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. After King Harold dies, he leaves his throne to the ogre couple, Shrek and Fiona. Not wanting to become a king, Shrek seeks the only other available heir to the kingdom of Far Far Away, who happens to be 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.The film was a huge box office success, grossing a massive amount on its first day, and holding the record for the highest gross of an animated film on its opening weekend until Toy Story 3 broke it later in 2010. Despite its financial success, Shrek the Third suffered when it came to critical reception. To put it into nice terms, it was considered just an all around lackluster film, especially in comparison to the first two installments of the series.
Shrek the Third provides examples of the following tropes:
Adipose Rex: Shrek and Fiona during their brief stint as monarchs of Far Far Away.
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.
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.
In an earlier throwaway scene, Shrek himself seemingly accidentally kills a man who he's supposed to be knighting.
And so he did with the second guy who jumps in after the first was dragged away, without Charming even noticing it.
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.
Cool Old Lady: Queen Lillian. Bashing a solid brick wall with her head Twice!
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.
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.
Ermine Cape Effect: Parodied in Shrek the Third. 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.
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!"
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.
High School: Worcestershire in medieval times and within in a fairy tale world. It's revealed that Donkey himself went to one, and he was bullied a lot.
Humiliation Conga: What Shrek and Fiona have to endure while being acting 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. Hiliarity Ensues when something breaks, causing Disaster Dominoes.
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.
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.
Still... Dragon does end up supplying the coup de grace against Prince Charming.
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.
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: The third film, 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.