Tribeca's 'Shrek Forever After' opening awakens (a little of) our inner ogre
But the news that DreamWorks Animation's "Shrek Forever After" will actually open the festival sits a little funny. For one thing, in recent years, Tribeca has opened with rigorous pieces from acclaimed filmmakers (Paul Greengrass' "United 93," in a mourner-attended premiere that was among the most intense film experiences we've ever had) or at least pieces from acclaimed filmmakers (Woody Allen's "Whatever Works").The move also seems to be coming a beat late, with Cannes last year already grabbing much of the thunder for a big animated, 3D opening with "Up" (which, as a piece of original work instead of a four-quel, also didn't quite have the cloud of merchandising hanging so heavily over it).
Finally, the New Yorker in us feels compelled to gently note that the festival's opening-night film has historically tended to include a Gotham slant (e.g., the "Saturday Night Live"-colored "Baby Mama"). An explanatory quote from festival founder Jane Rosenthal, God bless her, feels a little shaky. (“We have always sought to open our festival with films that are captivating and strike an emotional chord with moviegoers.")
A centerpiece slot -- which, notably, it steered away from studio franchises last year -- might have been a perfect place for the new "Shrek." The festival has slotted far more dubious sequels in those slots -- like "Spider-Man 3" dubious. (It also put M:I III" there.) But wasting a venue that can be, and often is, used for original or chancy work on a "Shrek" four-quel seems a bit misguided and has us feeling a little ... green.
-- Steven Zeitchik
Image: "Shrek Forever After" poster. Credit: DreamWorks Animation