Shrek is a 2001 American computer-animated comedy film directed by Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson in their directorial debuts and based on the 1990 picture book Shrek! by William Steig. It's considered to be a turn-around for DreamWorks Animation. It stars Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and John Lithgow as the voices of the lead characters. The film parodies other fairy tale adaptations, primarily aimed at animated Disney films. It was the first animated film to win an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. A sequel, Shrek 2, was released in May 2004.
Once upon a time, in a far away swamp, there lived an ogre named Shrek (Mike Myers) whose precious solitude is suddenly shattered by an invasion of annoying fairy tale characters. They were all banished from their kingdom by the evil Lord Farquaad (John Lithgow). Determined to save their home -- not to mention his -- Shrek cuts a deal with Farquaad and sets out to rescue Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) to be Farquaad's bride. Rescuing the Princess may be small compared to her deep, dark secret.
Why It Rocks
- The concept of a semi-modern middle ages is quite creative and interesting. For example, the mirrors are seen as TV sets, and almost all of the characters speaks with American accents instead of European accents.
- Catchy songs and soundtrack, especially "All Star" by Smash Mouth. The soundtrack helps to enhance the experience and the movie wouldn't work without these songs.
- Great CGI-animation, even for 2001.
- The characters break off all clichés their source material depicts them as while mixing various elements from timelines or outside cultures with the characters to make up very hilarious moments, such as Fiona practicing karate and pop music being played in the story.
- Great story with pop culture references that actually have to do with the movie's plot.
- Amazing and memorable dialogue.
- Complex and realistic character designs.
- Excellent voice acting that uses the cast's talents very well, especially by Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy. The film also received a fantastic Latin American Spanish dub to the point where the movie is more entertaining in Spanish than in English.
- Positive portrayal of antagonists.
- Great characters, including Shrek himself. The true thing is that none of them act fluffy duffy compared to most of Disney's characters.
- Multiple jokes and lines of dialogue that are really funny, like "What are you doing in my swamp?!" and "In the morning, I'm making Waffles!".
- Excellent morals about accepting others for who they are, and loving yourself no matter what you look like.
- Since Shrek was supposedly made as a form of revenge from DreamWorks towards Disney (meaning Dreamworks was saying "screw you" to Disney), there are Disney references throughout the film that make fun of Disney’s traditional tales and they work really well to make a really good parody out of. In fact, the whole movie was made to mock Disney, and was made as a parody of Disney.
- Despite its goal as a parody, Shrek's story is completely original because it uses old ideas and alters them to create a unique film.
- Even though Farquaad contradicts Shrek's message, it does subvert the antagonist formula, which is surprising.
- Beautiful score by Harry Gregson-Williams and John Powell, especially the opening theme Fairytale which would eventually be used as the music for the DreamWorks Animation opening logo from 2004 to 2017.
- Certain moments are a bit too suggestive for a family film (albeit being entertaining), most notably when Shrek and Donkey arrive at Farquaad's castle and look at how large it is, before they ask each other "Do you think he's compensating for something?" while they both laugh. Farquaad's name also sounds like a swear word if you say it fast enough, which may have been intentional.
- Although this is the movie that mocks Disney's cliches, it uses the typical misunderstanding cliché.
- Some aspects of the movie haven't aged well, most notably the lighting.
- Some gross-out humor here and there.
- Despite the film being about loving yourself for who you are despite your appearance, the characters make fun of Farquaad for being short, which sort of contradicts the message and makes the movie's message ironic.
- The lines "Well, I have to save my ass" and "Stubborn jackass" are very inappropriate for a children's film.
- Originally, Chris Farley was cast as Shrek and had even recorded several sessions as the title character. Filmmakers had hoped to salvage the work that Farley had put in, but ultimately brought in Mike Myers to play Shrek and the dialogue was completely redone.
- Mike Myers was unhappy after seeing how his dialogue meshed with the animation of Shrek, so he talked producer Jeffrey Katzenberg into allowing him to re-record his entire role.
- Some of the development team behind the animation of the film took actual mud showers so that they could observe and study the movement of the mud to make their animated renderings look as realistic as possible.
- The song “All Star” by the band Smash Mouth was not originally written for Shrek. It had been released previously and in fact had been featured in other films prior, including Mystery Men and Inspector Gadget. A new song had been written for the opening credits of Shrek, but it was producer Jeffrey Katzenberg who suggested using the popular song.
- The character of Shrek received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2010, joining an elite class of animated characters to have stars – including Mickey Mouse, Snow White, Woody Woodpecker, Winnie the Pooh, Donald Duck and The Simpsons.
- Shrek was featured at the May 2001 Cannes Film Festival – becoming the first animated film to be in official competition for the Palme d’Or since Walt Disney’s Peter Pan in 1953.
- Shrek made history at the 2002 Academy Award® ceremony. The film won the first-ever Oscar® given in the category of Best Animated Feature Film. The film also became only the second animated feature to ever be nominated for its screenplay.
- Shrek was developed into a Broadway musical and opened at the Broadway Theatre on December 10, 2008. “Shrek the Musical” was nominated for eight Tony Awards including Best Musical at the 2009 Tony Awards.
- There is speculation that Lord Farquaad's appearance was inspired by Michael Eisner, the then–CEO of The Walt Disney Company, because of producer Jeffrey Katzenberg's animosity toward his former employer. His name is also a play on the word: "fu**wad".
- Shrek's induction into the National Film Registry had marked a lot of firsts in the NFR.
- First DreamWorks Animation film.
- First animated feature film from the 21st century
- First PG rated animated feature film
- First animated feature film NOT from Disney.
- and first non-Pixar computer animated feature film to be inducted.
- In the European Spanish dub, Shrek and Donkey were voiced by Juan Muñoz and José Sánchez Mota of comedy duo Cruz y Raya. They would continue voicing the characters through the entire saga, even after parting ways professionally in 2007.
Shrek was widely praised as an animated film that featured adult-oriented humor and themes, while catering to children at the same time. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an 88% approval rating based on 203 reviews, with an average rating of 7.81/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "While simultaneously embracing and subverting fairy tales, the irreverent Shrek also manages to tweak Disney's nose, provide a moral message to children, and offer viewers a funny, fast-paced ride.". Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 84 out of 100 based on 34 critics, indicating "universal acclaim". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.