Western Animation: Shrek Forever After

Shrek Forever After (also known as Shrek: The Final Chapter) is the fourth installment of the Shrek tetralogy released in 2010 under Dreamworks Animation. The story follows Shrek, now the father of a few ogre children, who finds himself in a rut, longing for the days when he was a "real ogre". It just so happens that after angrily storming out of his own daughter's birthday party he gets just the opportunity he was looking for from the smooth-talking Rumpelstiltskin (Walt Dohrn). After he agrees to trade off one day from his childhood that he doesn't even remember in exchange for one day of romping and terrorizing in an alternate timeline supposedly free of consequence, Shrek realizes that Rumpelstiltskin took away the day that he was born. Now in order to restore things to the way they were, Shrek must team up with the alternate versions of his friends in order to share true love's kiss with his wife Fiona, who has become the leader of an ogre resistance against Rumpelstiltskin, who, as it turns out, was almost granted control over Far Far Away before Shrek rescued Fiona from her castle all those years ago.

The film was a box office success, despite being the second lowest grossing Shrek movie. Critical reception was somewhat mixed, with people calling it a triumph over Shrek the Third, but still lacking in humor and originality. Aside from supposedly ending the tetrology, there is word of a fifth film being in the works.

Shrek Forever After provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Actionized Sequel
  • Action Girl: Fiona.
  • Alternate Universe: Due to Rumpelstiltskin's plotting, the movie takes place in a universe in which Shrek had never been born.
  • An Aesop
    • You donít know what youíve got till itís gone.
    • Appreciate what you have.
    • If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
    • True love isnít always love at first sight.
  • Axe Crazy: Rumpelstiltskin. Don't be fooled by the trickster shell. Deep down, he's really a homicidal sociopath.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Cookie. Subverted and presumably averted in that Cookie is actually female.
  • Badass Army: The ogres.
  • Bad Boss: Rumpelstiltskin. He seems like a good one at first, letting his witches having a rave in his castle and all that. After Shrek escapes however, he drops all the niceness and starts threatening their lives, never mind that he was the one that pushed Shrek too far.
  • Bad Future: The premise.
  • Bounty Hunter: The Pied Piper.
  • Bride and Switch: Played for Laughs during a montage in which Shrek dresses as a veiled bride at a man's wedding.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: An evil variant in Rumpelstiltzkin and his obsession with wigs.
  • Chekhov's Skill: How to tie knots. ("The dragon goes under the bridge...")
  • Continuity Nod/Continuity Porn
  • Crazy Cat Lady: One of the witches at the beginning.
  • Creative Closing Credits/Credits Montage: Characters and clips from the previous three films are put together in a sequence.
  • Darker and Edgier: Somewhat, though to be fair the last two films had gotten progressively Lighter and Fluffier.
  • Double Entendre:
    • At the beginning of the movie, Rumpelstiltskin tears out pages from a fairytale book in Pinocchio's bookstore. How will he pay? "Maybe we can make a deal for it, little boy." "Oh, I'm not a REAL boy!" Wait for it...wait for it..."...do you WANNA be?"
    • "My donkey fell in your waffle hole."
  • Empathy Doll Shot: A varient occurs, where Shrek finds his daughter's favorite doll apparently having fallen from one of his pockets. It has the same "Isolated doll" factor if the circumstances aren't identical to the norm.
  • Everyone Hates Mimes: "Oh great, after mimes, magicians are my favorite people."
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The subtitle ("The Final Chapter"). It is indeed "the final chapter" involving the titular ogre...which didn't stop Dreamworks from making a movie about Puss.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Everything from the start to the part where Rumpelstiltskin gets kicked out of Pinocchio's bookstore and wishes Shrek was never born is both this and backstory for him.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Rumpelstiltskin.
  • Fauxdian Slip: "I don't know, any day. A day from your past. A day you had the flu? A day you lost a pet? A day some meddling oaf stuck his nose where it didn't belong destroying your business and ruining your life! ...Just for an example."
  • Fisher King: Rumpelstiltskin's luxurious palace surrounded by the barren fields and run-down city. This is likely due to simple greed as opposed to a magical connection between the king and the land though.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Donkey yelling at Gingi, "What you talking about, cracker!?"
  • Good Costume Switch: The Pied Piper wears white in the Dance Party Ending. Maybe he was only evil in Rumple's world.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Puss & Donkey manage to make a few.
    Donkey: Man, you are a cat-astrophe!
    Puss: And you are ri-donkey-lous! (Beat. They both start laughing.)
  • It's a Wonderful Plot
  • Kryptonite Factor: The exit clause is hidden inside the contract, revealed not in the small print — which at least some people would be smart enough to read, but by refolding the paper to reveal the hidden words (knowing Rumpelstiltskin's name as per the legend isn't enough, as everyone knows Rumpelstiltskin now he's king, so he had to get clever).
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: Brogan.
  • La Rťsistance
  • Magic Countdown: Rumpelstiltskin's sand timer, that measures the 'day' Shrek has before he'll vanish away forever if he doesn't get love's true kiss. When it first appears, only a tiny bit of sand has fallen, even though Shrek must have spent a good part of the day scaring villagers, getting captured, and being carried to Far Far Away.
  • Magically Binding Contract: Written by a malicious Literal Genie. Don't sign them.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Rumpelstiltskin.
  • Manly Tears: Shrek sheds a manly tear when he saw one of his triplets doll when he was in the alternate reality and he knew they're not there at all. That is the first time we ever see Shrek cry.
  • Metaphorgotten: Rumpelstiltskin makes a remark about how it's "time to pay the piper". Nothing happens. He then explains to one of the witches that he means literally pay, as he's a bounty hunter.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: The Pied Piper teaches some witches a lesson by forcing them to break dance. Later he singlehandedly defeats the Badass Army of Ogres with a full choreography and a conga line straight to Rumpelstiltskin's castle.
  • The Music Meister: The Pied Piper is a bounty hunter who uses his flute to capture his quarry by forcing them to dance.
  • Never Trust a Trailer:
    • A commercial on TV (TV spot) makes it look like Donkey tries showing a trick where he shuts his eyes tight and they POP OUT THROUGH HIS NOSTRILS! He is actually at an ogre dinner, where they eat plates of eyeballs like fruit, and the trick he does actually doesn't involve his own eyes!
    • Additionally, the song featured in the trailers (Right Back Where We Started From) doesn't actually appear in the movie (though a version does play over the credits), and what is suggested to be a Disney Acid Sequence actually has an explanation.
    • The first TV spots that showed in the UK almost made it seem that the fat kid at the party (named Butterpants) was a sort of main character, and also had the roar scene from the party shortened down to:
    Butterpants: Do the roar!
    Shrek: I'd rather not...
    Butterpants: Do it!
    Shrek: *Roars*
    • There was a hint somewhere (the art book, maybe?) that Brogan would be Shrek's rival for Fiona's love, but that never happens.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: When Shrek bursts through the trunk of the tree that used to contain his home, only to find... nothing but a few scurrying rats. That's when you really get the feeling of "Oh, my God, what has happened to the world?"
  • Orbital Kiss: Thoroughly subverted. The Big Damn Kiss happens, with the camera orbit, colorful lights and everything, but then the world reverts to dark and bleak.
  • Orphaned Punchline: Shrek when riding in Rumpelstiltskin's carriage.
    Shrek: And the centaur said, 'That's not the half I'm talking about!'
  • Reset Button: When Shrek and Fiona share True Love's Kiss just as Shrek is fading from existence, the alternate-universe shatters around Rumpelstiltskin as all of the people within it disappear. When Shrek returns to the prime-universe, he was seen mid-roaring at the birthday party.
  • Rant Inducing Slight: Shrek goes crazy from all the events going on at the triplets' birthday party.
  • Running Gag: Perhaps it's a coincidence, but Rumpelstiltskin marks the third Shrek villain who is vertically challenged. This carries into Puss in Boots with Humpty Dumpty.
  • Scenery Gorn: The first view of the alternate-universe land of Far, Far Away— which has been transformed from a Hollywood-like, beautiful (if commercialized) oasis into a desert wasteland with Rumpelstiltskin's palace at the center. The "Far Far Away" Hollywood sign is mostly destroyed, too.
  • Schmuck Bait: Donkey just after visiting the dragon's keep.
    Shrek: There's a stack of freshly made waffles in the middle of the forest! Don't you find that a wee bit suspicious?
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • The Rumpelstiltskins in Third and Forever After are nothing alike. It's certainly not a Species Surname either because (thanks to a huge Art Shift) they don't even look like the same species.
    • The Pied Piper appears but for a second in a throwaway gag in the first film. Again... he looks nothing like how he does in the fourth film.
    • In Shrek 2, we can see it takes days to go from Duloc to Far Far Away. However in Forever After, he travels the same distance three times within less than a day.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Fiona only starts warming to Shrek when they bash each other up during combat training.
  • Stealth Pun: That carriage park screams "Witch Trash".
  • That Poor Cat: Donkey startled Puss in Boots.
  • 3-D Movie
  • Toothy Bird: The giant goose.
  • Tsundere: Fiona.
  • Twofer Token Minority: The Black/Gay chef Ogre.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back: The "jerk" here is the human race. The main theme of the first two movies is how badly Shrek is treated by humans. By the beginning of the fourth film, Shrek becomes annoyed at the humans treating him nicely and longs for the days when he would run about villages scaring them.
  • Weaksauce Weakness/Super Drowning Skills: The witches dissolve in water. Oddly, the ogre resistance never takes advantage of this; it's just used by Rumpelstilskin in a You Have Failed Me moment.
  • X Meets Y: The film's plot can be neatly summed up as Its A Wonderful Life - in the Shrek Universe.