Shrek Forever After appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. From start to finish, this was a stellar presentation.
Sharpness appeared absolutely immaculate. No matter how wide the shots became, they always seemed crisp and perfectly detailed. Not the slightest hint of softness ever marred the presentation. I witnessed no examples of jaggies or shimmering, and I also detected no signs of edge enhancement. As expected, source flaws also remained absent in this clean transfer.
After offered a warm palette that favored the movie’s storybook roots. The colors were consistently rich and vibrant, and they displayed absolutely no flaws whatsoever. The hues looked brilliant and dynamic and really enhanced the visuals. Black levels also appeared dense and deep, and shadow detail was solid I felt totally pleased with this terrific presentation.
While not quite as strong as the picture, the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 soundtrack of Shrek Forever After also seemed outstanding. . The mix presented an excellent soundstage. The front three channels were especially active, with solid spatial orientation and smooth panning between speakers. The rear speakers got a nice workout, especially in many of the scenes in which characters flew; they zipped around from front to rear and right to left effectively and convincingly.
Audio quality appeared very positive. Dialogue remained distinct and natural and suffered from no signs of edginess or problems related to intelligibility. The score was warm and rich, as the music showed fine dimensionality and dynamics. The effects also came across as concise and accurate. They presented clean highs and some terrific lows; bass response was consistently tight and powerful without any distortion. All in all, the audio of After seemed quite impressive.
We find a pretty broad collection of extras here. First comes an audio commentary with director Mike Mitchell, head of story/actor Walt Dohrn and producers Gina Shay and Teresa Cheng. All four sit together for their running, screen-specific look at story/character areas, cast and performances, animation, various technical topics and music.
Expect a fairly meat and potatoes commentary here. While the participants provide a reasonable level of information related to the movie, I can’t say the track ever becomes especially lively or engaging. It delivers a more than acceptable chat without notable flaws, but it simply doesn’t keep us consistently engaged.
Exclusive to the Blu-ray, The Animators’ Corner delivers a picture-in-picture feature. It combines the aforementioned commentary with other elements; we also find storyboards, behind the scenes footage, and soundbites from Mitchell, Dohrn, visual effects supervisor Ken Bielenberger, studio co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberger, actors Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas, Craig Robinson, and Jon Hamm, and some unnamed animators.
If you watch “Corner” on its own, it’s fun and informative, but it’s redundant if you’ve already listened to the commentary. Most of the content comes from that chat, so you’ll have to sit through the same notes again. Unfortunately, if you skip the commentary and go solely with “Corner”, you’ll miss probably about one-third of the audio chat.
So what’s the most efficient option? I’d recommend that you watch “Corner” put turn on the subtitles for the commentary. This lets you “hear” the entire commentary when “Corner” branches to various video elements. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s the best way to avoid redundancy. I do think the added “Corner” content makes it superior to the commentary on its own, so it’s worth the effort to view it.
For another Blu-ray exclusive, we examine Shrek’s Interactive Journey. This allows you to visit nine of the movie’s “locations” and view concept art related to those places. The interface is a bit slow and awkward, but we find a nice collection of stillframe elements here.
Three Deleted Scenes run a total of five minutes, 44 seconds. We get “Fairy Tale Creatures Attack” (2:07), “Gingy Attack (Test)” (2:22), and “Emperor No Clothes (Test)” (1:15). “Attack” offers mostly finished animation, while the other two go with storyreels. All are actually pretty good, though the first two are rather violent. Still, I think they would’ve worked well in the final flick.
All of those running times include introductions from Mitchell. He tells us a little about the scenes and lets us know why he cut them – well, the first two at least, as we don’t find out why “Clothes” got the boot. Despite that omission, he adds some decent notes.
Five featurettes ensue. Spotlight on Shrek lasts 13 minutes, 46 seconds and offers remarks from Myers, Murphy, Mitchell, Katzenberger, Dohrn, Cheng, filmmakers Andrew Adamson, Raman Hui and Chris Miller, software development director of animation Ken Pearce, and producer Aron Warner. “Spotlight” concentrates on the original movie, as it looks at Myers’ performance and various technical elements. The show’s puffy and it’s a little odd to hear so much about the first flick on the fourth one’s disc, but it’s better than average for a promotional featurette.
During the three-minute, 58-second Secrets of Shrek Forever After, we get a look at some trivia. It makes sure we know the actors behind some of the supporting characters as well as abandoned story concepts. We’ll already know some of this info, but the piece is breezy and informative enough to merit a look.
Next comes Conversation with the Cast. It goes for nine minutes, 18 seconds and features Myers, Diaz, Murphy, Dohrn, Banderas, Hamm, Robinson and actor/moderator Ryan Seacrest. They participate in a press panel and discuss aspects of the movies and their performances. Nothing fascinating emerges, but it’s enjoyable.
The Tech of Shrek Forever After fills seven minutes, 32 seconds with comments from Cheng, Bielenberger, Katzenberg, DreamWorks Animation CTO Ed Leonard, visual effects supervisor Doug Cooper, DreamWorks Animation Head of Digital Operations Derek Chan, DreamWorks Animation technology executive Kate Swanborg, and Head of Research and Development Lincoln Wallen. Essentially they just tell us how much technology grew between the first and fourth movies; if any useful info emerged, I missed it.
Finally, From Swamp to Stage: The Making of Shrek the Musical runs eight minutes, 13 seconds. Hosted by Diaz, we find thoughts from directors Rob Ashford and Jason Moore, lyricist David Lindsay-Abaire, composer Jeanine Tesori, and choreographer Josh Prince. They tell us a bit about the Broadway show’s creation, but not much. This is a long advertisement.
We can check out a little more of the show via a performance of “Who I’d Be”. It doesn’t make me want to see the show. In fact, it actively makes me not want to see the show.
The set also includes a Music Video for “Darling I Do” from Landon Pigg and Lucy Schwartz. It’s a basic lip-synch/movie clip video gussied up with some forest-related visual effects. These don’t make the video interesting – or the song particularly enjoyable – but I must admit Schwartz is pretty hot.
Next we get a DreamWorks Animation Jukebox. This lets you see/hear sequences from Shrek, How to Train Your Dragon, Bee Movie, Over the Hedge, Madagascar, and Kung Fu Panda. All of this feels like glorified advertising to me.
Speaking of which, the disc opens with ads for Megamind and Kung Fu Panda 2. Under Previews, we also find promos for Rango, Shrek Forever After: The Game, Kung Fu Panda World, The Penguins of Madagascar, The Last Airbender and Shrek: The Musical.
If you expect anything remarkable from Shrek Forever After, you’ve not paid much attention to its predecessors. Like the first three movies in the franchise, After delivers moderate entertainment but nothing more delightful or memorable than that. The Blu-ray provides stunning visuals, very good audio and a reasonably nice set of supplements. I feel pleased with this Blu-ray, but the movie itself is only mildly enjoyable.