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.
Movies set in an academic setting range from serious to silly to rebellious.
In the 2007 film St. Trinian’s, the school’s reputation for educating the next generation of British women is not the strongest. The students may not care about their school’s less than stellar reputation, but the minister of Education does. He takes on the task of reforming St. Trinian’s, not realizing that a) the school’s headmistress is his ex and b) the effort required to get the school to where he thinks it should be is almost a Herculean task. While this is happening, the school is already in danger of closing due to financial issues. Can the girls save the day by ripping off a well-known painting?
Starring Colin Firth, Rupert Everett, Talulah Riley and Gemma Arterton, the film is not for everyone. But it has strong message about girl power and a cheeky sense of humor that overrides the somewhat lackluster narrative.
Inspector Gadget was a half man, half machine, detective who was not all there. With the help of his niece, Penny and his dog, Brain, they fought against the evil machinations of Dr. Claw.
In 1999, the cartoon made into a film. Stepping into the mechanical shoes of the title character was Matthew Broderick. Brenda (Joely Fisher) is the robotic surgeon who provides the inspector with the mechanical parts. Rupert Everett, as British actors often do, played the villain. Rounding out the cast was Michelle Trachtenberg as Penny.
Were the critics wrong? Unfortunately, they were not wrong. In transferring the cartoon into a live action film, something was lost along the way. The wacky charm and suspension of disbelief that existed in the cartoon was nowhere to be found in the film. And, as usual, Brenda was the classic damsel in distress who has to be rescued.
Do I recommend this film? No. Just stick to the cartoon.