You don't have to be a rocket scientist in order to spot the pattern developing during this much-hyped summer of sequels. Following two highly-entertaining and well thought-out installments in the Spider-Man franchise, we were offered a discombobulated third part that couldn't clean up its room without making it messier. Though Spidey is certainly not a tough act to follow, our lovable green ogre was in a similar position. Both Shrek and Shrek 2 were gems; ideal family comedies. A little something for the kids, a little something for the adults, and a lot of something at the box office. But when you begin to venture into threequel territory, there's a certain amount of risk that continuously whispers in your ear -- "How do we keep this thing fresh?" it asks. After all, even a little kid -- the kind that jumps up and down, screaming "Do it again, daddy!" -- will eventually become bored and move onto something else.
Although it's become increasingly more difficult to stand out in an animated marketplace flooded with generic knock-offs, Shrek the Third makes a bold attempt to reignite the magic using familiar ingredients and a whole new cast of characters. That said, the series is beginning to lose its flavor; Shrek (Mike Myers) and his cohorts continue to remain sharp, witty and adorable, but that inventive shine is fading. And what remains is an enjoyable, yet predictable version of something we used to love ... when it was new, when it was fresh and when it wasn't trying as hard to send multiple messages through a few neatly-placed Hallmark-esque monologues. For parents (especially soon-to-be fathers), Shrek the Third might seem therapeutic in a way, and it's also a great film to show those kids struggling to fit in at school. As far as the rest of us go, well, Shrek himself summed it up nicely when, half-way through the film, he blurted out, "Would you like some eggs with that ham?"