Dancer in the Dark When a

Dancer in the Dark

When a frustrated Shrek storms out of his babies first birthday party, he happens up Rumpelstiltskin who seizes the opportunity to offer Shrek the deal of a lifetime: a day of absolute freedom to live as he once did in exchange for one day from his childhood that he wont even remember losing. Shrek signs the binding contract but soon finds his world in disarray; all that hes come to know and love over the years has vanished, replaced by a world run by the hateful Rumpelstiltskin where Fiona is no longer his wife, Donkey is just another talking animal, and his children dont exist. Faced with a reality that he may have forever destroyed all he comes to realize that he holds dear, he sets out to learn what exactly it will take to set things right. What a way to end the series. Shrek Forever After is the perfect conclusion to the story that began in Shrek ; this fourth installment not only captures the magic and heart of the series as well as any of the other entries, but it also boils its entire plot down to the most basic element that defines all four films: the power of true loves first kiss and, with that, the theme that speaks on the importance of self-worth; acceptance; inner beauty; and the meaning and power of real, unconditional love. Shrek the Fourth comes full circle by reinforcing the notion that the bonds of love are greater than place and time, circumstances, or stature; even so, the picture once again revels in Fairy Tale cliché, but for once its cliché with real meaning that allows audiences to whittle away even the most basic plot elements and come to see the true power of a Happily Ever After ending. This is a Fairy Tale, after all, so theres no surprise that the movie ends on the most upbeat and heartfelt conclusion possible given the specifics of the story, but thats alright. Shrek the Fourth and the other three Shrek films, for that matter, provide a tender and warm escape from the complexities of the world and aim to do nothing more than show that no matter the challenges that life throws ones way, theres always something better, something meaningful, something special on the horizon or, maybe, right under ones own nose. Every day and every moment might not be absolute physical, emotional, and spiritual bliss, but Shrek teaches that its the sum of the experiences that define true happiness. Shrek the Fourth offers the perfect example of that by way of showing Shreks life in a state of disarray thats about the last thing he could have ever wanted when audiences first met him nearly a decade ago; his is a classic Dancer in the Dark of you dont know what youve got till its gone, and therein lies the perfect scenario for the perfect Happily Ever After ending. Shrek could have never imagined that he would one day find true happiness in a houseful of babies, a wife by his side, a donkey as Dancer in the Dark best friend, and a suddenly cuddly and not at all terrifying stature where is roar is a gimmick rather than a frightening deterrent. Happiness, he and the audiences learns, comes to be defined through life experiences, and Shreks destiny leads him to time and again find the real power and purpose behind loves true kiss and all that comes with it. Shrek Forever After finds its success as a film that reinforces the basic theme that runs through the series, but there are plenty of other things to love about the movie, all of which elevate it to a level of animated cinematic perfection thats rarely achieved. The picture retains the same charming characters and basic structure of its predecessors; The Fourth is equal parts adventure, comedy, and tenderness, and like the first two films, it manages to find and maintain the absolute perfect balance between the three. This film continues on with the inclusion of popular music to reinforce various plot elements and themes, and its use of The Carpenters Top of the World is particularly memorable and, arguably, one of the finest music-movie compliments in all of cinema. Better still, Shrek the Fourth is a visually gorgeous picture and easily the best of the series. Unlike the other three films, The Fourth is presented in a scope widescreen aspect ratio that gives a more epic and dramatic flair to the image, but more importantly, the animation is, well, in a class practically by itself. Watching the four films in succession yields a real appreciation for how quickly the digital technologies have evolved. Whether in sheer realism, infinite details, or brighter and bolder colors, Shrek the Fourth is so far ahead of the original film and several notches better than either of the other two predecessors that one cant help but wish there would be a fifth film in the series several years from now if only to see the characters improved by even greater advances in animation techniques. One criticism of Shrek the Fourth might be that it closely resembles Shrek 2 in terms of structure and story; in 2, Shrek longed to be something other than an ogre so as to please Fiona and earn the blessing of her doubting father. Here, Shrek yearns to lose the humanity hes acquired and the life hes built and return to a more primitive and solitary state. In both films, Shrek learns that hes the sum of his experiences and not merely an immutable being accidentally thrust into an unnatural environment.

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