Monday, February 28, 2011

Shrek the Third

Shrek Forever After was the eighth-highest domestic-grossing film of 2010. I've already reviewed the original Shrek here and Shrek 2 here. This is the review for Shrek the Third, which was released in 2007, and was the secong-highest domestic-grossing film of its year, after only Spider-Man 3. The original Shrek passed only one level of the Original Bechdel, while Shrek 2 passed all three levels. What can we expect for the third installment?

blug1.png The first man to speak is Prince Charming, acting on stage at a dinner theatre. The second man to speak is the Gingerbread Man, complaining about the dinner theatre. He says he hates it, and Pinocchio says, "Me too" (before his nose grows longer). Gingerbread Man doesn't respond, so it doesn't count as a conversation yet. Similarly, heckling from the Gingerbread Man and another man (credited as "Heckler"), although aimed at Prince Charming, doesn't count as a conversation.

pink1.png The first woman to speak is the actress playing Fiona in the dinner theatre. The second woman to speak is Fiona herself.

blug2.png blug3.png Once Donkey comes into Shrek & Fiona's bedroom, Fiona doesn't say anything, but Donkey, Shrek and Puss-in-Boots all have lines. Donkey sings "Good morning" and remarks how children "grow up so fast." Shrek replies, "Not fast enough." Puss-in-Boots says, "You have a very full day filling in the for King and Queen. There are several functions which require your attendance, sir." (The first sentence appears to be directed at both Shrek and Fiona, while the second sentence is directed only at Shrek.) Shrek replies, "Great, let's get started!" and hides under his blanket. Donkey pulls the blanket off of him and recoils when he finds out Shrek isn't wearing anything underneath. None of these exchanges strictly satisfy the criteria for a one-on-one conversation, but since Fiona doesn't say a word, I think this qualifies as a conversation between the three men.

If there's any doubt that this passes the Reverse Bechdel, a few minutes later Shrek says, "Hey you, come here. What's your name?" The man replies, "Uh, Fiddlesworth, sir." Shrek says, "Oh ho ho ho, perfect." There's also a longer and more plot-relevant conversation between Shrek and the King shortly thereafter, about who is next in line for the throne.

The third woman to speak is the Queen, Fiona's mother, but she only speaks to the dying King. There are a few more women at the tavern where Prince Charming rallies support, including the singing witch, Mabel (the ugly stepsister) and the Wicked Witch (from Snow White), although none of them talk to each other.

When Puss-in-Boots says goodbye to his lady-friends before boarding the ship, none of them speak English or walk on two legs like he does, although some apparently get into a cat fight off-screen. When Donkey says goodbye to Dragon, he can apparently understand what she is saying, even though she's not speaking English. I'm not sure whether she should count as a woman with lines, but since she only speaks to Donkey anyway, it doesn't really make a difference.

When Shrek arrives at Worcestershire high school, he walks to up to two high school girls who were talking to themselves. One (Gwenivere) says to the other, "So then I was all like, I'd rather get the Black Plague and lock myself in an iron maiden then go out with you." The other girl replies, "Uh, totally." Shrek interrupts and says, "Pardon me..." but Gwenivere says, "Eeaugh, totally eww-eth" and the second says, "Yeah, totally." Since Shrek has a line in between, it doesn't quite pass OB-2.

pink2.png pink3.png Shortly after the half-hour mark, the various princesses hold a baby shower for Fiona. Rapunzel, Snow White, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty are all there and have lines with Fiona. Like the first conversation between Shrek, Donkey and Puss-in-Boots, there aren't any one-on-one exchanges. However, each of the five women has at least one line, and they're talking amongst each other, not to any men. They talk about Fiona's pregnancy, the baby shower gifts, and whether or not babies poop, without mentioning any men at all.

Like the first two Shrek films, Shrek the Third is male-dominated, with most of the action and character development happening between Shrek, Donkey, Puss-in-Boots and Arthur Pendragon. Again, considering the title character of the franchise, this isn't too surprising. That said, it's the women who lead the escape from the jail cell, and they also lead in retaking the castle. Shrek the Third has more female presence, and stronger female characters, than either of the previous two Shrek movies.

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