Shrek

  • Title:  Shrek
  • Directors:  Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson
  • Date:  2001
  • Studio:  Dreamworks Pictures
  • Genre:  Animation, Musical, Comedy, Romance
  • Cast:  Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, John Lithgow
  • Format:  Color, Widescreen, Animated
  • DVD Format:  R1, NTSC

“Bachelorette Number Three is a fiery redhead from a dragon-guarded castle surrounded by hot boiling lava. But don’t let that cool you off. She’s a loaded pistol who likes pina coladas and getting caught in the rain. Yours for the rescuing, Princess Fiona!”  — Magic Mirror

“You know, Donkey, sometimes things are more than they appear.”  — Shrek

 “It’s the world that seems to have a problem with me. People take one look at me and go, ‘Oh help, run!  A big, stupid, ugly, ogre.’ They judge me before they even know me. That’s why I’m better off alone.”  — Shrek

Shrek takes the typical Disney-style Fairy Tale and inverts it, casting the Ogre as the hero who must rescue the Princess. But not only that, Shrek pokes great fun at Disney and as traditional Fairy Tales and even nursery rhymes. It’s almost like watching a parody of the Disney Fairy Tale genre; and the sight gags and verbal humor work very well. But what Shrek is also about is being true to yourself, seeing yourself as beautiful for who and what you are, and coming to terms with the “real you”. And that is a very good message to be sending to kids and teenagers — especially girls, but boys too. Because, for all that Shrek seems to be comfortable with his Ogre lifestyle — he’s also completely alone. And although at first he seems happy that way, very early on in the film, Donkey becomes his friend, and eventually Shrek and Fiona realize their feelings for each other and are married. Or, at least, become a couple.

The film begins with a musical introduction of Shrek, a content and happy ogre. When townspeople show up with pitchforks and burning torches — he runs them off. Meanwhile, all the fairy tale, magical, and even nursery rhyme characters are being rounded-up by Lord Farquaad. Farquaad dumps these “unwanted creatures” in Shrek’s swamp. Shrek wants peace and quiet, so he goes off to Lord Farquaad’s castle, fights off the Lord’s champion knights, and agrees to take on a quest:  he will rescue Princess Fiona, in return for Farquaad giving him his swamp back.

In a fairly standard fairy tale way, Shrek and Donkey get to the castle where Fiona is being held, rescue her and escape from the dragon. However, the dragon is female and develops a crush on Donkey. This will be important later in the story.

The way back to Farquaad’s castle will take three days and nights. And Fiona has a secret — she refuses to let anyone see her at night because of a curse. At night, Fiona turns into an ogress and thinks she’s ugly and unlovable. She wants to marry and experience “True love’s first kiss” to break the curse. Fiona also is adept at martial arts, doing the “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” thing to take out Monsieur Robin Hood and his Merry Men. Gradually, over time, Fiona and Shrek come to like each other, but there’s a horrible misunderstanding, and Fiona chooses Lord Farquaad. Meanwhile, Donkey has learned Fiona’s secret. Shrek also rejects Donkey, mostly due to the same misunderstanding. Donkey, though, goes to confront Shrek and the two make-up and become friends again. Donkey then sets Shrek straight, and the two are flown to Lord Farquaad’s castle to stop the wedding. Shrek interrupts the wedding, Fiona chooses Shrek and kisses him, and the curse is broken — revealing her true form to be that of  an ogress. Shrek and Fiona drive off in an onion-shaped carriage.

Overall, Shrek is an excellent film. It’s very funny, it’s got a good story, and the “moral” of being true to yourself and learning to love who you really are is good for children, teens, and adults. I recommend it.

Recommendation:  See it!
Rating:  4 out of  5 Stars
Next Film:  Shrek 2

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