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Shrek Forever After
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Theatrical release poster
General information
Title

Shrek Forever After

Length

93 Minutes

Release Date

May 21, 2010 (US)

Release on DVD

December 7, 2010 (US)

Genre

Fantasy/Adventure/Comedy/Drama

Production information
Directed by

Mike Mitchell

Produced by

Gina Shay
Teresa Cheng
Andrew Adamson
Aron Warner
John H. Williams

Starring

Mike Myers
Cameron Diaz
Eddie Murphy
Antonio Banderas
Walt Dohrn

Preceded by: Succeeded by:
Shrek the Third Shrek Forever After Puss in Boots
Rumpel's castle

Rumpelstiltskin's castle

Shrek Forever After, formerly known as Shrek Goes Fourth and also known as Shrek 4- or Shrek: The Final Chapter or Shrek Forever After: The Final Chapter (or simply The Final Chapter), is a 2010 American computer-animated fantasy comedy produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by Paramount Pictures. It is the fourth installment in in the Shrek franchise, and was initially billed as the final film in the series.

Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, and Antonio Banderas reprise their roles, joined by other returning actors and newcomers. The film was released on May 21, 2010, and was also viewed 3-D in some theaters.

Plot

The film opens in a storybook with King Harold and Queen Lillian (Fiona’s parents) going to see Rumpelstiltskin to find a way to free Fiona from the tower from the first movie. In exchange, they agree to sign over their kingdom to him. But before they sign the contract, a messenger arrives and tells them that Shrek has saved Fiona, angering and upsetting Rumpelstiltskin before Shrek brings Fiona to Lord Farquaad of completing the deed to the swamp and let the fairy tale creatures go back to their homes. Back to the present, Rumpel is shown to be reading the book in a store, angry that he didn't get the kingdom and take over the land. Pinocchio kicks him out of the store after he tries to offer him a deal to make him a real boy and calls him "Grumpel Stinky Pants". He angrily wishes Shrek was never born.

Shrek is with Fiona and their three children, living a happy and content life in the swamp. Or so it looks at first. It's shown to be the same routine for Shrek day after day, with no rest or time to himself. Shrek and the gang go back to the kingdom of Far Far Away to celebrate their kids' first birthday at the Candy Apple (formerly the Poison Apple). All the villagers who used to fear him are now clamoring fans and treat him like a big celebrity and they told him to sign their pitchforks and torches. They can also tell him when he was a real ogre which it makes Shrek surprised and confused. After the three little pigs eat the birthday cake (as well as a backup cake and a set of cupcakes) and an annoying kid named Butter Pants bothers him about doing the ogre roar, he furiously unleashes a mighty roar and angrily smashes the new cake after Puss makes magic from his cape, as the cake has a glittery "cute" ogre on it, which simply serves to remind Shrek of what he has lost. Shrek and Fiona go outside to talk.

Shrek is angry that he is no longer a real ogre or has any privacy, but Fiona tells him that he's not the ogre he used to be as it's not such a bad thing. And Shrek knows that it's not like Fiona is a real ogre, because she spent the first half her life in a palace, and the other half of being locked away in a tower. This causes him to uncharacteristically wish that his life were how it was before he rescued Fiona. Fiona is hurt and tells him he has everything, but Shrek is the only one that can't see that. Eavesdropping on this conversation nearby is Rumpelstiltskin. On his long trek back home, Shrek passes by a fallen over carriage and lifts it to find Rumpelstiltskin. Shrek fixes the carriage and in exchange, Rumpelstiltskin offers Shrek a ride and some food and drink. During the ride, Shrek tells him he wishes he could be a real ogre for just one day. Rumpelstiltskin offers him a contract offering him just that. In exchange, Shrek is going have to give up a day: they agree that it will be a day from his childhood, a day he wouldn't even remember, when he was an "innocent, mindless little baby". Shrek signs the contract and everything around him swirls around and disappears landing him in the center of the forest.

A tour group drives by and they react in fear and crash into a tree. The villagers are afraid of him again as shown in a montage of Shrek happily scaring villagers and animals. As Shrek walks through the forest, he notices that the wanted posters are not just pictures of him, but more pictures of Fiona as well. He runs back to his home in the swamp to find it has never been excavated from the hill it was into the house it should be. A band of witches fly by the area and see him. They attack, knocking him unconscious and capturing him. He wakes up in a trolley cage being driven by witches and dragged by Donkey. Shrek tries to ask him what is going on but Donkey doesn't know who Shrek is. Shrek eventually gets the information out of Donkey that he is being taken where every ogre is taken, to Rumpelstiltskin.

Far Far Away has become rundown and decrepit except for Rumpelstiltskin's enormous and luxurious palace. Inside the castle, it’s like a dance club as Shrek in chains is marched across the dance floor to the throne of Rumpelstiltskin. Pinocchio begs him to be a real boy but he gets dragged away before he can finish signing the contract, thanks to Shrek, the far more important person to deal with at that time, being dragged in. Rumpelstiltskin sees Shrek and thanks him for making everything around him come true. He reveals that the contract that the King and Queen signed ended up having their existence taken away when they signed away the kingdom to Rumpelstiltskin, as they had wished for their worries to disappear. He reveals to Shrek that the childhood day that he took away was the day Shrek was born, and as such, when the day ends, Shrek will disappear forever as in this new reality he has never actually existed; ultimately, his three children don't exist by extension. Enraged, Shrek breaks free and steals one of the witch’s broomsticks and escapes with Donkey, against his will.

Shrek and Donkey crash land in the woods somewhere. Donkey, fearful of ogres just as any other citizen would be, attempts to flee, but Shrek stops him from successfully running away. Shrek tries to convince Donkey to trust him by poorly singing a showtune and smiling, but the attempt fails. Donkey runs away screaming. Shrek sits alone on a log, and a squeak emanates from his pocket. Pulling the item out he discovers that he had brought his daughter's little ogre doll and starts crying. Donkey sees this. Having never seen an ogre cry before, he chooses to trust him. Shrek tells him that he signed a contract with Rumpelstiltskin, which Donkey says he should never have done. Donkey then tells him about the exit clause which used to be guessing Rumpelstiltskin's name but they don't do that anymore since everyone knows his name now. Donkey shows Shrek the hidden exit clause in the contract by folding the contract in a certain way - at least in this case, as an origami heart. The way to break the contract is to share true love’s kiss, which will render the contract null and void. Shrek has to share a kiss with Fiona but doesn't know where she is so he rushes to the fortress where he rescued her in the first movie. When he gets to the top of the tower, he finds it empty and on the wall a tally of the innumerable days she spent up in that tower. He is also surprised to see that she left her crown behind on her bed.

Shrek also finds a handkerchief that belonged to Fiona, which was originally a token of her love to him. He gives it to Donkey so he can sniff her out. Despite trying to explain to Shrek that he is in fact a donkey and not a dog (as otherwise his name would be "Dog" and not "Donkey"), he smells something but his nose just leads him to a plate of waffles. Shrek tries to stop him, telling him how obvious of a trap it is, but Donkey tastes it anyways. Licking the syrup caused the trap to trigger as a log forces Donkey into a hole under the stump. Shrek follows Donkey through it underground, where he finds an entire community of ogres who make up the resistance to free Far Far Away and ogres everywhere. The warrior leader of this group turns out to be Fiona. As one might expect (except for Shrek himself) she doesn't recognize him. He tries to explain the situation to her but he does it poorly. Before he can continue, witches patrol by their little village.

Rumpelstiltskin has a meeting with the witches. He threatens them with a goblet of water in order to get Shrek before he kisses Fiona. They decide to hire a professional bounty hunter. Fiona tells her meeting of ogres that Rumpelstiltskin will lead the Ogre Hunt himself. They plan to ambush him now that he’s out of the safety of his castle, something he has not done before. Shrek plans to get Fiona to fall in love with him all over again so she will kiss him. When Shrek goes to Fiona’s room, he finds a morbidly obese Puss in Boots, who has retired and since gone soft, becoming, in effect, Fiona's pet. Fiona finds Shrek in her room. Shrek gives her a gift basket in order to woo her. It doesn’t work and she kicks him out. The bounty hunter Rumpelstiltskin has hired is the Pied Piper. Using his flute, he is able to manipulate any person or creature he sets his flute to, demonstrating by setting the flute to witches and making the witches break dance against their will.

Shrek finds out from the other ogres at dinner that the usual romantic gestures won’t work with Fiona and that the only thing she really cares about is getting rid of Rumpelstiltskin. Shrek tries to get closer to Fiona by feigning interest in the armory weapons. They end up sparring and having a good time with each other. Before he can get too close, she snaps out of it and orders him to get ready for the mission. Puss catches up to Shrek telling him that he saw a spark in Fiona that means Shrek is truly Fiona's true love. Shrek tells Puss that he knows about Fiona's curse.

At the ambush, the ogre band disguises themselves to wait for Rumpelstiltskin's caravan to pass by while Fiona moves to and lookout post to provide the group with the signal they will use to attack. However, Shrek ignores the plan and instead follows Fiona up to her lookout, where he proceeds to tell Fiona everything he knows about her including the curse. With Fiona distracted, the signal never comes to the rest of the ogre band, and Brogan grows impatient and takes it upon himself to issue the order. The ogre band rush out to take down the carriage only to find it empty. It turns out that the caravan is a trap laid by the Pied Piper, who proceeds to force the ogres into a dance number (of which only Cookie enjoys). Meanwhile, Shrek and Fiona start dancing randomly, unknowing of what has occurred. Donkey and Puss ride down the hill and grab Shrek and Fiona (they are unaffected by the Piper's magical flute because it must be attuned to a specific type of being to function against them, and it is currently on an ogre setting which only affects ogres). They try to ride them away from the music but end up falling into the river.

On dry land, Fiona tries to go back to her friends but Shrek insists that she kiss him in order to save her friends. She kisses him but it doesn't work. Nothing happens. Fiona tells him it's all a big fairy tale and that she got herself out of the tower. She leaves. Shrek realizes that the kiss doesn't work because Fiona is not in love with him in this reality. She was never rescued like she was supposed to be, and became disheartened and stopped believing in love.

Rumpelstiltskin takes to the airwaves across all of Far, Far Away and tells the populace that he will give them their wildest dreams in exchange for Shrek and Fiona. Shrek finally realizes that he didn't realize how perfect he had it until it was all gone. Gingerbread Man tries to collect his bounty from him and tells him about the deal. This gives Shrek an idea, but before he can ask Gingerbread Man an important question, Puss eats him. Shrek turns himself in, in order to get the deal of a lifetime, which Rumpelstiltskin offered to whosoever turned Shrek in. He makes a deal with Rumpelstiltskin to free all the ogres. He keeps Fiona, however, because she's not all ogre, due to her curse. Rumpelstiltskin keeps them chained in the same room but across the room, relishing his victory. They are incapable of reaching each other because they are chained through the walls to one another, so if one person pulls forward, the other person is dragged back. Fiona is very enthralled by Shrek's attempt to save her.

Donkey, Puss, and the ogres make a plan on how to free Shrek and Fiona. Meanwhile, in the large room that Shrek and Fiona are chained up, Rumpelstiltskin unleashes Dragon. Donkey, Puss, and the ogres break in and cause chaos as they try to save Shrek and Fiona. Donkey and Dragon almost fall in love all over again (likely because Shrek had already revealed to Donkey that she was his wife) but instead of kissing him, the dragon attempts to eat him; however, Puss saves Donkey by stabbing Dragon with his rapier.

Shrek and Fiona work together to chain up and defeat Dragon. The ogres corner Rumpelstiltskin but he tries to escape on his goose. Shrek lassos the goose and brings him down to the ground. The ogres have won the battle. However, the battle is won at daybreak and as such, Shrek begins to disappear from existence. Shrek tells Fiona all about their life together and their kids as he's disappearing. He tells her that enjoying falling in love with her all over again was the best part about the whole reality. She kisses Shrek just as he disappears. As the sun rises, Shrek begins to fade from existence, but Fiona, having fallen in love with him all over again, kisses him just before he disappears completely, which nullifies the contract and restores everything back to the way it was, right before Shrek lashed out at everyone, apparently erasing Shrek and Fiona's argument from existence. Shrek embraces his friends and family with newfound appreciation for everything he has, truly living happily forever after.

Cast

3544 19 large

Additional Voices

Production

In 2007, the film was initially planned to be a standalone feature titled Shrek Goes Forth, and was to be followed by a fifth installment. Then-DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffery Katzenberg explained, "Shrek goes out into the world, forth!" hinting at what the film could possibly entail. However, it was retitled Shrek Forever After in May 2009, and implied to be the final entry in the Shrek series. This would be confirmed later that year, with new promotional material calling it "The Final Chapter," and DreamWorks' head of creative production Bill Damaschke claiming "All that was loved about Shrek in the first film is brought to the final film." It also confirmed the initial plans for a fifth film finale was scrapped.

Tim Sullivan was initially hired to write the screenplay in 2005, but was later replaced by Darren Lemke and Josh Klausner. At the time, neither writer was made aware of a potential plan for the fourth film to be the last. Klausner was quoted saying "When I first came onto the project, it wasn't supposed to be the final chapter—there were originally going to be 5 Shrek movies. Then, about a year into the development, Jeffrey Katzenberg decided that the story that we'd come up with was the right way for Shrek's journey to end, which was incredibly flattering." Soon after, Mike Mitchell was brought onboard as director, and unlike the previous installments, would be the only one to helm the project.

The voice acting process would primarily take place in New York City, with all of the production being moved from Pacific Data Images to DreamWorks' Glendale campus. While the film remained largely unchanged from its initial plot structure, various story elements and character features were dropped throughout production. Having been previously seen in Shrek the Third, Rumpelstiltskin was reconceived with rat-like features before settling on a more humanoid appearance. Various actors including Paul McCartney were also on the shortlist to portray the character until the head of story, Walt Dohrn, took on the role. A new ogre character was also considered named Gnimrach, and intended to be Fiona's love interest in the alternate dimension. He was later reworked into Brogan and became the right-hand to Fiona, with the original name being used for a different ogre.

Flashbacks including a glimpse into Shrek's teen years and a backstory for Fiona and Puss' relationship were also color scripted but ultimately scrapped. Multiple scenes had also been drafted or fully animated before being cut, with "Fairy Tale Creatures Attack" coming closest to reality. Due to the dark set piece and bloated structure, it was reworked into the encounter with Gingy. The most notable changes however came with the initial return of characters Arthur Pendragon and Lord Farquaad. The former was cut due to his actor, Justin Timberlake, being on tour during the recording sessions- and thus, couldn't reprise his role. Three storyboard sequences were already drafted prior to Arthur's removal and was important to Shrek's overall arc. Meanwhile, Lord Farquaad was cut for potential timing reasons and what role he would've had is currently unknown.

Much of the cast expressed genuine sadness for the film being the last one in the Shrek series at the time. Cameron Diaz was quoted saying "I think it's something we're all proud of," further lamenting on Shrek Forever After being the end. Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy also went on record to state that they'd be willing to continue voicing their characters for more installments if this wasn't the last one.

Reception

Much like the previous film, Shrek Forever After received mixed reviews from critics and audiences. Criticism was directed towards its clichéd story and poor pacing, although it was considered fun, dark and heartfelt despite the setbacks. It was unanimous from most viewers that regardless of quality, it was a big improvement over Shrek the Third. Some however were more critical, even going as far to call it the worst installment and the nail in the coffin for the franchise. However, the film's reception began to improve years later, with some fans considering it an underrated gem. Although there are still detractors (mostly casual viewers) who dislike the film for the same reasons back in 2010.

The film would open on its first weekend to $70.8 million, which was much less than what was projected (around $105 million). Despite this, the film was still #1 at the box office, and would continue to increase its revenue- still being considered a blockbuster success. It would gross $756.2 million at the end of its run.

Callbacks/References to Previous Films

Various callbacks and older lines to the preceding installments are present.

  • While not appearing physically, a selection of Shrek the Third's former villains appear in the storybook opening. Including Captain Hook, Cyclops, the Witches, and one of the Evil Trees.
  • Shrek exclaims, "This is the part where you run away!" to a crowd of terrified villagers. This is a direct line from the first film when Shrek scares the Angry Mob.
  • When Shrek is being swarmed by the witches, he yells "What are you doing in my swamp?!" It is an obvious callback to his iconic line from the first film when the fairy tale creatures invade his swamp.
  • A visual homage is seen when Shrek goes to the drained Dragon's Keep. Donkey steps on the rickety bridge, and a downward shot shows parts of the bridge falling with Donkey looking down- a direct reference to the famous shot in the first film.
  • Fiona's handkerchief, a symbol of Shrek and Fiona's love, is shown in both realities, although with a different design alluding to the Duloc color scheme.
  • Donkey's love of waffles is shown when he spots a freshly made stack in the forest of the Ogre Resistance.
  • One of Puss' catchphrases is twisted by the alternate Puss. He says, "Feed me, if you dare.." when seeing Shrek for the first time.
  • The Pied Piper is brought back from the first film, reintroduced as a bounty hunter tasked to capture the ogres (particularly Shrek and Fiona).
  • When Shrek is telling Puss about Fiona's curse, he recites the rhyme associated with the spell, which was only spoken in the first film prior.
  • In a role reversal, Pinocchio is trying to turn in his father, Geppetto, to Rumpelstiltskin. This is an extension of the joke in the first film where Geppetto turns in Pinocchio to Lord Farquaad's army.

Songs

Songs Not Featured in the Soundtrack

Gallery

Shrek Forever After/Gallery

International Titles

  • Shrek Para Siempre
  • Shrek Felices Para Siempre
  • Shrek Para Sempre!
  • Shrek 4: Il Était Une Fin
  • Shrek Voor Eeuwig En Altijd
  • Für Immer Shrek
  • Shrek E Vissero Felici e Contenti
  • Srek 4: Sonsuza Dek Mutlu

Fifth Film

In February 2014, in an interview with Fox Business Network, Katzenberg hinted that a fifth film could still be made, saying, "We like to let [the characters] have a little bit of time to rest. But I think you can be confident that we'll have another chapter in the Shrek series. We're not finished and, more importantly, neither is he." However, this would only be an in-development idea, as DreamWorks was currently going through an economic downturn, management shifts, and a focus on newer properties such as Trolls.

On June 15, 2016, after NBCUniversal purchased DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 billion, NBCUniversal's president and chief executive officer Steve Burke discussed plans to revive the franchise, as well as other DreamWorks films. In July 2016, The Hollywood Reporter cited sources saying that a fifth film was planned for a 2019 release. In September 2016, Eddie Murphy confirmed that the film was expected to be released in 2019 or 2020, and that the script had been completed. In October 2016, Mike Mitchell stated that Austin Powers screenwriter Michael McCullers had written a script based on his own original idea. In March 2017, asked about the script, McCullers said it featured "a pretty big reinvention" for the film series, and was "very personal."

On November 6, 2018, it was reported by Variety that Illumination's CEO and founder Chris Meledandri had been tasked by Universal Pictures to produce both Shrek 5 and Puss in Boots 2, with the original cast expected to return. However, word of the film grew silent, leading to the possibility that a fifth installment was shelved once again. Rumors further circulated that Meledandri's company, Illumination, would handle Shrek 5, thanks to a lack of updates. This would later be proven false, as neither DreamWorks nor Illumination had the project in their respective development slates. Meledandri being offered a role to oversee both Illumination and DreamWorks Animation (a position he turned down) may have started the rumor.

In May 2022, in a interview by GQ, Mike Myers, expressed his interest in wanting to do more Shrek films, stating: “If I had to do one ‘Shrek’ a year I’d be thrilled”. Later that year, a standalone legacy sequel titled Puss in Boots: The Last Wish was released to critical acclaim and box office success. Among several cameos, an ending implied either Shrek 5 or a third Puss in Boots film. Though it hasn't been officially confirmed by DreamWorks, it is rumored and hinted that another film will likely happen in the near future. However, it is likely that a new installment would be another standalone sequel much like The Last Wish, and not follow the events of Shrek Forever After.

In January 2023, in an interview with etalk, Eddie Murphy expressed his enthusiasm in reprising his role as Donkey saying, "I'd do it in 2 seconds." He stated he was open for another Shrek film, or a Donkey spin-off. According to Murphy, he is still waiting for DreamWorks to "give him a call," confirming that Shrek 5 is not yet fully realized.

In June 2024, in an interview with Collider, Eddie Murphy revealed that Shrek 5 is in production and a standalone Donkey movie is in the works as well, “We started doing Shrek 4 or 5 months ago. I did this, I recorded the first act, and we'll be doing it this year, we’ll finish it up. Shrek is coming out, and Donkey's gonna have his own movie. We're gonna do Donkey as well. So we're gonna do a Shrek, and we're doing a Donkey.” And stating that 2025 is a possible release date for Shrek 5, “No, not at the same time. I started recording Shrek, I think it's coming out in 2025, and we're doing a Donkey one next.”[1]

Trivia

  • This is the first Shrek movie in Real D-3D and IMAX 3D.
  • This is the first Shrek film to be shot in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio, unlike the first three Shrek films were produced in 1.85:1.
  • This is the first Shrek film to be made at DreamWorks Animation's in-house studio in Glendale, California.
  • While most of the main cast is present, only Shrek himself from the original timeline has a large amount of screen time. The alternate versions of the characters are more prominent, as the originals only appear in the first act and the very end.
  • This has more ogres than any other Shrek film.
  • When Shrek puts the book on the shelf, you can see a Puss in Boots book- teasing the 2011 spin-off film.
  • The main cast was reportedly blown away and baffled by Walt Dohrn's performance of Rumpelstiltskin.
  • Even though Fiona is an ogre for most of the movie, we get to see her briefly as a human. When Shrek is telling Puss the curse "By day one way, by night another, this shall be the norm. Until you find true love's first kiss, then take love's true form," there is a flashback of Fiona in the tower as a human- and as the sun sets, she turns into an ogress.
    • Her human form was also going to be glimpsed in a deleted scene telling Puss' perspective of the events. She would've also been seen in her warrior outfit.
  • When Fifi is first shown he is an average size for a goose, but later on, he is much larger.
  • When Shrek enters the alternate universe and crash-lands onto the ground, he says in pain "I think I fell on my keys." This was a line spoken by Garth Algar in the Wayne's World film (which also stars Mike Myers).
  • At some point, it was rumored that Prince Charming was going to return in the film. This was speculated as the name of Rupert Everett, Charming's voice actor, was seen on the film's cast list on iMDB. It was concluded that it was an error, as Charming wasn't seen nor heard in the film (excluding the credits, along with his mother, Fairy Godmother).
  • This is the only Shrek movie to have a known main antagonist still left alive, although Prince Charming may have survived as he was seen in the Thriller Night audience.
  • This is the only film in the franchise to be released in the 2010's were Shrek doesn't get attacked in the groin.
  • Released the same year as Despicable Me, also starring Julie Andrews.
  • Released the same year as Hot Tub Time Machine, also starring Craig Robinson.
  • This is the 20th theatrical film from DreamWorks Animation.
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