Shrek Forever After
Shrek Forever After (previously promoted as Shrek: The Final Chapter), also known as Shrek 4 or Shrek Forever After: The Final Chapter and styled as Shrek 4ever After: The Final Chapter, is a 2010 American computer-animated comedy-drama film produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by Paramount Pictures. It is the fourth and final installment in the Shrek film series and the sequel to Shrek the Third. It premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 21, 2010, and was theatrically released in the United States on May 21, 2010.
The film opens with King Harold and Queen Lillian (Fiona’s parents) going to see Rumpelstiltskin find a way to free Fiona from the tower from the first movie. In exchange, they agree to sign over their kingdom to him. But before they sign the contract, a messenger arrives and tells them that Shrek has saved Fiona, angering and upsetting Rumpelstiltskin. We are brought back to the present where Rumpelstiltskin is tearing pages out of a book in a library telling this story, angry that he didn't get the kingdom. Pinocchio kicks him out of the store after he tries to offer him a deal to make him a real boy. He angrily wishes Shrek was never born.
We cut to Shrek with Fiona and their three children, living a happy and content life in the swamp. Or so it looks at first. But we soon see that it’s the same routine for Shrek day after day with no rest or time to himself, so much to his misery. Shrek and the gang go back to Far Far Away to celebrate their kids’ first birthday at the Poison Apple, which has become a family restaurant. All the villagers who used to fear him are now clamoring fans and treat him like a celebrity. After the three little pigs eat the birthday cake (as well as a backup cake and a set of cupcakes) and an annoying kid named Butter Pants bothers him about doing the ogre roar, he furiously unleashes a mighty roar and angrily smashes the new cake, as the cake has a glittery "cute" ogre on it, which simply serves to remind Shrek of what he has lost. Shrek and Fiona go outside to talk. Shrek is angry that he is no longer a real ogre. He wishes his life were how it was before he rescued Fiona. Fiona is hurt and tells him he has everything, but Shrek is the only one that can’t see that. Eavesdropping on this conversation nearby is Rumpelstiltskin.
On his long trek back home, Shrek passes by a fallen over carriage and lifts it to find Rumpelstiltskin. Shrek fixes the carriage and in exchange, Rumpelstiltskin offers Shrek a ride and some food and drink. During the ride, Shrek tells him he wishes he could be a real ogre for just one day. Rumpelstiltskin offers him a contract offering him just that. In exchange, Shrek is going have to give up a day: they agree it will be a day from his childhood, a day he wouldn't even remember, when he was an "innocent, mindless little baby". Shrek signs the contract and everything around him swirls around and disappears landing him in the center of the forest.
A tour group drives by and they react in fear and crash into a tree. Shrek is extremely overjoyed, that the villagers are afraid of him again as shown in a montage of Shrek happily scaring villagers and animals. As Shrek walks through the forest, he notices that the wanted posters are not just pictures of him but pictures of Fiona as well. He runs back to his home in the swamp to find it has never been excavated from the hill it was into the house it should be. A band of witches fly by the area and see him. They attack, knocking him unconscious and capturing him. He wakes up in a trolley cage being driven by witches and dragged by Donkey. Shrek tries to ask him what is going on but Donkey doesn’t know who Shrek is. Shrek eventually gets the information out of Donkey that he is being taken where every ogre is taken, to Rumpelstiltskin.
Far Far Away has become rundown and decrepit except for Rumpelstiltskin’s enormous and luxurious palace. Inside the castle, it’s like a dance club as Shrek in chains is marched across the dance floor to the throne of Rumpelstiltskin. Pinocchio begs him to be a real boy but he gets dragged away before he can finish signing the contract, thanks to Shrek, the far more important person to deal with at that time, being dragged in. Rumpelstiltskin sees Shrek and thanks him for making everything around him come true. He reveals that the contract that the King and Queen signed ended up having their existence taken away when they signed away the kingdom to Rumpelstiltskin, as they had wished for their worries to disappear. He reveals to Shrek that the childhood day that he took away was the day Shrek was born, and as such, when the day ends, Shrek will disappear forever as in this new reality he has never actually existed; ultimately, his three children don’t exist by extension. Shrek, in anger, breaks free and steals one of the witch’s broomsticks and escapes with Donkey, against his will.
Shrek and Donkey crash land in the woods somewhere. Donkey, fearful of ogres just as any other citizen would be, attempts to flee, but Shrek stops him from successfully running away. Shrek tries to convince Donkey to trust him by poorly singing a showtune and smiling, but the attempt fails. Donkey runs away screaming. Shrek sits alone on a log, and a squeak emanates from his pocket. Pulling the item out he discovers that he had brought his daughter's little ogre doll and starts crying. Donkey sees this. Having never seen an ogre cry before, he chooses to trust him. Shrek tells him that he signed a contract with Rumpelstiltskin, which Donkey says he should never have done. Donkey then tells him about the exit clause which used to be guessing Rumpelstiltskin’s name but they don’t do that anymore since everyone knows his name now. Donkey shows Shrek the hidden exit clause in the contract by folding the contract in a certain way - at least in this case, as an origami heart. The way to break the contract is to share true love’s kiss, which will render the contract null and void. Shrek has to share a kiss with Fiona but doesn't know where she is so he rushes to the fortress where he rescued her in the first movie. When he gets to the top of the tower, he finds it empty and on the wall a tally of the innumerable days she spent up in that tower. He is also surprised to see that she left her crown behind on her bed.
Shrek also finds a handkerchief that belonged to Fiona, which was originally a token of her love to him. He gives it to Donkey so he can sniff her out. Despite trying to explain to Shrek that he is in fact a donkey and not a dog (as otherwise his name would be "Dog" and not "Donkey"), he smells something but his nose just leads him to a plate of waffles. Shrek tries to stop him, telling him how obvious of a trap it is, but Donkey tastes it anyways. Licking the syrup caused the trap to trigger as a log forces Donkey into a hole under the stump. Shrek follows Donkey through it underground, where he finds an entire community of ogres who make up the resistance to free Far Far Away and ogres everywhere. The warrior leader of this group turns out to be Fiona. As one might expect (except for Shrek himself) she doesn’t recognize him. He tries to explain the situation to her but he does it poorly. Before he can continue, witches patrol by their little village. Rumpelstiltskin has a meeting with the witches. He threatens them with a goblet of water in order to get Shrek before he kisses Fiona. They decide to hire a professional bounty hunter. Fiona tells her meeting of ogres that Rumpelstiltskin will lead the Ogre Hunt himself. They plan to ambush him now that he’s out of the safety of his castle, something he has not done before. Shrek plans to get Fiona to fall in love with him all over again so she will kiss him. When Shrek goes to Fiona’s room, he finds a morbidly obese Puss n’ Boots, who has retired and since gone soft, becoming, in effect, Fiona's pet. Fiona finds Shrek in her room. Shrek gives her a gift basket in order to woo her. It doesn’t work and she kicks him out. The bounty hunter Rumpelstiltskin has hired is the Pied Piper. Using his flute, he is able to manipulate any person or creature he sets his flute to, demonstrating by setting the flute to witches and making the witches break dance against their will.
Shrek finds out from the other ogres at dinner that the usual romantic gestures won’t work with Fiona and that the only thing she really cares about is getting rid of Rumpelstiltskin. Shrek tries to get closer to Fiona by feigning interest in the armory weapons. They end up sparring and having a good time with each other. Before he can get too close, she snaps out of it and orders him to get ready for the mission. Puss catches up to Shrek telling him that he saw a spark in Fiona that means Shrek is truly Fiona’s true love. Shrek tells Puss that he knows about Fiona’s curse.
At the ambush, the ogre band disguises themselves to wait for Rumpelstiltskin's caravan to pass by while Fiona moves to and lookout post to provide the group with the signal they will use to attack. However, Shrek ignores the plan and instead follows Fiona up to her lookout, where he proceeds to tell Fiona everything he knows about her including the curse. With Fiona distracted, the signal never comes to the rest of the ogre band, and Brogan grows impatient and takes it upon himself to issue the order. The ogre band rush out to take down the carriage only to find it empty. It turns out that the caravan is a trap laid by the Pied Piper, who proceeds to force the ogres into a dance number (of which only Cookie enjoys). Meanwhile, Shrek and Fiona start dancing randomly, unknowing of what has occurred. Donkey and Puss ride down the hill and grab Shrek and Fiona (they are unaffected by Piper's magical flute because it must be attuned to a specific type of being to function against them, and it is currently on an ogre setting which only affects ogres). They try to ride them away from the music but end up falling into the river.
On dry land, Fiona tries to go back to her friends but Shrek insists that she kiss him in order to save her friends. She kisses him but it doesn’t work. Nothing happens. Fiona tells him it’s all a big fairy tale and that she got herself out of the tower. She leaves. Shrek realizes that the kiss doesn’t work because Fiona is not in love with him in this reality. She was never rescued like she was supposed to be, and became disheartened, and stopped believing in love.
Rumpelstiltskin takes to the airwaves across all of Far, Far Away and tells the populace that he will give them their wildest dreams in exchange for Shrek and Fiona. Shrek finally realizes that he didn’t realize how perfect he had it until it was all gone. Gingerbread Man tries to collect his bounty from him and tells him about the deal. This gives Shrek an idea, but before he can ask Gingerbread Man an important question, Puss eats him. Shrek turns himself in, in order to get the deal of a lifetime, which Rumpelstiltskin offered to whosoever turned Shrek in. He makes a deal with Rumpelstiltskin to free all the ogres. He keeps Fiona, however, because she’s not all ogre, due to her curse. Rumpelstiltskin keeps them chained in the same room but across the room, relishing his victory. They are incapable of reaching each other because they are chained through the walls to one another, so if one person pulls forward, the other person is dragged back. Fiona is very enthralled by Shrek's attempt to save her.
Donkey, Puss, and the ogres make a plan on how to free Shrek and Fiona. Meanwhile, in the large room that Shrek and Fiona are chained up, Rumpelstiltskin unleashes Dragon. Donkey, Puss, and the ogres break in and cause chaos as they try to save Shrek and Fiona. Donkey and Dragon fall in love all over again (likely because Shrek had already revealed to Donkey that she was his wife) but instead of kissing him, the dragon attempts to eat him; however, Puss saves Donkey by stabbing his Dragon with his rapier.
Shrek and Fiona work together to chain up and defeat Dragon. The ogres corner Rumpelstiltskin but he tries to escape on his goose. Shrek lassos the goose and brings him down to the ground. The ogres have won the battle. However, the battle is one at daybreak and as such, Shrek begins to disappear from existence. Shrek tells Fiona all about their life together and their kids as he’s disappearing. He tells her how he’s enjoyed falling in love with her all over again. She kisses Shrek just as he disappears, As the sun rises, Shrek begins to fade from existence, but Fiona, having fallen in love with him all over again, kisses him just before he disappears completely, which nullifies the contract and restores Shrek to his world just before he originally lashed out at everyone, apparently erasing Shrek and Fiona's argument from existence. Shrek embraces his friends and family with a newfound appreciation for everything he has, truly living happily forever after.
Why It Rocks
- A big improvement over Shrek the Third and a genuine effort to return to the roots of the first two Shrek films after the poor reception of the third movie.
- Good grasp of the first film: In the first film it is shown that humans treat fairytale ogres and creatures in a racist manner and even use the tales creatures fairy tales as if they were slaves or goods. At the beginning of Shrek Forever After: The Final Chapter, we see that now humans don't treat fairy tale creatures badly and that Shrek is no longer hunted, but now he is seen as a celebrity for having changed the minds of the humans in relation to freaks like him and fairy tale creatures in first two Shrek films. So, as seen in a parallel reality, if Shrek had never been born, humans would continue to abuse fairy tale creatures and ogres would continue to be hunted by the humans.
- The film has a lot of respect for the franchise, the first film especially.
- Shrek Forever After: The Final Chapter tried to correct Shrek the Third's errors.
- There are action and emotion and the story focuses on Shrek and Fiona's relationship, as well as Shrek and Shrek 2.
- Shrek Forever After: The Final Chapter has many of the characteristic things from Shrek and Shrek 2; it begins with a character reading a fairytale-like Shrek and Shrek 2, has an appearance of Fiona's human form, has Shrek and Fiona giving a kiss of true love to solve a problem like Shrek and Shrek 2 and end with a dance party like Shrek and Shrek 2.
- Great voice acting, thanks to the cast, like Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, and Eddie Murphy, for reprising their roles. Likewise, Walt Dohrn is well-cast as Rumpelstiltskin.
- The idea of an ogre's resistance is incredibly creative.
- Great animation that is certainly an improvement from the previous three films.
- Rumpelstiltskin is an entertaining antagonist who keeps the stakes high throughout the entire film. What makes him stand out among Shrek villains is that he actually succeeds in his plan! He tricked Shrek into signing the contract to wipe him out of existence, which allows him to take over Far Far Away. He's also extremely intelligent, coming up with a surprisingly clever plan to trick Shrek into making a deal with him and using a loophole to excuse keeping Fiona captive near the end where Shrek turns himself in to get a wish, and wishes for the freedom of all ogres. While the film wants you to hate him, you can't help but kinda admire his wits when it comes to getting what he wants.
- Cookie is a likable new character.
- Great call-backs to the character's dynamics from the previous films.
- Once again, Donkey is Shrek's only confidant until he meets the alternate versions of Fiona and Puss, respectively. But this time, unlike the first film, Shrek is in a situation where he has to convince Donkey to befriend him.
- The alternate versions of Puss and Donkey becoming friends so quickly is nice, considering the animosity that preceded the friendship of the versions of Puss and Donkey from the original timeline in Shrek 2.
- Decent musical score and the song choices aren't as questionable as in Shrek the Third.
- Similarly, Weezer's cover version of I'm a Believer is pretty decent and Darling I Do is an emotional song.
- The sequence with the Pied Piper making the ogres dance with his flute as Shake Your Groove plays is also entertaining.
- Darling I Do is a great and emotional song.
- The Pied Piper, like Puss in Boots before him, manages to be both a funny, clever take on a fairytale character and a badass bounty hunter.
- The film has very moving and thoughtful phrases, which give good messages about appreciating our life such as:
- "My life was perfect now I will never get it back".
- "You rescued me".
- "When I need you where were you".
- Emotional and heartbreaking moments, notably when Shrek cries for the only time in the series upon discovering he had brought his daughter's doll with him, a symbol of everything he had lost, as well as Shrek's final moments with the alternate Fiona where explains to her that she gave him everything and that he got the chance to fall in love with her all over again.
- The scene where Shrek remembers his children is very emotional and heartbreaking.
- It also flips Shrek and Fiona's roles in the first film in an interesting way; Fiona fully embraces her warrior-like qualities and hides the fact that she becomes a princess during the day as an effect of being traumatized by the fact that she was never rescued to the point where she rejects the notion that "true love" solves everything in favor of making things better on her own, while Shrek is the one who believes in the power of "true love".
- Hilarious moments here and there, such as Donkey saying "Try Lou's bliss!", as well as one scene with Butter Pants where he says "Do the roar!".
- Having this movie be somewhat darker than the previous three is an admirable move on the filmmakers' part.
- Fiona is more relevant than she has been since in the first film, in which she is an essential character in the first film who is insecure about her curse and eventually learns to accept who she is; even in Shrek 2, her story has been shafted from much of the narrative (while she is essential to Shrek's character arc, she herself doesn't receive too much focus). In Shrek the Third, she serves little to no real purpose to the story apart from being pregnant with Shrek's kids. Here, in Shrek Forever After: The Final Chapter, much of the narrative revolves around her.
- This movie concluded Shrek's arc with a golden key, in the first film he learned to open his heart to the other, in the second film he learned to love himself and in this fourth and final film he learned to value the life that he has and why he is important to everyone.
- Some characters in your versions of an alternate reality are creative, like Fat Puss in Boots or Gladiator Gingy.
- This film is full of interesting concepts and some even expand the universe of the franchise, such as Warrior Fiona, the rebel ogres, the fact that Fiona's parents could not stand her daughter trapped in the Dragon Tower and went to sign a contract with Rumpelstiltskin.
- Shrek's character development is really shown in this film; when arguing with the alternate Fiona, he insists that true love will solve everything and it does exist, a big contrast to how he dismissed the notion in the first film and Fiona insisted on the power of true love. In the end, he has fully accepted everything he has and became a better person because of it, realizing how much Fiona meant to him ("It was you who rescued me...").
- Shrek's behavior is explained by the opening montage of what his life had become up until his children's first birthday. If you had to go through the same tiring routine every day that you too would be very sick of it. And as for Shrek yelling at Fiona, yes that was a really mean thing for him to do, but remember that Shrek was becoming less satisfied with how monotonous his life was becoming and people can say things they end up regretting when they let powerful emotions like anger take over.
- All the dubs that were made of this movie are amazing, in stark contrast to other dubs.
- The main characters from the predecessors are still likable and put in a new and original light, Fiona in particular where we see how life locked up in a tower has affected and traumatized her.
- Speaking of the alternate reality Fiona, she and Shrek gain some great chemistry over the course of the film. At first, Shrek only joins her resistance in hopes of getting his life back rather than him being particularly concerned with her cause. But upon learning how Fiona's time trapped in a tower, waiting for a true love who never came had traumatized her, he eventually comes to the conclusion that since he can't get his life back, he'll use whatever time he has left to try and improve this reality. Therefor, he turns himself in to Rumpel to get a wish, and wishes for the freedom of all the captured ogres. But Rumpel refuses to free Fiona due to the fact that she's "not all ogre", leaving both her and Shrek trapped together This makes Fiona realize how much Shrek truly cares about her, and after they chain dragon up and defeat Rumpel, the day comes to an end and Shrek begins to fade from existence. Shrek tells her how she's already done everything she could for him, and how the best part of the day was how he got the chance to fall in love with her all over again.
- It delivers an excellent message, explaining how "You only get one chance in life and you have to be grateful for what you have".
- The birthday party scene is delightfully hectic and a good metaphor for how Shrek the Third was like: loud, annoying, and childish, and what really drives it home is how it takes place in what used to be the dark and seedy Poison Apple bar.
- The ogre tiples do play some role in the plot in contrast to their appearance in the previous film. While they were nothing more than an excuse for child merchandising in Shrek the Third, here they serve as part of Shrek's Happily Ever After and Shrek does cry, for the first and only time in the whole franchise, when he temporarily erases them from existence due to his contract with Rumpelstiltskin, showing how much Shrek loves his children.
- The climactic battle between the ogre resistance and Rumpelstiltskin's witches, as well as the fight between Shrek and Fiona against Dragon, is amazing.
- Its ending is very emotional, endearing, and satisfying, it already shows a great evolution to the character of Shrek, showing him that despite the mistakes his life is perfect and he must value it, in addition, the scene perfectly combines the musical elements, through the melody "Never Been Better".
- The credits scene is very funny, plus the song I'm a Believer gives a strong air of nostalgia.
- The credits combine many scenes from the previous three films, proving a beautiful sense of nostalgia for those who grew up with the series.
- At the same time, the scenes shown from the three films fit perfectly showing the past and present of the Shrek franchise.
- It is a nice send-off to Shrek, although the franchise will be getting another film.
- It rehashes elements from the first film, as well as It's A Wonderful Life, Back to the Future, The Little Mermaid and The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause;
- It has many elements from the first film. Fiona is a fighter (although she is portrayed in a serious, dark and dramatic way this time, while she was portrayed in a comical way in the first film) or Shrek singing a song to convince Donkey to become his friend (just like in the first movie where Donkey sang a song to convince Shrek to be his friend) or the fact that Humans hunts ogres (just like in the first film) and the main villain is short (in the first film is Lord Farquaad, while in this film is Rumpelstiltskin). In addition to Shrek having to kiss Fiona for a spell to be broken (in the first movie it was the curse that made Fiona human by day and ogress by night, while in this movie Shrek has to kiss Fiona so that the world could go back to how it was before he signed the Rumpelstiltskin’s contract)
- Both It’s a Wonderful Life and Shrek Forever After: The Final Chapter has the same concept: someone wishes that he was never born and he goes to an alternate reality where he was never born and everyone that he knows is miserable without him.
- Both Back to the Future and Shrek Forever After: The Final Chapter has the concept of the protagonist has to fix the timeline or the protagonist will disappear from the existence.
- Both The Little Mermaid and Shrek Forever After: The Final Chapter share the concept of the main character making a magical deal with the antagonist that would grant their wishes, but signing the contract activates a countdown, and said the main character has to nullify the contract by getting a kiss or else something bad will happen to them.
- The premise is also similar to The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause; where Jack Frost tricks Scott Calvin into giving up his life as Santa Claus, resulting in Frost taking over the title and the turning the North Pole into a tourist attraction; like how Rumpelstiltskin tricks Shrek into signing away his life so Rumpel can become king of Far Far Away, which becomes desolate and run down.
- The plot at one point feels very bland, as it uses a lot the cliché that "I didn't know what I had until I lost it", at the same time its plot recycles the trope of "If I had not been born, my world becomes hell”.
- Rather inappropriate and cringeworthy dialogue here and there, notably "I'm being ass-napped!" and the infamous "My donkey fell in your waffle hole!"
- Some attempts at humor are rather either nonsensical or cruel, notably when Shrek is about to continue interrogating Gingy... right before Puss eats him, as well as when Shrek suggested to Rumpel that he erase the day he met Donkey.
- The film is a bit rushed; the pacing of the film switches a lot, even more than in the previous movie. Especially considering how many feel that the whole premise of an alternate reality could have been more explored if it had not been for the rather short runtime of the film; it also is never explained as to what happened to Fairy Godmother in an alternate reality, Although the film implies that Farquaad died in an alternate reality as well (proof of this is that the Magic Mirror that belonged to Lord Farquaad in the first film now belongs to Rumpelstilskin in an alternate reality) and Charming was probably killed by the Dragon (knowing that Charming is basically the little son of the Fairy Godmother and treated like a baby, besides being very goofy, so it is very likely that the Dragon killed Charming).
- Although the soundtrack is incredible, some of the melodies used feel chilling: in particular, Rumpel's Kingdom and Shrek Signs The Deal.
- It has few references to Shrek the Third and barely acknowledges the events of Shrek the Third. Arthur Pendragon (who was also going to appear, but was also cut) and Merlin no longer seeming to even exist anymore and they are never mentioned, though this may have been done because Shrek the Third had a mixed-to-negative reception by the critics and the public.
- On the topic of the lack of explanation for specific details, it is never explained how or why all of the other ogres are there at the end of the film after Shrek was able to get his life back and thus never met the other ogres; this may confuse those watching the film.
- Since Shrek has seen wanted posters of Fiona, he would have known that she wasn't in the tower anymore, but he still goes there to check if she is there anyway.
- Inconsistencies with the previous films; for example, Rumpelstiltskin looks, acts, and sounds different than in Shrek the Third, though that example is not necessarily a bad thing.
- Similarly, it was shown in Shrek 2 that it takes at least a few days to get from Shrek's swamp to Far Far Away, but it appears to take far less than a day for the witches to bring Shrek from his swamp all the way to Far Far Away.
- On that topic, this one is a bit complicated, but in this film, it seemingly doesn't take long for Shrek and Donkey to flee to a nearby forest after escaping from Rumpelstiltskin, and it also seemingly doesn't take long for Shrek to get to the Dragon's Keep in the exact same day, as if it were not that far (but a bit far enough) from Far Far Away, even though in the first film it took nearly two days to get from Duloc (which took at least from overnight to daytime to arrive there all the way from Shrek's swamp) to the Dragon's Keep; it would be impossible for Shrek to get there as well as for the ogre resistance to get from there to Far Far Away in less than a day, given how it was established that the "Ogre for a Day" contract lasts for, well, a day.
- The baby ogre cries are even more annoying than in Shrek the Third.
- False advertising: Though the Gingy from the alternate universe is shown in many of the film's posters, he has little to nothing to do in the film, aside from convincing Shrek of Rumpelstiltskin's offer in which whoever brings him in gets to sign the "Deal of a Lifetime" contract before being devoured by Puss.
- There is bizarre writing that is all over the place and weird at times.
- This is certainly the darkest film in a franchise known for its comedy, making it look more like a war against a society film than a fairy tale comedy film.
- There is yet another absurdly high kill count in this film; two cases are when Rumpelstiltskin throws some water at a witch's face, which causes her to melt, and when Fiona uses her powerful singing to cause Fifi to explode in the end.
Shrek Forever After: The Final Chapter received mixed reviews from critics and audience, who criticized its clichéd story, although it was considered to be an improvement over Shrek the Third. The film currently holds a 58% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 197 reviews, with the consensus reading "While not without its moments, Shrek Forever After too often feels like a rote rehashing of the franchise's earlier entries". On Metacritic, the film had a weighted average score of 58 out of 100, based on 35 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale, the same score earned by Shrek and Shrek 2.
It was not until a decade after its release the reception improved to the point that some fans have started to appreciate the efforts of Shrek Forever After: The Final Chapter to bring back the tone of Shrek and Shrek 2 and conclude the franchise decently, although another film is currently in the works. Nowadays, many consider the film as underrated and that it was not taken seriously during its initial release; this has led some fans to even deem Shrek Forever After: The Final Chapter as the true third film and disregard the existence of Shrek the Third, considered by many as the weakest film in the franchise, and also, Shrek The Third does not advance the story in ways that cannot be understood when they are reintroduced in Shrek Forever After: The Final Chapter, which is one of the reasons for the fans skipp Shrek the Third and considerer Shrek Forever After: The Final Chapter as the true third film of the franchise.
Shrek Forever After: The Final Chapter grossed $752.6 million on a $165 million budget, becoming the 21rst-highest-grossing animated film, the fifth-highest-grossing of 2010, the second-highest-grossing animated film of 2010, behind Toy Story 3. Shrek Forever After: The Final Chapter was a box office hit.
- Tim Sullivan was hired to write the script in March 2005 but was later replaced by Josh Kleusner and Darren Lemke. Tim Sullivan wrote Letters to Juliet (2010) starring Amanda Seyfried.
- Arthur, Lord Farquaad, and Charming were originally going to appear in this film; Arthur was supposed to appear as the king of Far Far Away (who would be abusing his powers), and in the alternate reality where Shrek was never born, Arthur would've still been in high school, while Lord Farquaad was supposed to appear in an alternate reality as the Lord of Duloq and an ally of Rumplestilskin, while Charming would be alive and cursed by the same curse as Fiona (human by day an ogre by night) in the alternate reality where Shrek was never born, which would cause a love triangle between Charming, Fiona, and Shrek.
- According to Jeffrey Katzenberg in old news of October 2007, Shrek Forever After: The Final Chapter was originally going to be called Shrek Goes Fourth, explaining that "Shrek goes out into the world, fourth!". In May 2009, however, DreamWorks Animation retitled the film to Shrek Forever After: The Final Chapter after deciding to cancel Shrek 5 and end the franchise in this fourth film.
- This film has more ogres than any other Shrek film of the series.
- Paul McCartney, David Morrissey, and Tom Cruise were all rumored to voice Rumpelstiltskin many times. But Walt Dorhn was elected.
- Shrek Forever After: The Final Chapter is notably darker and more serious than the previous three films.
- Initially, the idea of Puss in Boots getting fat and lazy was met with some resistance until the writers Josh Klausner and Darren Lemke convinced everyone that the idea was rich in comic potential.
- Even though Fiona is an ogre for most of the movie, we do get to see her briefly as a human. When Shrek is telling Puss the curse "By day one way, by night another, this shall be the norm. Until you find true love's first kiss, then take love's true form", we go to a flashback of Fiona in the tower as human as the sun sets and turns into an ogre.
- This is the only Shrek movie to have a known main antagonist still left alive.
- In a game made to promote this fourth film, Rumpelstiltskin has changed Shrek's world, just like the film, and in the game, Shrek is in search of Princess Fiona's tiara at the Dragon's Keep in the game. So, Rumpelstiltskin realizes that if Princess Fiona kisses Shrek before his "ogre day" is over, life goes back to normal and Rumpelstiltskin wouldn't be king anymore. Rumpelstiltskin decides to negotiate with a greedy woman who would do his bindings if she could be "queen for a week". The devious woman was the Fairy Godmother.
- In the game made to promote this fourth film, it is showing what happened to Fairly Godmother in the alternate reality where Shrek was never born. She would be alive in Rumpelstiltskin's new world without Shrek's birth, and because she never met Shrek, she never died. In the game, Shrek arrives at the "odd" Dragon's Keep, he discovers that Dragon is missing and that someone else is staying at the castle; the Fairy Godmother. She stands before Shrek, Donkey, and Puss in her usual blue dress, but it's ripped and covered in dirt. It seems that asking, Rumpelstiltskin hasn't been good for her business. The Fairy Godmother is also found wearing Fiona's tiara and parsing herself in a mirror (saying, "Ah! Fit for a fairy queen!"). Eventually, Shrek calls her "Granny" and she doesn't respond well, saying that that's no way to treat their "new queen". Soon, an epic battle begins with witches, poison apples, potions, and fire. Eventually, the Fairy Godmother surrenders and gives Shrek back Fiona's tiara and as she flies away from the castle, she screams in anger and says, "This doesn't mean anything, you know! I'm still the queen! You hear me?! THE QUEEN!".
- Jeremy Steig, who voiced Pied Piper, is William Steig's son.
- Currently, there is a group of cult fans who consider Shrek Forever After: The Final Chapter as the true third film of the franchise, and that same group of fans disregard Shrek the Third from existence and consider Shrek, Shrek 2, and Shrek Forever After: The Final Chapter as a trilogy, similar to trilogies of DreamWorks like Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon.
- Shrek 5 was on DreamWorks Animation plans before Shrek was released. Shrek 5 would be released in 2013 and rumors said Shrek 5 would take place after the events of Shrek the Third and before the events of Shrek Forever After: The Final Chapter in the timeline. Jeffrey Katzenberg (producer of Shrek films) said that Shrek 5 would be the last film in the franchise and the story would be about how Shrek met the Swamp before the events of Shrek (2001). Therefore, Shrek 5 was canceled because Jeffrey Katzenberg believed that Shrek Forever After: The Final Chapter was the perfect way to end Shrek's journey. However, Universal bought DreamWorks and confirmed that Shrek 5 would be released in 2019 with a Michael McCullers script and the story would take place several years after the events of Shrek Forever After: The Final Chapter in the timeline and would be primarily focused the lifes of Shrek's children who would already be teenagers or young adults as a way to reinvent the franchise without making a Reboot. But, Shrek 5 and Puss in Boots 2 were cancelled and now a Shrek reboot and a Puss in Boots reboot will be produced by Chris Meledandri, and the Shrek reboot will be released on September 22, 2022. But, according to the rumors, the reboots were cancelled and now they are making Shrek 5 and Puss in Boots 2, but it wasn't confirmed. So we must wait until 2022 to see Shrek and his friends back so we can find out if it's going to be a sequel, a revival, a prequel, a reboot, or a remake.