Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

I've been waiting a year to watch this.

I taped it last Christmas, because the BBC had decided to air it a day before the chronologically earlier movie Shrek The Third. Of course I wanted to watch them in the right order - I mean who wouldn't?

Anyway, somehow I managed to then miss said prequel, so filed away the unwatched tape of Shrek the Halls, and seven months later borrowed the DVD of the preceding chapter off of Brett. Coincidentally, by that point I was in a hemisphere where it was winter again.

Now however it's Christmas once more - and winter for a third time too - so this morning I duly dug out the old tape to find out what happened next to Shrek, Fiona and the babies they had just had.

Shrek The Halls is an enjoyable gag-packed addition to the Shrek canon, offering a welcome opportunity to drop-in on most of the movies' characters at Christmas time.

But what does Christmas look like in a land filled with people from storybooks? I mean do incarnations of the characters from the Christmas story exist in this world? Could versions of Mr and Mrs Christ show up here, complete with three kings from Orient, and looking for a stable to freeze in on the night of December 24th? Well, there's definitely a donkey…

Now obviously I wasn't expecting a discussion of metaphysics from a Shrek story, but I am disappointed that the writers kept this Christmas special as far, far away from the birth of Christ as it is possible to get. Come on, it is called Christmas! :)

But y'know, even that huge omission would be fine with me, but that the central story here is of Shrek himself learning what "the real meaning of Christmas" is. (not sure how he and Fiona missed last year's one - how long have they been married?)

"The real meaning of Christmas" is family, friendship, and fun. Not of a creator loving his created beings, and entering that world to restore them. Whether you believe in God or not, having him enter a world of created characters - as one of them - really ought to have fitted in perfectly here, albeit for different reasons to different groups of viewers.

And no, neither does it seem to be because the makers had an eye on redubbing the show for cultures that don't celebrate Christmas - these wintry visuals are specific to modern-day Crimbo.

Mind you, I suppose the characters themselves might have objected. Just how might the nativity story come across in a world where fairy stories are true? The residents of Far, Far Away might reasonably have protested that since God and the other nativity characters have never existed in their realm, therefore they are irrelevant. They're atheists! :)

Which I guess brings on the inevitable question - just who do fairy tale characters tell stories about?

But enough of what this 20-minute programme didn't contain.

There are plenty of good gags in here, but it does get gross towards the end, and whoever's writing Fiona has apparently never watched the first film, much like whoever wrote the third one. I'd graciously suppose that her generic mom-ness here is some sort of character-development, but it really seems more like the opposite. She might as well be Ellie from Ice Age 3.

I guess they might do an Easter one next.

In which case, I don't rate the Gingerbread man's chances.

(available here)
Related reviews:

Shrek 2
Shrek The Third
Shrek Forever After

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