Shrek's 4th keeps series together
Photo courtesy of DreamWorks Animation, "Shrek Forever After" is a strong fourth – and concluding? – entry in the series.

When a movie franchise consists of four films, typically the series stars to fall apart. Examples of the "not knowing when to stop" syndrome are "The Fast and the Furious," "Terminator" and most notably "Indiana Jones."

Every now and then a film franchise, such as the "Rambo" franchise, will go forth and release a successful fourth film. The same can be said for "Die Hard," and now "Shrek"

"Shrek Forever After" is the fourth and final entry in the series about the lovable Ogre (voiced by Mike Meyers). Meyers reprises his role, as does Cameron Diaz (who plays Shrek's wife Fiona), Eddy Murphy as the always-hilarious Donkey, and Antonia Banderas as Puss in Boots. Newcomer Walt Dohrn plays the evil Rumplestiltskin.

This entry in the series revolves around Shrek having a midlife crisis. When things get crazy at his triplets' first birthday party, Shrek is left wishing he could be the feared Ogre he once was for just one day. The evil Stiltskin overhears this and tricks Shrek into signing a contract that will give Shrek a chance to be feared for 24 hours in exchange for him giving a day of his life to Rumple. It turns out the deal is not as simple as it sounded, and Shrek spends his 24 hours trying to restore everything that has fallen apart.

As in the rest of the series, the movie is based in a mythical land where Ogres, talking animals, and fairy tale creatures run amok. This concept was cute in the original; by four, it seems a little bit stale. To me, all of the Shrek movies were just the same characters doing pretty much the same thing in the same place.

This being said, just because the concept is old doesn't mean the movie can't be enjoyable. After all, it's hard not to enjoy Donkey's singing of random songs at inopportune times, and all of the tongue-in-cheek pop culture references the directors throw in.

As it was with the other three films, the best part was the supporting cast of characters, from Pinocchio to the Three Little Pigs and the Ginger Bread Man. Although these characters are not in the film for long, they bring with them some of its funniest moments.

After spending nearly a decade with the same gang of characters, it will be hard for some to let the characters go. However, at least we'll know the characters went out with a successful final run on the big screen.

All in all, Shrek Forever After was a fantastic conclusion to the franchise. A must-see for fans of the franchise and an enjoyable flick for families, although I highly recommend seeing the first three before viewing this film.

Shane Weinstein is a Northwest high school student.

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