Shrek Forever After
Release Date: June 17, 2010
Everyone’s favourite ogre returns to the big screen this June, wishing the Kingdom of Far Far Away would become Never Never Land so he can regain his great green mojo. Shrek makes a Faustian deal with the devilish Rumpelstiltskin in an effort to regain his essential ‘ogre-lines’. However signing a magical contract throws him back into an alternate kingdom where Donkey is a stranger and he has never met the Princess. Will he be able to kiss Fiona before the day ends, and so secure his future? Yes, it’s Shrek meets Back to the Future.
Since 2001 Shrek has tracked the life experiences of the average male. His complaint to Rumpelstiltskin could have come from any man wondering how his life subsided into a sea of responsibilities: “Sometimes I wish I just had one day to feel like a real ogre again.” Once again a kids’ film has become a foil for discussing some very adult problems. And it’s not only the characters who are struggling with middle-age. The entire Shrek franchise seems to be sagging as the fourth film feels its way around familiar territory. There are new jokes on the same old bodily functions, new twists on old fairy tale characters, a new soundtrack of classic hits, and new dance routines to accompany the not unexpected medleys. That doesn’t mean Shrek Forever After is boring. There are plenty of laughs, including a truly cringe-worthy moment when Puss In Boots convinces Donkey to help him with his bath.
If there is something to take away from this latest installment it’s the very familiar lesson that ‘You should be careful what you wish for’. Dreamworks assures us if we could land in that greener grass we’re just as likely discover a new supply of bindis. The Bible at least suggests that the sense of longing we feel has a real purpose: to set us seeking Someone not so Far Far Away who knows where happily ever after lies.
The Daily Show
Release Date: Week days, 7:10 PM
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is one of those phenomena that a younger generation of Australians have been enjoying for years via the Internet prior to its arrival on ABC2. At first glance it’s hard to understand why. The format is a comedic wrap up of America’s biggest news stories, “…unburdened by objectivity, journalistic integrity or even accuracy,” as the show’s tagline puts it. Jon Stewart is irreverent at best and often strays into the obscene, and the Australian time-slot and CC rating is surprising. However it would be a mistake to think that blue jokes were the only draw-card for younger audiences.
Jon Stewart displays incredible political savvy between jokes, demonstrating a firm grasp of the situations he is confronting. As such The Daily Show represents the resurgence of satire as a way of dealing with the news of the day. Locally you can see the idea gaining ground in programs like The 7PM Project and Good News Week. The only danger is that when we substitute programs like this for actual news reports, we lose touch with the facts behind the issues. Then we end up laughing simply because Jon tells we should.