Western Animation / Shrek the Third

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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.

Shrek the Third provides examples of the following tropes:

  • 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.
  • The Beastmaster: Snow White. See Crowning Music of Awesome.
  • Bald of Evil: Rapunzel, much to her embarassment. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • Co-Dragons: Captain Hook and Rapunzel are this to Charming.
  • Confusing Multiple Negatives: Pinocchio provides several elaborate examples.
  • Cool Loser: Artie.
  • Cool Old Lady: Queen Lillian. Bashing a solid brick wall with her head Twice!
  • Cute Approaches Camera: Subverted when Puss-in-Boots attempts to use his cute shtick while in Donkey's body.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Evil Prince: Prince Charming.
  • 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.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Puss and Donkey.
  • 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!"
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • Jerkass/Jerk Jock: Lancelot and his friends.
  • Jerkwitha Heartof 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."
  • 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.
  • 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'.
  • 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) recognise 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.
  • Psychopathic Man Child: Prince Charming.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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: Crybaby: The ogre baby cried like that 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.
  • Those Two Guys: Puss and Donkey, Shrek's two hangers-on, sidekicks, and royal advisers.
  • Too Many Babies: A nightmare of Shrek's.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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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