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Fourth Shrek Film Ends Series in 3-D

Even fairy tales must come to an end.

The once-upon-a-time spoofing that began with 2001's Shrek will conclude when Shrek Forever After, the fourth computer-animated comic adventure starring the hygiene-challenged ogre - and the first in 3-D - arrives May 21. A trailer premieres Dec. 18 at showings of Avatar.

"All that was loved about Shrek in the first film is brought to the final film," promises Bill Damaschke, head of creative production at DreamWorks. Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy and Cameron Diaz are back as the voices of Shrek, sidekick Donkey and ogress wife Fiona.

The premise is the Brothers Grimm meet It's a Wonderful Life: After rescuing a princess, getting hitched and fathering triplets, Shrek is feeling over-domesticated. "He has lost his roar," says director Mike Mitchell (Sky High, Deuce Bigelow: Male Gigolo). "It used to send villagers running away in terror. Now they run to him and ask him to sign their pitchforks and torches."

To regain his ogre mojo, he strikes a deal with Rumpelstiltskin, the wee troublemaker who popped up briefly in Shrek 2 and 3.

Though certain websites wrongly, and somewhat bizarrely, list Paul McCartney as the voice of the vile schemer, it is actually non-Beatle Walt Dohrn, the film's head of story, who does the honors.

Of course, the pact goes awry and Shrek must confront what life would be like in Far Far Away if he had never existed. That translates into Donkey being forced into cart-pulling duty, fat and lazy Puss in Boots trading his sword for a pink bow and the underhanded Rumpelstiltskin ruling the kingdom.

No Shrek outing would be complete without new characters, and there are a bunch. Comedians Kathy Griffin and Kristin Schaal (Flight of the Conchords) are witches who hunt ogres. On the side of good is an underground resistance group led by Jon Hamm of Mad Men. "He is the best-looking ogre you've ever seen," Mitchell says.

So does Shrek Forever After wrap up with everyone living happily ever after? "I hate to give away the ending," Mitchell says, "but yes."

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