Shrek Forever After closes the book on the subversive fairy tale series, but it doesn't do that without tugging at your emotions one last time.
- Not too many viewers were happy with Shrek for blowing up at Fiona near the beginning of the movie, and for good reason: Shrek's really going to regret what he says in this scene.Fiona: Unbelievable!
Shrek: Tell me about it! Those villagers—
Fiona: I'm not talking about the villagers, Shrek. I'm talking about you. Is this really how you wanna remember the kids' first birthday?
Shrek: Oh, great. So this is all my fault?
Fiona: Yes, but... you know what? Let's talk about this after the party, at home.
Shrek: You mean that roadside attraction we live in? "Step right up! See the dancing ogre! Don't worry! He won't bite!" I used to be an ogre. Now I'm just a jolly green joke!
Fiona: Okay, okay. Maybe you're not the ogre you used to be, but maybe that's not such a bad thing.
Shrek: Ah, I wouldn't expect you to understand. It's not like you're a real ogre. You've spent half your life in a palace.
Fiona: And the other half locked away in a tower.
Shrek: (sighs) Look, all I want is for things to go back to the way they used to be. Back when villagers were afraid of me, and I could take a mud bath in peace, when I could do what I wanted when I wanted to do it. Back when the world made sense.
Fiona: You mean, back before you rescued me from the dragon's keep?
Fiona: Shrek, you have three beautiful children, a wife who loves you, friends who adore you. You have everything. Why is it the only person who can't see that... is you?
[Fiona turns and approaches the palace door. She opens the door and glances at Shrek. Shrek doesn't move. Fiona shakes her head and closes the door behind her.]
Shrek: That's just great.
- Shrek's enjoyment of being a "real" ogre is soon completely shattered as he discovers his swamp home to be completely barren and dry, and his house containing nothing but a few scurrying rats. Seeing this iconic setpiece from the series is a horrifying gut punch at its finest.
- There's the moment somewhere right after Shrek's beginning to understand what his impulsive wish did - he finds his daughter's doll still in his back pocket (see page image) from where he'd put it very early on in the film, and the look on his face as he realizes that she doesn't exist anymore is absolutely heartbreaking. It's also the only time we've ever seen Shrek cry.
- The song "Fiona Doesn't Love Me" and the accompanying scene. Shrek thinks all he has to do to break the spell is get Fiona to kiss him, par the rules of True Love's Kiss. He manages this, but because she doesn't know him that well, and has had a pretty bad first impression of him so far, she does not love him and therefore nothing happens. Donkey asks him what went wrong, and he has the most despairing look on his face as he says, "The kiss didn't work... because Fiona doesn't love me."
- Later on, we have this exchange:Shrek: Oh, what's the point? The kiss didn't work. It's over.
Donkey: Look, Shrek, I know things might seem a little bleak right now, but things always work themselves out in the end. You'll see. I bet by this time tomorrow...
Shrek: Hey, don't you understand? There is no tomorrow. There's no day after that, and there's no day after that day after that! My life was perfect and I'm never gonna get it back!
Donkey: If your life was so perfect, then why'd you sign it all away to Rumpelstiltskin in the first place?
Shrek: Because I didn't know what I had until it was gone, Alright?! (sighing) I didn't know what I had.
- Later on, we have this exchange:
- Alternate!Donkey's fear of Shrek is sort of a Fridge Tear Jerker. The Donkey that Shrek knows was afraid of him for maybe five seconds when they first met, then decided they were best friends and couldn't be scared away after that. Considering this misadventure was set off by Shrek missing the days he was feared, Donkey running away from him in terror even after Shrek tries to explain and win his trust by singing must be a nasty hit to the irony bone.
- At the end, there's an extended amount of time where it appears that Shrek failed. And, technically speaking, he was dead for a while. This movie being Darker and Edgier than the others, it wasn't unbelievable that they'd do it.AU!Fiona: Shrek?
Shrek: It's all right.
AU!Fiona: There has to be something I can do.
Shrek: You've already done everything for me, Fiona. You gave me a home and a family.
AU!Fiona: You have kids?
Shrek: We have kids. Fergus, Farkle and a little girl named...
Shrek and AU!Fiona: Felicia.
Fiona: I always wanted to have a daughter named Felicia.
Shrek: And someday... (Hands Felicia's doll over to Fiona) ...you will. You know what the best part of today was? I got the chance to fall in love with you all over again.
[Fiona kisses Shrek, just as the last traces of sand fall down Rumpel's hourglass, and Shrek fades away into nothingness]
- When the alternate universe starts falling apart, even knowing things are going to be set to rights, Fiona calling and reaching for Puss when he dissolves strikes a chord for many pet owners.
- Rumpel's dismayed expression when Fiona makes Fifi blow up. Rumpel was the bad guy, but Even Evil Has Loved Ones. It doesn't help that Fifi never really did anything villainous, or that Shrek reacts by laughing and pointing at Fifi's smoking remains.
- The ending credits, which feature a montage of scenes from the previous three movies, can strike as both this and Heartwarming, especially for those who have grown up with the entire Shrek series.