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Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
Ross Murray
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is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at ross_murray@sympatico.ca
Posted 06.08.05
Stanstead, Quebec

ROSS MURRAY

The sequel to end all sequels ('though not likely)

This week, I went to see the summer's most humongous blockbuster extravasequel of them all: SpiderShrek of the Caribbean Ocean 13. It was so sequelicious that I have to share it with you.

(Spoiler alert: There's a Chevy Neon in this movie with a kickin' spoiler on the back.)

This latest installment of the saga picks up where Number 12 left off. SpiderShrek, torn between his loyalty to Princess Fiona and his ongoing steamy love affair with old flame Mary Jane Watson, has once again forsaken his spidey powers in order to sail the seas in search of the bounty Captain Jack Sparrow left clues for in a bawdy version of "I'm a Little Teapot."

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to SpiderShrek, said bounty has already been found by various disenfranchised X-Men and is being stored in the vault of a Las Vegas casino guarded by the worst of all fairytale creatures: zombie stepmothers.

One of the stepmothers is none other than Elizabeth Swann in disguise, acting as a mole (and would-be concubine) for Danny Ocean, whose gang of preternaturally suave criminals may be turning into zombies as well, 'though that's uncertain.

Cinematic bedlam ensues.

So far, you've got everything you expect from an action-adventure-comedy-parody-potluck. You've got your CGI narwhal attack. You've got the hilarious (yet poignant) sight of SpiderShrek walking into the Bellagio wearing Armani and sandals with socks. You've got swords and gunfire and magic potions and web-shooting magic potion swordfights. You've got Donkey.

But most important you don't have to sit through boring and time-wasting character development. Instant gratification, that's the name of the sequel game.

We know already, for example, that SpiderShrek is a tormented and flatulent superhero with "slimey senses" and a lovable sidekick with the power to sound like Eddie Murphy. And we know that Captain Jack Sparrow is Danny Ocean's nemesis because he shot a cannonball through Julia Robert's teeth.

And we know that Orlando Bloom and Brad Pitt will eventually sing a duet of the song that they've been composing separately but (quite amazingly) identically on opposite continents.

And yet, and yet… Somehow the ideas don't seem as fresh in SSCO13 as they did in SSCO12. Perhaps it's the film's seven-hour length. Perhaps it's George Clooney's pervasive smugness. Perhaps it's the stench of marketing. Could it be that the filmmakers have run out of ideas or (gasp!) simply no longer care about the audience?

For example, one of the delights of the SpiderShrek films is how they parody modern elements in fairytale-superhero settings. But really, the scene where SpiderShrek imitates Star Trek's Captain Kirk imitating Apocalypse Now's Colonel Kurtz? Is anyone really going to get that?

And following this with the usual Shrek-ian montage set to the Dead Kennedy's "Holiday in Cambodia" is just off-putting.

In addition, Johnny Depp's increasingly idiosyncratic performance is getting ridiculous. Channeling Keith Richards is one thing; speaking all your lines ventriloquistically through a squid on your shoulder is plain silly.

And then there's the sequence where Brad Pitt and Matt Damon smirk at each other in silence for 10-minute. That smacks of self-indulgence.

And how many times have we seen SpiderShrek miraculously catch someone falling from a building? At least once per movie. In a way, we kind of look forward to it. But for what possible reason did the filmmakers think we want to see Spidey rescuing a plummeting former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright?

And speaking of inappropriate cameos, Bruce Willis appears for two minutes as a heavily armed talking mollusk. Clearly this is merely a cynical plug for the upcoming Die Hard on the Head sequel.

Bottom line: Am I glad I contributed my eight bucks towards making this the biggest opening weekend ever for a partially-animated-3D-PG13-BYOB-sequel?

Yes! Because being part of the hype is what movie-going is all about. Bring on SSCO14. I'm dying to see if SpiderShrek returns to his ogre-iffic ways and eats Andy Garcia!

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