The Shrek franchise is one of the more popular animated film franchises. The Shrek films put a spin on the quintessential telling of a fairy tale. The movies revolutionized the Prince Charming and Damsel in Distress ideals, changing the structure audiences have come to expect from stories like these.
In the main series of this franchise, there are four films, six spinoff films and one TV show. One of the four films is the fourth film Shrek Forever After. This film maintains the franchise’s trope of dismantling ideals and reinventing certain stories to fit what might be more realistic.
Shrek Forever After Addresses Life After Marriage
Every fairytale ends with the same byline, which implies that the couple went on to lead very happy lives devoid of problems and completely happy. The Shrek films already established that they do not operate by the same rules as other films in this fairytale industry. In the first film, not only does the monster get the princess but the princess also turns out to be a monster.
The subsequent films explore their lives and how they try to navigate what it means to be ogres in love and with ties to royalty. Each film addresses popular plot points in fairytales and reimagines them to fit within the Shrek canon. Shrek Forever After abides by this and this time, tackles the idea of “happily ever after” while depicting another version of the Shrek universe where Shrek never rescued Fiona.
In Shrek Forever After, Shrek who is now a father misses being a feared bachelor. The strain of fatherhood starts to take a toll on not just him but also on his relationship with Fiona. One day after a fight, he runs into Rumplestitkin who grants Shrek a wish and he goes back to a time when he was still feared. This comes with consequences that Shrek does not anticipate and must fix.
Shrek Forever Presents The Same Characters But in Very Different Circumstances
One of the more interesting things about Shrek Forever After is the consistency of the characters. In the first film, we meet Shrek who is a gruff man who likes no one and will lead a solitary life for as long as possible. This slowly changes as he takes on Donkey as a best friend, and then a horde of mystical creatures, as well as Fiona who all break down all his walls. But Shrek at the core of his being is still who he is, deeply loyal and ready to fight for his loved ones.
In this film, Fiona who was never kissed by Prince Charming, frees herself from the tower and creates a rebellion against the tyranny of Rumpelstiltskin who has Orges imprisoned. Her independence and strength of character remain the same, even in this alternate universe. The only thing she lacks is the vulnerability that she displayed in the first three films but the circumstances of her life differ greatly hindered the possibility of this.
Impact on the Shrek Franchise
Shrek Forever After did not have a very strong impact on the Shrek franchise. It was not a very critically successful film, with some critics believing that the film rehashed some of the earlier points of the first three films and did not introduce any novel ideas. However, the film does deserve to be praised for its consideration of alternate realities.
Its reimagination of a world where Shrek was never born offered insight into how the entire story could have panned out. While Shrek Forever After may not have garnered as much critical acclaim as its predecessors, it did provide an interesting exploration of the consequences of Shrek’s absence. The alternate reality concept allowed viewers to see beloved characters in different roles and shed light on the importance of Shrek’s impact on their lives. Despite any perceived weaknesses, the film’s bold venture into alternate realities adds a thought-provoking layer to the Shrek franchise, making it a noteworthy instalment.
Shrek Forever After Was Not The Initial Conclusion For The Series
Shrek Forever After is currently the final instalment for the main Shrek films but this was not always the plan. The success of the first two Shrek films led to an interest in the creation of third and fourth films. There had been plans for a fifth film but during production the filmmakers reached a consensus to end the story, seeing it as a natural conclusion to the characters. However, in 2018, it was reported that there were talks for the making of a fifth Shrek film. It remains unknown if the fifth film will still be made.