Shrek the Third: HD DVD Review
Can HD save this very tired, third installment of the loveable green ogre?
The first Shrek was fresh and funny and the second ramped up the animation. This third go around seems tired though; it’s fine for the kiddies but lies like a log for anyone older than tween. And I’m OK with girl power, teen angst and doddering oldsters all tossed in - but where are the clever lines and jokes and pratfalls? All the real humor seems to have been squeezed out and replaced with cliches (yes I get it – the Frog King dies so he’s “croaked”). It’s like the Borsht belt is just one town over from Far Far Away.
That’s not to say I’m not taken with how good the film looks in HD. The splash screen animated menus have a nice 3D look and if you want to see well executed animation with nice body contours and lush details, here you go. The scenery is gorgeous and incredibly detailed, and special effects like water and mist pass by the eye with impressive realism. Plus the animating of the characters is often fluid, resembling Disney’s Snow White on a good day (although there are also times when they shock with their stiffness). And props for the HD format matching the movie experience, because you’re not losing any of the little bits of “business” making up the characters and landscape as even fine details are highly visible.
There’s good use of surrounds so having Dolby Digital Plus adds to the experience, but you’ll be just as covered if using Dolby Digital 5.1. It’s in the extras that things get interesting: tons of them and in high-definition, and actually these tend to be more fun than the movie. This is aided by web-enabled content that consists of Trivia pop-ups that run concurrent with the movie and The World of Shrek which provides character info. There’s also a teaser for Donkey’s upcoming digital coloring book. Downloads are very quick and since they can be updated at any time by the studio, that leaves room to bring in the kind of Shrek-style humor that the movie should have been filled with.
Format reviewed: HD DVD
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Disc Size: BD-50
Aspect Ratio: 1080p, 1.85:1
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Directors: Chris Miller and Raman Hui
Screenwriter: Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman and Chris Miller and Aron Warner
Starring: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas, Julie Andrews, John Cleese, Rupert Everett, Eric Idle, Justin Timberlake, Susan Blakeslee, Cody Cameron, Larry King, Christopher Knights, John Krasinski, Ian McShane
Studio: Dreamworks Animation Home Entertainment