Once again, the story continues soon after the conclusion of the last film. Princess Fiona's father has become gravely ill and announces that Shrek should become the next king in the event of his death. Shrek, however, longs for the comfort of his own swamp and so sets out to find the only other living heir to the throne, the young Artie. Power hungry Prince Charming, meanwhile, has designs of his own on the throne and senses that now is the time to seize it.
While I was a bit disappointed with Shrek 2, I must say that this film is actually quite an improvement. The cast is stronger than ever, featuring the likes of Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas, Justin Timberlake, Julie Andrews, John Cleese, Eric Idle and Rupert Everett.
Graphically, this is also the best looking Shrek movie. The quality of computer animated films is so high these days that it's easy to ignore just how beautiful the images have become. It has been reported that each tree in this film has more than 62,000 branches and over 190,000 leaves individually rendered!
But while the cast and graphics might be great, we know that's not what makes a good film. Luckily, the writers of this one have taken my sage advice on board (yeah right), and dropped the ridiculous onslaught of movie-spoofs they have relied on so heavily for laughs in the past. Instead, they've concentrated on some new, original gags and created a clever pastiche of modern day culture. And while the producers may have lost their director (Andrew Adamson, who is busy mucking up the next Narnia film), they have taken care to keep hold of the good things about the Shrek franchise, such as the clever use of popular music in the films.
So this is still a typical Shrek film – one for all the family and a guaranteed child pleaser, but finally I feel I can recommend this one in good conscience without a little bit of the reviewer dying inside me. Let's hope that Shrek 4 (coming in 2010?) is even better, eh?