Western Animation / Shrek Forever After

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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 children'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.

Not to be confused with Shrek 4-D, a theme park attraction set after the events of the first film.

Shrek Forever After contains examples of:

  • 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.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: This.
    Shrek: But...I'm your true love.
    Fiona: Then where were you when I needed you?
  • 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.
  • Award Bait Song: Darling I Do by Landon Pigg & Lucy Schwartz.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Pretty much the theme of the movie, Shrek pines for the days before his was married and was fear by humans. When he finally gets it, he does enjoy it for a bit until he realises the consequences of his wish and how important he truly was in the grand scheme of of his world.
  • 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.
  • Brick Joke: Shrek says he's not going to eat Rumpelstiltskin because he "already had curly-toed weirdo for breakfast." When Rumpel is finally caught, the ogres say that's exactly what they're having for breakfast.
  • Bride and Switch: Played for Laughs during a montage in which Shrek dresses as a veiled bride at a man's wedding.
  • Bookends: The first film and this has the song "I'm a Believer" at the end.
  • Broken Bird: Fiona in the new timeline, as a result of Shrek not rescuing her, no longer believes in true love.
    Fiona: True love didn't get me out of that tower, I did. I saved myself. Don't you get it? It's all just a big fairy tale!
    Shrek: Fiona, don't say that, it does exist!
    Fiona: And how would you know? Did you grow up locked away in a dragon's keep? Did you live all alone in a miserable tower? Did you cry yourself to sleep every night waiting for a true love that never came?
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: An evil variant in Rumpelstiltskin and his obsession with wigs.
  • Chekhov's Skill: How to tie knots. ("The dragon goes under the bridge...")
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Once Shrek realizes he can't just simply make Fiona love him again, his priorities change to simply trying to save her from Rumpelstiltskin.
  • 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.
  • Loophole Abuse: Rumpelstiltskin's specialty; his contract with Shrek is to trade a day from his life he won't remember in exchange for a consequence free day in an alternate timeline where he will be feared again so he can have fun terrorizing people and afterwards everything will go back to normal. The day in question turns out to be the day Shrek was born, and the alternate timeline is one where Shrek was never born; so instead of reverting back to the original timeline when the day ends, the timeline where Shrek was never born will become the real timeline and Shrek will cease to exist instead.
    • In the opening it is revealed that in desperation, the king and queen had turned to Rumpelstiltskin to save Fiona from her curse. His deal to "make all their problems go away" in exchange for the crown to Far Far Away is interrupted by Shrek's actions in the first film. In the Shrek-less timeline they agree to the deal and Rumpelstiltskin makes their problems go away by killing them.
  • 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.
  • Moment of Weakness: What sets the plot in motion.
  • 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.
    • In one trailer "All By Myself" plays in the background while Puss is making cute eyes. While it was meant to be clear that this was added for the trailer, the song is used in other movies when a character is feeling sad, making it seem like it would be part of the movie.
    • 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. It's mentioned in one of the DVD features that he was originally going to be called Gnimrahc and was indeed planned to be a love interest for Fiona, but the idea was scrapped.
  • 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!'
  • Parental Bonus: Try watching the movie again and you'll notice a lot of jokes you missed as a kid.
  • 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. Lampshaded by Shrek.
    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".
  • Suicide is Painless: Rumpelstiltskin kills himself and jumps backwards off the balcony when cornered by the ogre warriors while saying "Boooooo." but then subverts it and lands on Fifi saying "So long!"
  • That Poor Cat: Donkey startled Puss in Boots.
  • Toothy Bird: Rumpel's giant goose, Fifi.
  • Tsundere: Fiona.
  • Twofer Token Minority: The Black/Ambiguously Gay Ogre Cookie.
  • 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.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Fiona gives Shrek one during the kids' birthday party for not appreciating what he has.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: What Rumpelstiltskin uses to meet Shrek.
  • X Meets Y: The film's plot can be neatly summed up as It's a Wonderful Life - in the Shrek Universe.