My Opinion right after watching movie
My opinion right after watching Shrek is that it is great. Great story, likable and developed characters, a great but confused soundtrack. I do not like pop-culture references and there are many in here (some I do not like), and the jokes in this movie are not as funny as I remembered or as other people say. The dark humor is great though. The CGI has definitely aged, but it is a pretty film. Shrek is one of the best DreamWorks films, but DreamWork’s best is nothing compared to WDAS’s or Pixar’s best.
When this company was founded, John H. Williams brought a book from his kids to the company and it caught Jeffrey’s attention and decided to green-lit the project. Steven Spielberg originally was going to produce the film in 1991, and the film would have been in hand-drawn animation. It would have starred Bill Murray as Shrek and Steve Martin as Donkey. Production in the CGI version that it is today started on Halloween 1996 , meaning production was more than 4 1/2 years. It was originally going to be a stop-motion picture, but it was unsatisfactory, but then they decided to go with live-action, but that did not work either, so they decided to go with CGI.
Chris Farley was originally cast as Shrek and recorded part of the dialogue before his death in 1997. Then, the role was given to Mike Myers. Shrek’s “air quotes” in the film apparently is a homage to Farley, whose character Bennett Brauer used air quotes also. Apparently, Cameron Diaz was very active with Fiona’s kung-fu scene since she was filming Charlie’s Angels at the same time. Originally, Robin Williams was asked to be in the film, but if anyone knows what happened with him and Katzenberg in the production of Aladdin, you would know that Robin Williams and DreamWorks will not ever mix. Mike Myers recorded his lines without an accent, but him and the company thought that it did not sound right, so he re-recorded it with an accent. The animation team for Antz moved straight to Shrek after production for Antz was finished. Apparently, the company was afraid of getting sued by Disney for not-so-subtly insulting them. Also, Katzenberg and Murphy promised one another to work on an animated film together since the 80s in the beginning of their film careers.
The story opens in a fairy-tale book with Shrek (Mike Myers) reading what I assume to be Sleeping Beauty, and he rips a page of the book to wipe his a$$ and says that it a load of shit.
The song “All Star” plays over Shrek living a normal day of his life, showing how gross and ugly he is. This day includes scaring off mobs by either being an ogre, his nasty mouth, or both.
It switches to Donkey and a bunch of other fairy-tale creatures being sold to the palace guards and an old lady tries to sell Donkey (Eddie Murphy) because he is a talking donkey, but could not prove it as Donkey refused to talk. Fairy dust fell on him and he started to fly, revealing to them that he can talk and fails at trying to make a flying escape.
He manages to escape and bumps into Shrek. He uses the ogre for protection, and the guards leave him alone. He follows Shrek to his annoyance. Donkey continues to ramble on about pop-culture references (that is not funny). He follows him to his swamp and convinces Shrek to stay there for a night, but Donkey is not allowed from coming in the house.
It is night-time and Shrek goes outside to see a bunch of fairy-tale characters (a good amount designed like the Disney versions), and flips out because they are all in his swamp where he wants privacy. They tell him that Lord Faarquad (John Lithgow) sent them there because they did not fit in with the lord’s dream of an ideal kingdom. Shrek and Donkey (to his chagrin) goes to his castle to get the creatures to leave.
The scene changes to Faarquad torturing the Gingerbread Man (Conrad Vernin) to find out where the remaining fairy creatures are. This is disturbed by his magic mirror (Chris Miller) being delivered to him. We do not know why he wants the mirror initially. The mirror tells him that he needs to marry a princess to become a king.
He parodies a dating show with Snow White, Cinderella, and Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) as the contestants. He chooses Fiona. Shrek and Donkey show up to the kingdom the next morning. After another Disney diss.
They go and confront Faarquad, who is holding a tournament to see which knight is going to fetch him Fiona. Shrek ends up beating them up and Faarquad sends him to fetch her in promise that the fairy-tale creatures will leave.
After Shrek goes on about how him and onions have layers and some Murphy humor, there is a montage of the two travelling day and night while some 50’s song plays over (I don’t understand what the rock era has to do with this movie or scene).
They get to Fiona’s tower which is surrounded by lava, and Donkey wimps out of walking across the weak bridge. Shrek tricks him into crossing over by doing this:
The two decide to split apart (Donkey go for the princess and Shrek defeat the dragon), but the opposite happens, with Donkey being stuck with the dragon who has a crush on him.
Shrek goes to Fiona, who is trying to have her cliche meeting going on, but Shrek grabs her up and tells her there is no time and to cut the fairy-tale crap.
After they trap Dragon and get Donkey, the three make it out of the castle and onto a safe land. Fiona wants to see her knight’s face and demands him to take off the helmet. She says that he must be her true love, and they laugh in her face (this showing that she should stop with her type of thinking). He takes it off and she does not like what she sees.
They are on their way back to Duloch (Faarquad’s kingdom) and when she finally realizes that it is going to take more than a day, she tells them that they need to rest, so she can hide herself from turning into an ogre from them. She locks herself in the cave for the night.
After the sun sets, Shrek tells Donkey about some ogre tales through the consolations, and tells him that he is going to build a wall around his swamp and Donkey asks him why. Shrek responds that he is sick of people looking at him like he is a monster so he wants to avoid that and to be left alone.
We are shown Farquaad asking a disgusted mirror to show Fiona while he is in his bed, so he could…….. ummmmmm…..
The next morning, Fiona wakes up and sings to a bird, and ends up killing it with her high note so she can take its eggs to cook.
After they eat, they continue on their journey, and both show that they have bad manners. Shrek says that she is not what he expects and she responds saying you should not judge people before you get to know them; one of the main messages of the movie. Robin Hood and his men take her so they can screw her, but she soon whoops their asses.
They send Donkey off, so they can spend time with one another and do a bunch of weird and gross things together that make them fall in love. The trio are almost at Duloch and it is sunrise, so she quickly locks herself up in the windmill for the night. Donkey hears weird stuff and goes in that windmill to find out her spell.
She explains to Donkey about her spell and about why she needs to be married off. Shrek approaches the tower to give her flowers and hears the part that she is saying she is disgusted and ugly, but thought that she was talking about him. She makes Donkey promise not to tell Shrek as she will tell him the next morning.
When she is about to do so the next morning, he blows her off and brought Faarquad to them to get her. They are both mad at one another and as she accepts in anger and leaves with Faarquad, he snaps at Donkey.
Both Shrek and Fiona are miserable, which is shown during the song “Hallelujah”. Donkey shows up saying half of the swamp is his, since he helped rescue Fiona. Shrek tells him he heard his conversation with Fiona the previous night and Donkey says she was talking about someone else, and Shrek apologizes to him, which he accepts. They decide to crash the wedding via Dragon.
The vows were said and they were about to kiss when Shrek barges in and confesses his love for her, which Faarquad is disgusted by. The sun starts to set, causing Fiona to turn into an ogre.
Faarquad is disgusted by her new appearance, so he orders her to be imprisoned and Shrek killed (since he is a king now), but he whistles for Dragon, who quickly eats the new King.
Shrek and Fiona get married there and they kiss, which causes her to become a permanent ogre. They have another ceremony at the swamp with all the fairy tale creatures there, and they run off in their carriage to their honeymoon, while the rest of them have a party, thus “I Believe”.
I found some stuff on the animation that was mentioned above, and the others were way too confusing. They used a lot of the techniques they used in Antz since both were in production at the same time for a while. Like I said about the animation in that movie, the animation in Shrek is aged, a lot. You could tell that there was still tiny kinks, but it is not that noticeable. They did not have the good animation Pixar did at the time. The CGI is not Chicken Little bad, or bad at all. It is nice, but the character designs are not that creative.
The soundtrack did well on the Billboard 200; it reached #28. The soundtrack has a bunch of pop songs and pop covers, with some music composed and written by Harry Gregson-Williams and John Powell that is fairy-tale like. Katzenberg wanted the ending to be changed to “go out with a big laugh” with the song “I’m a Believer”, which Eddie Murphy covered. So, they added a bunch of pop music and fairy-tale like scores which I do not really understand. The music is nice, but which way do you want to go? The pop music is why the soundtrack is so successful, so who am I to judge.
Reception at Release
This film was a MAJOR hit when it was released. On May 18th 2001, it topped the box office (the first for DreamWorks Animation), and closed in December 6th, 2001 with grossing $267,665,011 domestically, and $216,744,207 overseas, for a worldwide total of $484,409,218. It is the 4th highest grossing film of 2001, only behind Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, and Monster’s Inc. This film got massive critical acclaim, with the critics liking it for its adult humour, satire to fairy-tales, good characters and a nice story. This film got many awards. It won the Academy Award fr Best Animated Feature (which was created thanks to Chicken Run), beating Monsters Inc…… It’s good but it ain’t that good. Anyhow, it also won 8 Annies. It was nominated for another 12 Annies and 6 BAFTAs. This film showed DreamWorks that CGI and more pop-culture references is the way to go. This was their very first huge hit, and because Katzenberg is a money-grubbing whore, he created 3 more sequels, squeezing every thing of the franchise.
Unlike what I have said for the previous reviews, this film is not only a DreamWorks classic, but an animated classic. You see, a DreamWorks classic is any film that is a part of the franchise. This film is known for putting DreamWorks on the map and beating Disney (Atlantis: The Lost Empire was its competition). It is seen as a huge film and a must to children. It started a franchise which was ruined by the last two sequels. It’s reputation is big and I have nothing else to say about it. You’ve already watched it. The Shrek characters are at every Universal Parks available, and a Broadway musical started in 2008 that is still running today.
Story = 8.5/10
Characters = 9.5/10
Music = 7/10
Animation = 7/10
- Dreamworks Review: Introduction (animatedkid.wordpress.com)
- Dreamworks Review: Antz (animatedkid.wordpress.com)
- DreamWorks Review: The Road to El Dorado (animatedkid.wordpress.com)
- Shrek 1 and 2 (nerdywallflower.wordpress.com)
- Shrek (3yearoldsmoviereviews.wordpress.com)
- Shrek The Musical Arrives on Deluxe Edition Blu-ray and DVD October 15 (therogersrevue.wordpress.com)
19 thoughts on “DreamWorks Review: Shrek”
I never liked any of these “Shrek” films, and I’ll probably keep my kids away from them too for as long as I can, lol!
Thank you for your support and interest. I absolutely understand your point of view, and I was shocked with some of the adult content in this movie. I think that is why it won Best Animated Film over Monster’s Inc in 2002.
I don’t like the movie. I have a very basic problem with it: It pretends to subvert the classic formula, but in truth, it copies it. The lovable underdog finds true love with a smart mounded princess. That’s a mix of Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast in reverse. That in this case Fiona doesn’t change back is NOT a powerful message, because they basically turn her visually into a perfect match for Shreck. And the humour is mostly very, very hateful and not appropriate for kids at all, even though it is pretty childish and in your face most of the time.
I had a feeling that you would not like Shrek. I do agree that I does not really change animated films much and it is not that strong of a satire film. I never thought of it being a mix of BatB and Aladdin but it does make sense now.
I think that was Fiona’s entire character arc though. When she was her fairytale self, she was looked down upon by the writing, Shrek, and Donkey so it seems like she changed for him. I am sure you agree with me that Monsters Inc should have won Best Animated Film instead of this movie. Thanks for commenting.
Oh yes, I soooooo agree with you! Even if I would consider Shrek a good parody, a good parody can only work if it stands on the shoulders of other (in this case better) movies. Monsters Inc. stands on its own feet.