Western Animation / Shrek the Third

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"I can't let this happen. I can't! I am the rightful King of Far Far Away. And I promise you this, Mother... I will restore dignity to my throne. And this time, no one will stand in my way."
Prince Charming

The third installment in the Shrek tetralogy, Shrek the Third was released in 2007 by DreamWorks Animation, serving as a direct sequel to Shrek 2.

At King Harold's deathbed, he leaves his throne to the ogre couple, Shrek and Fiona. However, Shrek does not want his father-in-law's crown; aside from not willing to give up his beloved swamp, he also doesn't think he's qualified enough to be a king. With his dying breath, Harold mentions the only other available heir to the kingdom of Far Far Away— Fiona's cousin, Arthur "Artie" Pendragon (Justin Timberlake). Meanwhile, Prince Charming gathers an elite fighting force of fairy tale villains in order to start a rebellion and take over the kingdom. Seeking revenge on the ogre who ruined his happily ever after, Charming gets his followers to track down Shrek while he imprisons his pregnant wife and her friends.

Shrek the Third contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Both Shrek and Artie had abusive fathers. In Artie's case, his father dumped him at the Worcestershire school the first chance he got and Artie never saw him again. Shrek's father was worse, being an ogre, as he apparently tried to eat Shrek when he was a baby.
  • Action Girl: All of the princesses turn out to be on-par with how much of an action girl Fiona is (and even her older mother). Except for Rapunzel.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Charming's minions laugh at him when Shrek roasts him on stage, with the drummer even adding a "ba-dum-tss" after Shrek's quip about Charming's bad singing.
  • Adult Fear: Shrek panics when told he is to become a father, partly because he is scared of ruining his child's life.
    Shrek: It's not my life I'm afraid of ruining. It's the kid's. When have you ever heard the phrase "as sweet as an ogre", or "as nurturing as an ogre", or "You're gonna love my dad, he's a real ogre"?
  • Adipose Rex: Shrek and Fiona during their brief stint as monarchs of Far Far Away.
  • Alpha Bitch: Guinevere.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Prince Charming again, as a continuation from the previous movie. However, this is ultimately averted with his romance with Rapunzel, making him simply a case of Camp Straight.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The movie has a different theme song for the Japanese version, called "Love is the Greatest Thing" by w inds.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Among the things the villains do on their rampage, they loot shops, terrorize citizens, cause general mayhem and destruction and... rip the stamps off of letters before mailing them.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": Charming's acting comes across as this to the people he's performing to.
  • The Beastmaster: Snow White. See Crowning Music of Awesome.
  • Bald of Evil: Rapunzel, much to her embarrassment. Let's just say that her "long hair" is in fact an elaborate wig.
  • Bewitched Amphibians: In an inversion, King Harold resumes his natural frog shape, and this is the form he dies in.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Charming does this twice to the audience during the show at the end when, thanks to Shrek's insults, they start laughing at him. He first shouts, "Be quiet!", and another jab from Shrek later, he loses it and yells, "ENOUGH!"
  • Birth/Death Juxtaposition: King Harold dies at the beginning of the movie, which kicks off the main plot. Shortly afterward, just as Shrek is departing on the ship to start his quest, Fiona calls out to him to reveal that she's pregnant, and she gives birth to triplets at the end of the movie.
  • Black Comedy:
    • While rehearsing his lines for the scene in his play where he kills Shrek, Charming (who is going to use a real sword to kill Shrek for real) apparently fatally stabs the guy in the Shrek costume. And so he did with the second guy who jumps in after the first was dragged away, without Charming even noticing it.
    • In an earlier throwaway scene, Shrek himself seemingly accidentally kills a man who he's supposed to be knighting. And then accidentally sinks a ship by throwing a bottle at it too hard.
  • Book Ends:
    • The cardboard tower at Charming's dinner theater gig falls and he goes through the window hole. During his staged (and failed) execution of Shrek, the much larger and heavier prop tower falls and actually crushes him.
    • When we first see Shrek and Fiona, they're asleep and just waking up. At the end, they've just gone to sleep.
  • Break His Heart to Save Him: In order to prevent Charming from killing Artie for being Shrek's comrade, Shrek acts like he didn't really care about him and was only using him.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: Artie briefly imitates Shrek's voice ("You're gonna be king!" (normal voice) Yeah, right.") shortly after crashing on the beach.
  • Butt-Monkey: Artie. Even his own father didn't seem to want him.
  • By Wall That Is Holey: Happens to Prince Charming. Then almost happens in the ending.
  • Call to Agriculture: Hook's plan with planting "beautiful daffodils".
  • Campfire Character Exploration: Merlin insists Shrek and his friends take "The journey to your soul" before he will help them by looking into the fire and seeing their deepest fears. Artie reveals his father left him at Worcestire and never returned, thus causing Artie severe self esteem issue. Shrek reveals he too had an abusive father who had tried to eat him as a child.
  • Can't Spit It Out: Fiona attempts to tell Shrek she's pregnant while he says goodbye to her before he goes to get Artie. She then is cut off a couple time by a foghorn before she's finally successful.
  • Co-Dragons: Captain Hook and Rapunzel are this to Charming.
  • Confusing Multiple Negatives: Pinocchio provides several elaborate examples when Prince Charming demands him to tell him Shrek's location since Pinocchio, of course, can't lie. Pinocchio tries to twist the truth and worm his way out of the interrogation with convoluted excuses. It eventually fails when his baffling multi-negatives frustrate the Three Little Pigs so much that they accidentally blurt it out.
  • Cool Loser: Artie.
  • Cool Old Lady: Queen Lillian. Bashing a solid brick wall with her head Twice!
  • Cruel to Be Kind: When Charming finally corners Shrek and Arthur, Shrek berates Arthur and calls him an utter loser. Donkey and Puss both point out that Charming would have murdered Arthur had Shrek not made him look so pitiful.
  • Curse Cut Short: As Shrek, Donkey, and Puss leave for Worcestershire Academy to find Arthur "Artie" Pendragon, after Fiona tells Shrek he's going to be a father, "Well my friend, you are royally..." *loud horn blast*
  • Cute Approaches Camera: Subverted when Puss-in-Boots attempts to use his cute shtick while in Donkey's body.
  • Cutting the Knot: Puss-in-Boots is trying to cut the glass to get the Gingerbread Man out. However time is of the essence so Donkey rolls his eyes and just uses his hoof to smash the glass.
  • Depraved Dwarf: Several of them appear as Charming's minions.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Shrek said this about, when he was a baby, his father trying to eat him. In hindsight, he says he should have seen it coming because he was bathed in barbecue sauce and put to bed with an apple in his mouth.
  • Disappeared Dad: As mentioned above, Artie's father essentially cast Artie off by dumping him at the Worcestershire school at the first opportunity and never saw Artie again. This is also the only time we ever hear any mention of Shrek's father. We have no idea what happened to him aside from trying to eat his son.
  • Does Not Know His Own Strength: Played straight with Shrek in the two Epic Fail moments mentioned below.
  • Drag Queen: Kind of inverted again. Ugly Sister 'Doris' from Shrek 2 is now one of Fiona's girlfriends but is still voiced by Larry King, and her similarly ugly sister 'Mabel' is voiced by another man, Regis Philbin.
  • Dramatic Curtain Toss
  • Dream Within a Dream: Shrek's nightmare upon realizing he will become a father. His first dream consists of him at his swamp, dreaming of having lots of babies. His next one is of Donkey and Puss in boots having the heads of ogres babies with Donkey saying "Dada".
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The main goal of the fairy tale villains. They do earn it though, not by achieving petty revenge against their enemies, but rather, by realizing they don't have to give in to the "villain" image the stories made them out to be.
  • Epic Fail: Shrek fails several times during his rein as king.
    • He apparently accidentally kills a man he is supposed to be knighting.
    • Shrek sinks a ship he is supposed to be launching by accidentally pushing it away from the dock by leaning against it too hard, then he throws the bottle at the ship to break it. He throws it so hard, it breaks a hole in the hull, sinking the ship and then somehow causing the sails to burst into flames.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: The Cyclops has a daughter!
    Cyclops: Who would have thought a monster like me deserved something as special as you?
    Shrek: She's got your eye.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Lots of princesses. One of them, namely Rapunzel, is the Big Bad's bitch.
  • Evil Is Petty: During the villains' takeover of Far Far Away, one cyclops proceeds to do the most evil thing he can think of: tearing stamps off of envelopes.
  • Ermine Cape Effect: Parodied. Shrek and Fiona are forced to wear ridiculously confining finery for a ceremonial dinner. Shrek has to get some poor servant to scratch his bum for him...and wouldn't you know it, that's when the curtain is raised. To top it off, the buckle on his belt pops, leading to Disaster Dominoes.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Rapunzel betrays the Princesses and Fiona due to her crush with Charming, or at least the power being his queen would bring her.
  • The Evil Prince: Prince Charming.
  • Exact Words: This line sums it up:
    Artie: ...the only person standing in your way is you (points at Rumpelstiltskin).
    Rumpelstiltskin: Me?
    Everyone else: Get him!
  • Faux Action Girl: The Princess Rampage showcased in the trailer of Shrek the Third ends with meek surrender at the first sign of non-mook resistance. Their Storming the Castle sequence was certainly Madagascar-penguin-worthy, though.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • At the beginning, Prince Charming is performing at the theatre when the cardboard castle comes crashing down, narrowly missing him. And, at the end, Dragon tips over the castle, this time made of bricks, which lands on Prince Charming, presumably killing him.
    • Bird-watchers will be able to anticipate Snow White's intentions for her Friend to All Living Things ability when they notice some of the birds she's calling, as the Evil Tree guards watch in puzzlement, are woodpeckers.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Puss and Donkey, thanks to Merlin's unreliable magic, exchange their bodies.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Snow White ends up weaponizing this trope when she calls upon a bunch of cute little animals... and then sics them on the Treeman guards.
  • Freudian Slip: When Shrek is arguing with Arthur about his becoming a king, Shrek tells him, "We're going back to Far Far Away whether you like it or not, and you're gonna be a father!"
  • Glass-Shattering Sound: Charming's singing is so high pitched and horrible, he breaks a man's glass, a woman's opera glasses, and another woman's (presumably glass) pearls.
  • Go Out with a Smile: King Harold when he dies.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • At some point between films Doris the Ugly Sister from Shrek 2 actually turns from a barmaid in a villain's bar to one of Fiona's girlfriends. We don't know how, why or when this happened, just that it's funny because the man in drag is back.
    • All the villains have one in the end, except for Charming.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Not so much hero but it is revealed that none of the villains (sans Charming) are actually evil, but they feel they have to be so as that is what is expected of them.
  • Hidden Depths: All of the villains reveal that they have a secret desire deep inside their hearts other than just being evil.
  • High School: Worcestershire in medieval times and within a fairy tale world. It's revealed that Donkey himself went to one, and he was bullied a lot.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Lampshaded by Merlin.
    Artie: This is lame.
    Merlin: [whacks him] You're lame.
  • His Name Is... Arthur: Subverted during the king's death.
  • Hippie Teacher: Merlin.
  • Humiliation Conga: What Shrek and Fiona have to endure while acting as rulers of Far Far Away.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: This is the main premise of the entire film. Shrek wasn't the only one who felt this way, all the other villains and Prince Charming felt they weren't special because they never recieved a Happily Ever After. Arthur wanted to stop being seen a loser. Arthur even tells the villains that deep down, what they really wanted was to stop being seen as villains and losers. It turns out they were only villains because they gave into what stories made them out to be. Upon realizing this, they have a Heel–Face Turn, and end up getting their happy ending. Prince Charming, however, didn't get what he wanted.
  • Inconvenient Itch: Shrek is trussed up in some very Louis XVI-esque clothing for a royal appearance, and suddenly develops a horrible itch on his rear. He's scratching that itch when the curtains open, giving the waiting crowd a view they really didn't want. Hilarity Ensues when something breaks, causing Disaster Dominoes.
  • Ironic Echo Cut:
    Shrek: Well, somebody better be dying!
    [cut to King Harold on his deathbed]
    King Harold: I'm dying.
  • It Makes Sense in Context:
    Donkey: We went to high school, then the boat crashed, and then we got bippidy-boppity-booped by the magic man!
  • Jerk Jock: Lancelot and his friends.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Snow White may be kind of mean and catty at times, but she's loyal nonetheless to Princess Fiona and willingly helps her and the rest in the fight against Prince Charming.
  • Kids Are Cruel: The students at Arthur's school aren't very kind to him.
  • Kill 'em All: "Kill 'em all...except the fat one."
  • Laser-Guided Karma: It turns out that Rapunzel's hair is actually a wig, and it falls off after she betrays Fiona and her friends.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: It is implied in the second film that Shrek very much does not want children. When Fiona brings up the idea of them starting a family, Shrek again shows his fears of parenthood by explaining to Fiona that babies are a lot of work and all he needs is her. He later learns from Fiona that she is pregnant with his children and he starts to panic.
  • Left the Background Music On: "Just thought I'd help set the mood! You know, for your big heart to heart!"
  • Legion of Doom: Prince Charming leads one which consists of all the villains from every fairy tale.
  • Never Found the Body: After the tower drops on Charming, it's assumed he is dead despite the fact his body is not shown.
  • Nightmare Sequence: Shrek has one after learning that he is to become a father, which becomes a Dream Within a Dream.
  • Noodle Incident: Perhaps it is best for it to be left unsaid how Donkey could receive wedgies while young, despite clearly being "not a wearer of the underpants".
    • Shrek's relationship with his father. This is the only time he is ever mentioned and all we know is that he tried to eat Shrek as a child.
  • Oh, Crap!: Shrek has this moment when he learns he is going to be a father.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise
  • Parental Bonus:
    • The two birds that perch on Snow White's shoulders just before she sics all the forest animals on the evil trees? They're woodpeckers.
    • To get the gag about the frogs singing "Live and Let Die" at the king's funeral, one needs to a) recognize the theme of a 1973 James Bond film as being a Paul McCartney song and b) also be aware of McCartney's role in the 1984 animated film Rupert and the Frog Song (and associated Frog Chorus single). It's not exactly one for the kids.
  • Poke the Poodle: When the villains attack Far Far Away, there's a montage of them "rearranging" the place. Cut to the cyclops ripping stamps off unsent letters and then cramming them back into the mailbox.
  • Poor, Predictable Rock: A sponsored commercial for Sierra Mist plays off this trope, having Shrek using paper since he claims Donkey's hoof represents rock.
  • Proscenium Reveal: The opening sequence begins with Charming supposedly riding his horse triumphantly through a forest... only for the camera to eventually pull back and reveal that he's miming trotting on the stage at a dinner theater, holding a prop horse head, and the trees going by are actually a continuously moving backdrop reel.
  • The Power of Rock: When Snow White unleashes the power of Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song", causing the forest animals to attack the Huorns guarding the city gates.
  • Psychopathic Man Child: Prince Charming.
  • Redemption Demotion: Dragon. While in the first film she is shown to have defeated many knights, and is barely defeated by Shrek, also eating Lord Farquaad at the end, she seems a lot weaker in Shrek the Third, only able to throw one of Prince Charming's mooks away before more of them capture her. They also subdue her easily with spears in the final confrontation.
  • Repeat What You Just Said: Shrek after Fiona tells him she's pregnant, probably because he was hoping he misheard. He's horrified to learn he heard correctly and that he is going to be a father.
  • Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony: Shrek, performing one of his duties in his day as stand-in king, attempts to christen a newly made ship via the standard shattering of a wine bottle. Unfortunately, he accidentally pushes the ship off (by leaning on it very awkwardly) before he can finish the ceremony. Desperate, Shrek hurls the champagne bottle at the newly-made ship, blowing a hole in it. The ship stops and starts to take on water.....and then somehow manages to burst into flames.
  • Show Some Leg: ...by one of the Ugly Sisters. Still works, though.
  • Short-Lived Leadership: As King Harold is on his deathbed, he asks Shrek and Fiona to succeed him in ruling Far Far Away. Shrek's attempt at being the king, however, failed so horribly that before his death King Harold told him of another remaining heir to the throne, Arthur Pendragon. Shrek, knowing he'd make an awful king, immediately agreed to travel to find Arthur. Meanwhile, Prince Charming and his team of villains stormed Far Far Away, taking it over for the time between Shrek's disappearance and the final fight.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Rapunzel and Charming, after she betrays the other princesses and it's revealed she is in love with Charming.
  • Sleep Cute: The babies at the end. Then Shrek and Fiona themselves.
  • Left the Background Music On: Two cases in succession. Merlin's porchlight apparently plays the classic "That's What Friends Are For"; and later on, Shrek and company are attacked by treants while Captain Hook plays mood music on the piano.
  • Sound-Effect Bleep: Twice: When Fiona is trying to say she's pregnant, the ship captain toots an airhorn, when Shrek chucks the horn over the side. A different, much deeper tugboat horn is then used to cover up a vulgarity from Puss.
  • Stock Sound Effect: Baby Kate Cry: In Shrek's nightmare, the ogre baby cries like this after it vomits.
  • Tempting Fate: "Someone better be dying!" Cut to King Harold on his deathbed.
  • That Poor Cat: Puss-In-Boots does his cat screech when Shrek throws him out to the window.
  • The Talk: Puss starts to give this to Shrek when the latter says this after waking up from his nightmare: "I can't believe I'm gonna be a father. How did this happen?" Shrek cuts Puss off when he says he knows ''how'' it happened.
  • Those Two Guys: Puss and Donkey, Shrek's two hangers-on, sidekicks, and royal advisers.
  • Too Many Babies: A nightmare of Shrek's. Most likely it symbolizes how overwhelmed Shrek feels about becoming a father, that the responsibility will be like this.
  • Totally Radical: "Help! I've been captured by an ogre who's trying to relate to me!"
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The princess's action scene was shown in the trailers in almost it's entirety. See Faux Action Girl for the only thing they left out.
  • Uncertain Doom: It's never stated for certain whether Charming did in fact die. It's assumed he did when Dragon pushed the tower onto him, but it is left ambiguous.
  • Verbal Backspace: Shrek does this to cover up a Freudian Slip when speaking to Artie: "And you're gonna be a father!" When Donkey tells him what he just said, he tries to cover up his mistake by saying, "I said king! You're gonna be king!"
  • Wave of Babies: The inevitable extension of the Too Many Babies example.
  • The Worf Effect: Dragon. That weighted chain-net clearly had her name on it.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Charming attempts to kill Arthur who is a high school student. He also has the Dronkies locked up in a zoo to be ridiculed as freaks.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain:
    • Justified due to being a Nightmare Sequence. The boat Shrek, Donkey and Puss are taking to find Arthur seems to crash at Shrek's swamp, much to his joy, but after he is lured into the swamp by Fiona's voice, things take a turn for the worse when it turns out to be filled with Too Many Babies.
    • Also in the beginning with Charming. You can see he's fallen very low since the death of his mother, working as an actor for a dinner theater with no one taking an interest in his performance. Even worse is when they start cheering when an actor dressed as Shrek (who's supposed to be the villain in his play) comes on stage.
  • Your Costume Needs Work: Shrek passing for a mascot at Arthur's high school gets spun into a Chekhov's Gun.

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