Film: Shrek

Cover image


Series: Film 1 in series
Director: Vicky Jenson
Distributor: Dreamworks Video

You’ve never met a hero quite like Shrek, the endearing ogre who sparked a motion picture phenomenon and captured the world’s imagination with the Greatest Fairy Tale Ever Told! Relive every moment of Shrek’s (Mike Myers) daring quest to rescue feisty Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) with the help of his lovable loudmouthed Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and win back the deed to his beloved swamp from scheming Lord Farquaad (John Lithgow). Enchantingly irreverent and “monstrously clever” (Leah Rozen, People Magazine), Shrek is ogre-sized adventure you’ll want to see again and again.


William Steig’s delightfully fractured fairy tale is the right stuff for this computer-animated adaptation full of verve and wit. Our title character (voiced by Mike Myers) is an agreeable enough ogre who wants to live his days in peace. When the diminutive Lord Farquaad (John Lithgow) evicts local fairy-tale creatures (including the now-famous Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, and the Gingerbread Man), they settle in the ogre’s swamp and Shrek wants answers from Farquaad. A quest of sorts starts for Shrek and his new pal, a talking donkey (Eddie Murphy), where battles have to be won and a princess (Cameron Diaz) must be rescued from a dragon lair in a thrilling action sequence. The story is stronger than most animated fare, but it’s the humor that makes Shrek a winner. The PG rating is stretched when Murphy and Myers hit their strides. The mild potty humor is fun enough for 10-year-olds but will never embarrass their parents. Shrek is never as warm and inspired as the Toy Story films, but the realistic computer animation and a rollicking soundtrack keep the entertainment in fine form. Produced by DreamWorks, the film also takes several delicious stabs at its crosstown rival, Disney. —Doug Thomas

Barnes and Noble

“What kind of a knight are you?” the imprisoned princess asks of her unconventional rescuer. “One of a kind,” the ogre replies. And so is Shrek, the compound-fractured fairy tale that ranks as 2001’s box office champ, as well as the most successful non-Disney animated film ever. With its state-of-the-art computer animation, A-list voice cast, hit-heavy soundtrack, and subversively funny story (based on William Steig’s book), it will live happily ever after on VHS and special-edition DVD. Mike Myers is the voice of Shrek, a repulsive but good-hearted green ogre. His solitude is shattered by an influx of fairy tale characters banished by the diminutive Lord Farquaad from his kingdom. To rid his swamp of these intruders, Shrek offers to rescue Farquaad’s (John Lithgow) bride-to-be, Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) from a tower guarded by a fire-breathing dragon. Accompanying him on his quest is Donkey—who speaks with Eddie Murphy’s voice and galvanizes the film in much the same way that Robin Williams elevated Aladdin. Meanwhile, Fiona awaits her rescuer, and naturally enough, Shrek is not what she anticipated. Brimming with delights both visual and verbal (with many wickedly funny jokes at the expense of Walt Disney’s legacy), Shrek invites repeated viewings. Not since The Princess Bride has there been a magical, family-friendly, true-love story told with such humor and heart. Donald Liebenson

Related Works

Album:Shrek: Music from the Original Motion Picture

Shrek: Music from the Original Motion Picture

Harry Gregson-Williams, John Powell, Various Artists

Like The Muppet Show or The Simpsons, Shrek is tiered with visual appeal, fantasy, and sophisticated humor that appeals to children and adults on two mutually exclusive levels. Judging by the soundtrack alone, there is some genuine emotion coming from this movie; Rufus Wainwright, the Proclaimers, and especially the Eels all pen winsome, longing tunes. Dana Glover’s “It Is You (I Have Loved)” represents the soundtrack’s requisite glossy ballad, but it’s better than most, and John Powell’s climactic, orchestral “True Love’s First Kiss” makes…

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