Much darker in tone than the previous Shrek films, this one is clearly challenging Frank Capra's Christmas classic It's a Wonderful Life as it sees Shrek looking at a world where he had never been born. As with Capra's film, it sees protagonist yearning for everything he left behind, a life which was previously leading to a sense of ennui and a very, very short fuse.

The tonal shift is welcome following the third instalment in the Shrek series this one seems more introspective and soulful than the films which succeeded because they were comedic riffs on traditional fairy tales and movie tropes.

The tone is reflected in the aesthetics, so the film is visually darker, but still has superb animation and, again, a brilliant cast to lend their characters their vocal talents to great effect.

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