The Fourth One

After seeing the third "Shrek" movie – I think Becca and I actually saw it, just the two of us, in the theater – there really didn’t seem like much need for a fourth film about the good ol’ green ogre.

Apparently, the lust for another type of good ol’ green got MIke Myers et. al. back for a fourth go-round, and the result is a halfway decent if by no means unspectacular "Shrek Forever After," which we took the kids to see Sunday afternoon at Worthington’s Northland "Mall." (the quotes are for a good reason, as vacancies in the already less-than-desirable shopping center continue to mount).

To attempt to review "Shrek 4" like some kind of serious film critic seems a little inane, really. This should be obvious to any parent out there. Kids, of course, will almost certainly love it, and for the most part it’s pretty safe for youngsters of all ages. Grown-ups who have seen all the other films in the series will probably hope for two things: that their kids don’t want to watch it ad infinitum when it comes out on video, and that they don’t make too much of a fuss about having every little Shrek piece of merchandise now available in conjunction with the flick.

While the kids like "Shrek," it’s Disney Princess films (Grace) and "Cars" and "Herbie Fully Loaded" (Zach) that have really dominated their material wants. Zach strikes out with "Herbie" – it’s probably some kind of Lindsay Lohan backlash that got all the toys pulled from the market, for all I know – but I have a distinct feeling he’ll develop a new toys need when "Toy Story 3" comes out later this month. But, in the meantime, they can get the Shrek toys with meals at McDonald’s … which is at least a little more age-appropriate than the "Iron Man 2" toys you get with kids’ meals at Burger King.

All in all, "Shrek 4" represents classic middling American entertainment for kids and something between an obvious and desperate marketing opportunity for many, many others. (And if you don’t think it’s more about marketing than entertainment, check the aforementioned titles of "Iron Man 2" and "Toy Story 3"). I’ve seen far worse films, and I’ve seen far better. The nice things were that we all got yummy movie popcorn AND the movie was done in an hour and a half.

Hopefully there will be a little more than popcorn and abbreviated length to truly enjoy about the next film Bec and plan to see together. And it’s the rare summer blockbuster that isn’t a sequel … but wait, I suppose "The Karate Kid" is a remake, isn’t it? Guess the big movie money is where the familiarity is.