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Shrek

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This film has been preserved in the National Film Registry in 2020.

Shrek
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The Greatest Fairy Tale Never Told (No Pun Intended).
Genre: Fantasy
Comedy
Directed By: Andrew Adamson
Vicky Jenson
Produced By: DreamWorks Animation
Written By: Ted Elliot
Terry Rossio
Joe Stillman
Roger S.H. Schulman
Starring: Mike Myers
Eddie Murphy
Cameron Diaz
John Lithgow
Photography: Color
Release Date: April 22, 2001 (Mann Village Theatre)
May 18, 2001 (United States)
Runtime: 90 minutes
93 minutes (Special Edition)
Country: United States
Sequel: Shrek 2


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.

Plot

Once upon a time, in a far 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's An ALL-STAR

  1. While movies like Toy Story revolutionized the visual aspect of animation, Shrek on the other hand marked an important point in the structure and storytelling aspect in animation as it stepped away from the classic tropes and clichés used in animation so far while introducing and mixing new elements that then became the new essentials in animation success such as it's various uses of comedy (slapstick, pop culture references, and gross out humor), the deep themes it can address, and use of pop culture music. This is one of the reasons the movie has aged so well to this day.
  2. The concept of semi-modern middle ages is quite creative and interesting. For example, the mirrors are seen as TV sets, and almost all of the characters speak with American accents instead of European accents.
  3. Catchy songs and overall memorable soundtrack, especially with "All-Star" by Smash Mouth, a song that is so memorable that it might as well be the main theme of Shrek. The soundtrack helps to enhance the experience and the movie wouldn't be the classic it is today without them.
  4. Great CGI animation, even for 2001 and DreamWorks standards as well as PDI. While Antz was the first film from DreamWorks to have CGI animation, this here looks very realistic and convincing. It's also interesting to see just how well the animation has aged 20 years on.
  5. Great story with pop culture references that actually work with the movie's setting and the context they're given in.
  6. For an animated film, the cinematography is very beautiful.
  7. It has an acceptable grasp on the source material for younger kids, as it removes Shrek's fire breath, which is good, given that Shrek breathing fire would be way too terrifying for younger viewers.
  8. Entertaining and now iconic scenes such as the "All-Star" opening, Gingy being interrogated by Lord Farquaad, and the "Ogres are like onions" dialogue.
  9. Amazing and memorable dialogue. Multiple jokes and lines are really funny and eventually spawned good memes, but overall are also deep and great on their own. Such as:
    • "What are you doing in my swamp?!"
    • "In the morning, I'm making waffles!"
    • "I'm a donkey on the edge!"
    • "Blue flower, red thorns. Blue flower, red thorns. Blue flower, red thorns. Man, this would be so much easier if I wasn't COLOR-BLIND!"
    • "Onions have layers. Ogres have layers... You get it? We both have layers"
    • This one is much more iconic for the latin-american fans: "Tu conoces ... a Pin Pon?"
  10. Complex and realistic character designs and that managed not to pass into the Uncanny Valley.
  11. Pitch-perfect voice acting that uses the cast's talents very well, especially by Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy.
    • The film, and it's sequels, also received a fantastic and memorable Latin-American Mexican dub to the point where the movie is more entertaining in Spanish than in English.
  12. Great and iconic characters, especially Shrek himself. The true thing is that none of them act fluffy duffy compared to most of Disney's characters. Also, even more, Fiona and Donkey heal in Shrek's character arc over his heart to others.
  13. This film, and the franchise overall, gives an excellent moral about accepting others for who they are, opening your heart to others, and loving yourself no matter what you look like.
  14. Since Shrek was supposedly made as a middle finger towards Disney from DreamWorks, 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 their products. Despite that, Shrek's story is completely original and manages to be unique on it's own way.
  15. Even though Farquaad contradicts Shrek's message, it does subvert the antagonist formula, which is surprising.
  16. 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.
  17. It started the Shrek franchise in a VERY high note.

Bad Qualities

  1. 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 maybe 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.
    • There's also a scene where Farquaad gets a visible erection from looking at Fiona.
  2. Although this is the movie that mocks Disney's cliches, it uses the typical misunderstanding cliché.
  3. Some aspects of the movie haven't aged well, most notably the lighting.
  4. While the humor is hilarious, some humor attempts (while not horrible by any means) are somewhat weak like when Shrek farts in the lake and kills a fish or burps fire.
  5. Despite the film being about loving yourself for who you are despite your appearance, the characters make fun of Farquaad for being short, which kind of contradicts the message and makes the movie's message ironic.
  6. The lines "Well, I have to save my ass" and "Stubborn jackass" are very inappropriate for a children's film. To be fair, the word ass is another word for donkey.
  7. While inspired by the 1990 storybook of the same name, this movie is too different from the aforementioned book that inspired this movie in terms of its story, though this is understandable as the writers of this movie wanted to go for a wholly original story, instead of giving the screenplay any inspiration from the book it's based on at all, and it's certainly not a big deal anyway considering the fact that this is an excellent movie as its own thing.

Reception

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.

Videos

Trailers

Reviews

Trivia

  • Originally, Chris Farley was cast as Shrek and had even recorded several sessions as the title character, however, he died from a drug overdose in 1997 before he could finish the script. 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 with a Scottish accent.
  • 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.
  • Contrary to popular belief, 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.
  • This film is the only non-Disney/Pixar animated film to be nominated for a screenwriting category, Best Adapted Screenplay, while winning the inaugural Best Animated Feature film category.
  • This film and WALL-E are the only best animated feature winners that are preserved in the National Film Registry as of 2022.
  • 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.
  • The aforementioned pop songs, coincidentally or not, fit the situation where they play
    • All Star serves to warn us that the movie is not going to be a traditional Disney-style fairy tale.
    • I'm Believer serves to tell us that Shrek discovered the power of love and friendship and that they are not just part of fairy tales.
  • As of now in the 2020's, Shrek as a whole has become the target of plenty of memes and jokes in the internet. And while many still have it in a special place in their hearts, most people on the internet tend to not take it seriously anymore and forget about the deep themes that the film addresses and the overall great movie that it really is.

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