Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Shrek (Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson, 2001) Review

Yes, yes we all know Shrek. He is practically Dreamwork's mascot after four films and a spin-off. The films are modern classics...well...the first two...*cough* but anyway they are memorable films and somewhat ground breaking too considering that practically everyone knows these films and has at least seen the first two because of how great and funny they actually are. The premise is that they take classic fairy tale characters and give them a twist such as Jack and Jill being famous outlaws or Prince Charming being an ambiguously gay mommy's boy. Let's take a look at the first film.

Shrek (Mike Myers) is an ogre and, naturally is feared by the humans around him but, being an ogre, loves the fear he sends through people. Things go bad for him though when the evil Lord Farquaad (John Lithgow) sends all of the classic fairy tale characters to live at Shrek's swamp. Naturally, he is angry about this so, with Donkey (Eddie Murphy) from the classic fairy tale...something...he sets off to Duloc to see Farquaad. When they beat all of Farquaad's men, he sends Shrek and Donkey out to find Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) and bring her to him. Now Shrek and Donkey set out to find the Princess and bring her back in order to get his swamp back.

The twist on some of the classic fairy tales are great. Characters such as Pinnochio and Robin Hood make appearances but the most memorable is probably the Gingerbread Man who everyone seems to quote like hell. That's another great point is that a lot of the quotes of this film just because it's a very funny film. The humour in this film is basically pointing fun at the fairy tales. It's good to see that, while it is technically a parody, it holds up (enough for five films apparently) and the humour feels fresh.

The characters in this film go through some great development. Shrek starts as a stoic jerk who relishes terrorising places. By the end, he has opened by to his new friends and even got a new love interest who goes through development as a result of having a dark secret. Donkey starts off annoying and, while he does stay annoying yet funny, he has structure and even a reward by the end...a WEIRD reward but a reward none the less. Lord Farquaad is a great villain that, while there isn't much development, he doesn't dodge the hilarious moments and is one of the best characters in the film.

Shrek was the start of a big franchise that made millions for Dreamworks. There's a good reason as to why that is and that's a result of great humour, well written and structured characters and some great action scenes. It comes together as a great animated film and is a good start to Dreamwork's career of CGI animated films. Sure it wasn't as good as Disney's (until How To Train Your Dragon) but it still had great moments.

A modern classic. Everyone knows it and everyone loves it. A great twist on the fairy tale classics.

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