DVD Review: Shrek the Third (Blu-ray)

Shrek the Third
Blu-Ray Edition
Directed by: Chris Miller
Starring Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Antonia Banderas, Justin Timberlake
Paramount Home Entertainment
Release date: September 23, 2008

Sometimes, trilogies take a great film and make a legendary series out of it. Sometimes… they take what was good about the original, regurgitate it over and over, and the end result is a garbled shell of what made the original entertaining. This latter accurately describes Shrek The Third.

The first Shrek was a phenomenal showcase of how far animation technology has come and a biting lampoon of Disney. The sequel managed to keep the same sharp wit and turned it attention towards the Hollywood subculture. The third time around, the writer went full-potty humor and turned their attention towards… fitting in in high school?

Shrek (voiced by Mike Myers) is set to inherit the kingdom of Far, Far Away, but he doesn’t want the responsibility, especially after learning Fiona (voiced by Cameron Diaz) is pregnant. So he sails off in search of his young cousin Arthur (voiced by Justin Timberlake) to get him to take the throne.

The jokes are lame, and the story has run its course, but the picture still looks good. Animation has benefited the most from the increased picture quality of Blu-Ray, and Shrek really shows why. If you turn the volume all the way down, Shrek the Third is a great looking movie. The colors pop off the the screen and the picture is as crisp as it gets in full 1080p.

For what it’s worth, the sound quality is great, with an English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack (secondary French/Spanish/Portuguese language tracks are also available in 5.1 Dolby Digital).

There are plenty of bonus features, and for the first time in my review experience, some that are actually exclusive to Blu-Ray. A majority of the bonus features are also presented in HD, which is a nice improvement over a vast majority of the Blu-Rays I’ve seen. The bonus features are, however, nothing to get too excited over content-wise.

The titles of the bonus features are somewhat misleading as well. For example, the “Big Green Goofs” are not bloopers of a typical sense. Obviously with an animated film, the biggest flub they could get on tape is a voice talent screwing up a line. But with this being a computer-animated film, “goofs” are essentially computer glitches, clipping errors, incomplete profiles. Watching these bloopers is like watching a computer that needs to be rebooted, plain and simple.

“Lost Scenes” are not like the deleted scenes to which you are accustomed. Making every scene in this movie takes time, lots of it, so they’re not going to put all the effort into creating scenes that will not make the final film. So instead of seeing the scenes themselves, you see the writers talk through the storyboards. Nowhere near as entertaining and you may be thinking. Other bonus features include “Merlin’s Magic Crystal Ball,” which is essentially a magic eight ball with Merlin (voiced by Eric Idle) reading the answers. You can “Learn the Donkey” dance, a short little random dance with Donkey (voiced by Eddie Murphy) giving instructions.

The Blu-Ray exclusive features picture-in-picture of the storyboards along with the feature film, an audio track of Shrek trivia, “The World of Shrek” and the ability to customize your menus. Nothing spectacular, but I have to at least applaud the effort by DreamWorks to put effort into creating some original content for the Blu-Ray release.

Final Score
Movie: D
Picture Quality: A +
Sound Quality: A
Bonus Features: C

Overall, I can’t see this Blu-Ray being worth purchasing, but if DreamWorks put as much effort into the first two films as this one, this release make a good case for purchasing them on Blu-Ray instead.

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