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SHREK (2001)- PG
Shrek is a typical, hermiting orge, residing deep in the recesses of bis beloved swamp. When the precarious Lord Farquaad, ruler of Duloc exiles all fairy-tale beings to the surrounding woods of ihs swamp, however, Shrek's peace is suddenly disturbed. Much to his dismay, Shrek finds himself bidding with the Lord Farquaad: in exchange for the removal and replacement of all fairy-tale beings currently residing in his swamp, Shrek promises to go retrieve the beautiful Princess Fiona to be Lord Farquaad's virgin bride of Duloc. Along the way a loud-mouthed Donkey and Shrek's icy heart stir things up in this comical, classic family comedy.
Shrek won the Oscar for Best Animated Film at the 2002 Academy Awards.
In the fairy tale kingdom of Duloc, two social misfits, a large, physically ugly, but clever Ogre (Mike Myers) and a too talkative donkey (Eddie Murphy), find themselves going on a quest to rescue the lovely princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) from the high tower of a dragon's lair, so that the self-indulgent, mean bully, Lord Farquaad (John Lithgow) can marry her and become the legal king of the land. The magic mirror from the Snow White story told him that he must marry a princess, in order to rule as king.
This marvelously computer animated, hilarious, film begins this comical story showing the lonely life of the misunderstood Ogre, Shrek, who lives a solitude life in a swamp, away from everyone. One day, he sees a poster offering money for fairy tale creatures. He goes down to the clearing to see what is going on. Sure enough, it seems that Lord Farquaad wants to create his version of a perfect kingdom by sending all the fairy tale characters away. One sees the seven dwarfs, the three bears, the three little pigs, the big bad wolf, Pinocchio, witches, fairies, etc., all being turned in and caged. Shrek arrives just in time to inadvertently help out a motor mouth donkey, who gratefully attaches himself to Shrek, who didn't ask for his friendship.
A favorite scene shows Shrek, eating a quiet meal before the fire that evening, after making his new found friend, the donkey, stay outside. Suddenly his serenity is interrupted by three blind mice, and the sudden appearance of Snow White's casket being shoved onto his table by her devoted friends, the dwarfs. Shrek yells in dismay: "Oh no! Broad off the table!" Before he knows it, he finds the wolf from the Little Red Ridinghood story in his bed.
When he goes outside, he sees all the fairy tale creatures camped out in his backyard, setting up their tents, as they had escaped the authorities. In order to get them back to where they belong, and out of his swamp, he and the talkative donkey travel to the castle of the dastardly Lord Farquaad, about to hold a jousting tournament to see who would be picked to try to kill the dragon and rescue Princess Fiona. Shrek, after a grand fight, makes a bargain with Lord Farquaad. If Shrek delivers the princess, then he can have his swamp to himself once more.
This imaginative, humorous screenplay, by Terry Rossio, Joe Stillman, and Roger Schulman, based on the story by William Steig, appeals to both children and adults alike, and brings home in an entertaining way the moral message that you should get to know a person real well before you make a judgment about him/her. People and Ogres have layers like an onion, are often more than what they appear, and have qualities that aren't immediately associated by their outward appearance. The film ends with a surprising twist, that reflects the spirit of the film.
This film is enjoyable to everyone, on several levels. The biggest star in this film is the wonderful, creative, detailed computer-generated animation, that catches every emotion, body movements, and the details of the action sequences, breathing life into the film. While the satirical situations and witty humor are sometimes aimed at an older audience, everyone enjoys the computer-animated characters, the universally funny scenes, the detailed facial expressions, the expressive characters, the touching moments, the romantic and great action scenes, the poignant moral woven into the storyline & some mild bathroom humor.
Also, throughout the story, look for spoofs on THE MATRIX, BABE, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, SNOW WHITE, DUMBO, interrogation scenes, and ROBINHOOD. The script pokes fun of Disney's SNOW WHITE, in two instances. Fiona, one morning, starts singing along with a happy blue bird. When she hits a loud, off-key note, the bird explodes. Also, the magic mirror from the wicked queen in the Snow White story is given to Lord Farquaad, but has quite a different personality. The magic mirror is portrayed as being up-to-date, Emcee as he showcases the 3 possible eligible princesses for Lord Farquaad to marry, a la Dating Game style.
This Film was well directed and put together by Andrew Adamson and Vicki Jenson, both having experience with putting together effective, well-done animated movies.
Mike Myers, using a wonderful Scottish accent, does a superb job portraying Shrek's voice, the misunderstood, but even-tempered, brave, smart Ogre, who rises to the occasion to rescue a romantically-minded princess, and eventually finds himself in love with her. Besides playing zany characters, Mike shows the world that he can play the straight man, in a semi-serious part with a comedic twist.
Eddie Murphy showcases his comic talent, as he hilariously voices the donkey's lines, with perfect comic timing and delivery. He provides much entertainment and really brings the donkey to life in the story. "I just know, before this is over, I'm gonna need a whole lot of serious therapy. Look at my eye twitchin'."
John Lithgow has a lot of fun providing the voice for the villainous Lord Farquaad, who only seeks power and kingship, and will bully/ displace / hurt anyone to achieve his goal of having the perfect kingdom, and a lovely princess to marry, so he can be the king. He tells his alarmed knights before the jousting competition, "Some of you are going to die, but its a sacrifice I'm willing to make."
Cameron Diaz does a very good job, voicing Princess Fiona, who has a huge secret of her own. Because of a witch's spell, she is in one form during the day, and turns into another form when the sun sets, until she experiences love's first kiss.
A favorite sequence of scenes has to be the exciting rescue of Princess Fiona. While scary and suspenseful, there is also some humor mixed in, between the fire-breathing, near death scenes. It seems that the dragon is a lady, and she likes the donkey in an amorous way. To avoid being eaten, the donkey sweet-talks the dragon, which sweeps her off her tail, as no one as ever told her anything nice about herself. She was an outcast as well, feared by all.
The music in this film has a wonderful range that fits perfectly the mood and storyline. Whether its snappy rock and roll, or a sad cello solo, or exciting / romantic orchestration, the music fully supports what is going on in each scene. The snappy "I'm a Believer," was written by the great Neil Diamond, and sung by the rock group, Smashmouth. Joan Jett, who created her own record label, Black Heart Records, wrote the pop song "Bad Reputation."
The diverse orchestra score was composed by the talented Harry Gregson-Williams, who also composed the musical scores for "Chicken Run," "The Prince of Egypt," and "Enemy of the State." Composers John Powell and James McKee Smith also worked on the musical score, making good use of their unique gifts.
"Shrek is rated PG for mild language and some humor on the earthy side. Also, very young children may be a little frightened by the fire-breathing dragon, and Shrek's daring rescue of the princess, and the satirical interrogation scene between Lord Farquaad and the gingerbread boy.