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Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Shrek Forever After

What has Mike Myers been up to? Painting KFC's Col. Sanders. Seriously.

May 24, 2010 | 12:13 pm

Mike A decade ago, Mike Myers was ubiquitous. Audiences had embraced his role as the zany, sex-fueled '60s spy Austin Powers, and the actor's face -- and his character's popular catchphrases, like 'Ya, baby!' -- were everywhere.

But since his 2008 film, "The Love Guru," bombed at the box office, the comedian has kept a low profile. He made a small-but-memorable cameo as Gen. Ed Fenech in last year's "Inglourious Basterds" and has worked behind the scenes as the voice of the lovable ogre Shrek.

But with the "Shrek" franchise coming to its supposed end with  "Shrek Forever After," we wondered what Myers' next big career move might be. And much like many of his fans, we wanted to know what the guy's been up to.

Well, painting Col. Sanders, for one thing. 

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'Shrek': Is it really the final chapter?

May 18, 2010 |  3:02 pm

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DreamWorks Animation gave Friday's fourth "Shrek" film almost as many titles as a cat has lives, including "Shrek Goes Fourth" and "Shrek: The Final Chapter" before settling on "Shrek Forever After." The studio is calling it "one 'Shrek' of a finale." But is it really the green ogre's last hurrah?

DreamWorks President Jeffrey Katzenberg acknowledged at the film's Sunday premiere that his animation studio was built by "Shrek," which as a franchise has global box-office revenues in excess of $2.2 billion. While the series' trend is going in the wrong direction--2007's "Shrek the Third" film grossed 15% less than 2004's "Shrek 2"--the prospects for "Shrek Forever After" look enormous.

Opening only against Universal's action spoof "MacGruber" in wide release, the fourth "Shrek" film should play deep into the summer. While at least one analyst says the film could open below expectations, "Shrek Forever After's" overall gross doubtlessly will be boosted by surcharges for 3-D admissions. So assuming (even a bit conservatively) that "Shrek Forever After" grosses about $650 million worldwide, are those the kind of numbers that cause you to throw in the towel?

DreamWorks is developing a sequel with the swashbuckling feline Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas), but some people (including two agents with clients involved in the series) are leaving open the possibility of a fifth "Shrek" movie, even as DreamWorks and distributor Paramount Pictures insist it won't happen.   

“I’m hoping the same thing everyone else is—that they’re going to come back in a few years and go, ‘We were just kidding,’ ” said Cameron Diaz, the voice of Princess Fiona in all four films. After Sunday's premiere, she said she was depressed the series was ending. “I’m really sad, actually. I think yesterday we were all kind of going, ‘Is this really it?’ It’s very sad. It’s something that’s been a constant in all of our lives for so long.”

Said director Mike Mitchell: “I'm sure if this does phenomenal that Jeffrey will make another." 

--John Horn and Amy Kaufman

Photo of Shrek and Rumpelstiltskin in "Shrek Forever After": DreamWorks Animation/Paramount Pictures 


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Preview Review: Everyone's favorite ogre is back in 'Shrek Forever After'

March 15, 2010 | 12:31 pm

Shrek-forever-after When it was announced earlier this month that "Shrek Forever After" would be opening the Tribeca Film Festival, the news was met with skepticism.

While the widely commercial franchise may not be a perfect fit at the smaller film festival, it will still likely be a hit at the box office -- a thought evidenced by a newly released trailer that hit the Internet over the weekend.

The fourth and final installment of the "Shrek" franchise finds the ogre (voiced by Mike Myers) fed up with being a family man. No one in town is scared of him anymore. His kids crawl into his bed every morning waking him up. He's tired of changing diapers.

Enter Rumpelstiltskin (Walt Dohrn), the evil villain who lures Shrek into a mysterious deal so he's transported back to his old life for just one day. Things seem great at first, until Shrek realizes that he's in Far Far Away, a land where Rumpelstiltskin is king and none of his beloved friends -- like Donkey (Eddie Murphy), Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) and even his wife, Fiona (Cameron Diaz) -- recognize him.

One would think that the Shrek character would seem tired by now, but surprisingly, it was nice to see all of the characters again in the trailer. The "Shrek" movies have always seemed to resonate well with both children and adults because of the well-written humor, and the last film seems on target to perform well with both audiences. Some new, generation-spanning voices have been added to the mix, including Megan Fox and Jon Hamm. And then there's the fact that this one will be in 3-D, which has become much more of a theatrical incentive than anyone had ever expected.

But what do you think? Are you tired of everyone's favorite friendly ogre, or are you excited about this latest film in the franchise

-- Amy Kaufman

Photo: "Shrek Forever After" will be released May 21. Credit: DreamWorks.


Tribeca's 'Shrek Forever After' opening awakens (a little of) our inner ogre

March 1, 2010 |  6:29 am

Say what you will about the Tribeca Film Festival, but organizers are always trying something new, particularly with their showcase slots. The festival attempted an unconventional opening night of environmental shorts a few years ago, when "An Inconvenient Truth" was swimming in the cultural waters. It also, at the other end of the spectrum, was willing to become part of the global barnstorming tour for "Mission: Impossible III," a decision few other festivals were bold enough to make.

Shrekfo 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


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