Shrek is a computer animated comedic film, released by Dreamworks SKG in May of 2001. Many see it as Dreamwork's answer to the gauntlet thrown down by Disney and Pixar with the 1995 movie Toy Story, it also follows Dreamworks' 1998 Antz. Directed by Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson from a screenplay by Ted Elliott, based on the book by William Steig, Shrek is a truly fractured fairytale, both embracing and subverting them. Shreck is also Dreamworks' chance to poke fun at its rival Disney, for nothing is sacred: Snow White ends up on Shrek's dinner table and Lord Farquaad's rug, well, check the links for spoilers. Shrek is funny and fast-paced, but at times heavy-handed with its moral message.
The main characters are voiced by Mike Myers as Shrek, Eddie Murphy as The Donkey, Cameron Diaz as radiant Princess Fiona, and John Lithgow as the vertically challenged Lord Farquaad. The Dragon doesn't speak, but plays a large role and deserves mention.
The movie was in production for four years, which explains some dated pop-culture references. Still, the work paid off, and Shrek is often visually impressive, even beautiful. Lush landscapes and soft flesh reveal the time and effort that went into creating Shrek's world. Still, the visual quality might not blow you away as A Bug's Life probably did except a few stunning elements -- hair and grass come to mind. Good animation in a humorus, affected style. The movement of the characters often resembles that of magical marionettes.
Utterly predicatable (the plot entire plot is revealed in the first three minutes or so, and later developments are telegraphed) but oh-so clever. The digs at (and bows to) Disney are almost non-stop, and the story is occasionally contorted into a confusing mess in the service of a good bit of parody. Many of the best are parodies of simple nursery rhymes: look for the gingerbread man and the three blind mice. Lord Farquaad also kills Mama Bear and turns her into a bearskin rug. Occasionally the movie is sick and twisted: the aforementioned gingerbread man, a singing bird, and the later bit with the balloons make you wonder what sort of person sits around thinking this stuff up. The mostly so-so dialog is peppered with suprisingly graphic and base comments, the sort you tell yourself are OK only because they will go over the heads of the kids. Sure they will.
- Official Site
- Rotten Tomatoes
- tomatometer: 87% FRESH