Shrek 2 (2004). With the death of his father-in-law, Shrek (Mike Myers) is now the new King of Far Far Away. It goes without saying that he is not the right person for the job. The next in line is Artie (Justin Timberlake), but he is not exactly keen on embracing his future role. It is up to Shrek, Donkey (Eddie Murphy), and Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) to convince him to accept his destiny.
Meanwhile, Fiona (Cameron Diaz) is pregnant and dealing with a very angry Prince Charming (Rupert Everett), who is planning to take what he believes was his to begin with.
The spark is somewhat diminished if we are comparing Shrek the Third to the first two movies. It’s almost a stretch, but it could be worse. Though my feminist self asks why Fiona, as the child of the King (John Cleese) and Queen (Julie Andrews), is not the next in line (thank you primogeniture), I appreciated that it was the princesses who saved the day.
There are some genres that force both writers and audiences to limit themselves. The science fiction genre allows the opposite, taking the writer and the audience into a world of limitless possibilities.
The 2011 movie, In Time, is set in a future where time is currency. In this world, the average person’s life expectancy is 25. After one has reached their 25th birthday, they are genetically programmed to stop aging. That is, unless one can buy enough time and live forever. While the rich remain young and immortal forever, those not blessed with the ability to buy unlimited amounts of time must get creative on how they acquire and use additional time.
Starring Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried, the film is both a traditional science film and a message movie about class status. What surprised me about this movie is that unlike other singers, Justin Timberlake is not a bad actor. The problem with the movie is not with the premise of the film or the performers, but that the creative time could have lightened up the narrative a little.