Alright everyone, this is going to be a long one. Most likely the longest one, since I have to cover 4 films (though the fourth one is pretty redundant, since it is in an alternate universe, and only Shrek remembers it).
First thoughts right after watching the Movie
My first thoughts after watching all four films is that the set-up of their relationship is brilliant. Common interest and chemistry is set, the willingness to sacrifice and to make the other happy, and seeing the hurdles after the “happily ever after’ is brilliant. What bothers me about them is that it suffers the same issues as the entire franchise; repetition. Once the same issues are repeated over and over, it shows a lack of progression, and a lack of strong communication. Nonetheless, there are a lot of sweet, sincere, tender, and romantic moments between the two of them.
Their first interaction is obviously when Shrek breaks into her castle to save her. He shakes her awake as Fiona is preparing for a kiss. He asks for her identity, and she claims that she is waiting for her knight in shining armor, and that they have to be romantic. Shrek just drags her along, ignoring Fiona’s pleas to savor the moment (the typical true love’s kiss BS). Fiona gives him her handkerchief, which he uses to wipe his helmet, which disappoints her. After they escape, Fiona claims that he is unorthodox, and removes his helmet to reveal that he is an ogre. How could she not tell that he was an ogre just from looking at his green face and green hands? This leads to an argument, where Shrek tells her that he only saved her as a request to Lord Farquaad, and Fiona claims that her true love has to save her himself.
It is morning time, and Fiona is overly cheery and happy, cooking eggs for all three of them, and apologizes for starting off on a rough patch. I appreciate this scene, as in most films, they just ignore the transition, and they tackled it with an apology. Shrek starts to burp, and Fiona does too, which shocks him, and is a clear first start of an infatuation. He even admits that she shocks him, and the princess very blatantly states the message of the film, saying “You shouldn’t judge people based on their looks”. This grows even more after Fiona singlehandedly beat up Robin Hood and his entire crew, as he questions her about where she learned those martial arts moves. Apparently she taught herself while in the tower, as she would have to protect herself, which is…… pretty weird.
A scene which involves Fiona pulling an arrow out of Shrek’s butt is only there to establish sexual chemistry between the two. We get a montage song, where the two get along a lot more, and start to slowly leave Donkey behind. We learn that she is just as gross and resourceful as he is, which is shown by forming spider-like cotton candy, and the two blow up frogs and snakes as balloons. This also involves some playful shoving between the two, and a chase. I have to say that they set up their relationship pretty well, and find a reason to ditch Donkey.
It is the morning, and after reverting to her human form, Shrek is angry, and ignoring her. She tries to tell him what happened, and he claims that he heard everything. Of course Fiona does not get the chance to explain fully, claiming that he would understand, but Lord Farquaad and his knights arrive to take her away. For a film that is supposed to revert these archetypes, tropes, and plotlines, they followed it at the last act of the film. Of course both of them are sad as the day progresses, and after making up with Donkey (who finally had enough sense to tell him the truth), so they go to her. She does end up marrying Farquaad, but it is sunset, and she turns into an ogre, horrifying everyone but Shrek and Donkey. The king arrests the both of them, but the dragon eats him. Shrek and Fiona declare their love for one another, and after they kiss, she still changes into an ogre. Fiona is shocked that it did not work, and isn’t beautiful, only for him to claim she is. Back at the swamp, the two get married that afternoon, and ride off in a garlic carriage. I know it is the same day because Fiona is still wearing the wedding dress from Farquaad, so like a decent amount of Disney couples, they get married within roughly 48 hours. Overall, I like their relationship, as there is a lot of commonalities, but their communication just is not the best.
The people are knights from Fiona’s parents kingdom, who wants to invite them both to a ball to reunite with their daughter and to meet her husband. Shrek does not want to go, but Fiona clearly wants to see her parents, claiming that he did marry into her family. They end up going nonetheless (I do not think they were even at their swamp for 10 minutes after their honeymoon). We see that it takes a very long time for them to get to Far Far Away, and tension is extremely high between the three of them.
After exiting their carriage, and walking to her parents, the two are whispering to one another about how awkward it is with everyone looking at them weirdly, while Fiona purposely forces him to not bail on her parents. We instantly get to the dinner scene, which is extremely uncomfortable to say the least. She burps, which causes the couple to laugh, still establishing that both of them are pretty gross. As Fiona is explaining about Shrek owning his land, the focus turns towards Shrek and the King, and the two men are ready to blow when the Queen starts to talk about children.
They are in bed, and Shrek struggles to sleep, as he starts to feel bad, while looking and studying her room in more detail. He reads her old diary, where he learns that she could not go to sleepovers (Aurora’s), and another entry involves her father telling her that she is going away for a while. Most of the pages of her old journal involves her writing “Mrs. Fiona Charming” through various pages. The journal pages about being Charming, and finding out that Fiona’s father tried to get him assassinated causes him to decide to turn into a human, with the help of the Fairy Godmother.
Fiona wakes up, and approaches her parents about the whereabouts of her husband. Her father tells her that it is Shrek’s nature to fight (everyone heard their marital spat), and she is not thrilled that her father is not excited for her, and that Shrek accepts her for who she is. Charming’s mother refuses to help him, so Shrek, Donkey, and Puss in Boots have to steal the potion instead. As he turns into a human, Fiona declares to her parents that it was a bad idea to bring Shrek to Far Far Away, so she is going to find him, and go home, since the kingdom will not accept him (and her to an extent) for being the ogres they are. Once again, the message of sacrifice. Right as she is about to leave, she faints, and the both of them turn into humans.
He is depressed about being less than Prince Charming, and everyone is trying to talk him into not giving up on her. King Herald arranges in a meeting with the Charmings in a hut about how Fiona is not taking to the “new Shrek”, so she is not happy either. Shrek overhears the Charmings saying to give Fiona a potion, which will make her fall in love with the first person she sees. They all see Shrek, Donkey, and Puss, so the villains chase them off. They are thrown in jail, and a bunch of minor characters help them escape, so they can make it to the ball. Now knowing about the villain’s plans, he decides to go back, since Fiona does not deserve to be deceived.
In the third act, they have to make it to the castle before Prince Charming gives her the kiss, and they all think hope is gone when Charming kisses her. Turns out, the potion did not work, since Fiona headbutts her, and she runs to her real husband. It did not work because King Herald did not give Fiona the potion, since he felt bad for what he did. He gives Shrek and Fiona their blessing, and Shrek tells Fiona that they could stay has humans, but she rejects it, since she wants her “happily ever after” with the ogre she married. I really like it when animated films take on married couples, as it gives the couple a different (and often a more realistic) dynamic. They learnt about true selflessness and sacrifice, which is different from the first, so I give them props here.
I am unsure as to the timespan between this film and the last film. Shrek storms into their room, and tells her that they need to go home, since it is a mess, and an ogre cannot be a king. Fiona tells him that there’s only a few more days before they can go home, and she throws some hints about having another baby, which Shrek does not handle well. He thinks that babies and ogres are bad enough, but them together is horrible. King Herald ends up dying after telling Shrek that he will be king (and that the only other heir is Arthur), which he HATES.
There really is not much to cover in this film, because the two spend most of the film apart, and their relationship is not a main driving force in the film. Shrek, Donkey and Puss in Boots go to find Arthur, and while on the boat, him and Fiona try to have a final conversation, where she reveals to him that she is pregnant. He has nightmares about having babies, and is still distraught about the idea about being a father. Shrek’s interactions with Arthur is seen as some sort of a preparation for him to be a father, while Fiona is getting ready for a baby shower. Long story short, Artie becomes the king, so Fiona and Shrek can finally go back to the swamp after 2 films. The epilogue in the film involves the pair raising and dealing with their several children, which both are looking forward to.
I (and others) have mentioned the repetition of the franchise as a major flaw, and their relationship is pretty repetitive. A lot of nasty arguments happen, and then they make up, but if you are fighting about the SAME ISSUES, what progress is being made? If I were to be honest, it makes the two of them look more dysfunctional and toxic. Anyways, he returns to the moment where he growls at the party, and finally appreciates his wife, friends, and children. We know that there is going to be a Shrek 5 (which is most likely going to be released in 2020), so I am wondering how their relationship will progress (or disintegrate) in the film.