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Within his swamp, the ogre Shrek
Desires just to be alone,
Content to occupy his wreck
And scare invaders of his zone.
But then a Donkey who can talk
Annoys him with his friendliness,
And later, to the ogre’s shock,
He’s forced to share his home address.
A bunch of fairy tale rejects
Are dropped outside his home’s facade,
So Donkey eagerly directs
The way to Duloc’s Lord Farquaad.
Farquaad has plans to be a king
But needs a princess far away,
So he commissions Shrek to bring
Fiona back without delay.
To get his swamp back, Shrek relents,
And Donkey joins him on his quest.
The task before them is immense;
A dragon keeps out every guest.
They find and rescue their princess
And narrowly escape the beast.
She’s startled by Shrek’s ugliness
As well as glad to be released.
Along the way back to Duloc,
She seems disheartened by the night,
Yet she makes Shrek and Donkey gawk
At how this girl can burp and fight.
Unlikely romance starts to brew,
And late that evening Donkey learns
Fiona’s made an ogre too
Until the bright sunlight returns.
Next morning, Shrek delivers her,
Misunderstanding a remark,
While, eager for her curse’s cure,
Fiona wants to wed ere dark.
Since nobody is pleased at this,
It’s Donkey who convinces Shrek
To dare to be her true love’s kiss
And fight for her, ‘cause what the heck?
When Farquaad’s less than sympathetic,
Donkey’s new date makes him chow.
Fiona’s ugly curse poetic
Keeps her ogreish somehow,
And she and Shrek live less ascetic,
Happy ever after now.

Shrek is DreamWorks Animation’s golden boy, having won his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The un-jolly green giant launched their new wave of computer-generated comedies and initiated their unique brand of irreverent, pop-culture-laced humor. An instant classic, the film eclipsed Pixar’s Monsters, Inc. to win the very first Best Animated Feature Academy Award. Will Smith’s recitation of a whole scene from Shrek in I Am Legend illustrates the film’s impact on young and old moviegoers alike.

Mike Myers found his most iconic role as the Scottish-accented ogre, as did Cameron Diaz as Princess Fiona. The rest of the voice actors are perfectly cast, from Eddie Murphy’s frenetic, amiable Donkey to John Lithgow’s hilariously narcissistic and overcompensating Lord Farquaad. It was the lovable cast that kept the franchise going for four films, even when it perhaps should have stopped while it was ahead.

“Fractured fairy tales” were nothing new, but Shrek’s mish-mashing of known Disney properties and original characters gave it a mocking edge that was well-tempered by the strangely engaging romance and the don’t-judge-a-book-by-its-cover lesson. The rousing score by Harry Gregson-Williams and John Powell is instantly recognizable, and the film also boasts a rocking soundtrack of contemporary pop songs. Both songs and score complement the action and romance beautifully, particularly in the case of the slow-motion castle escape scene and John Cale’s cover of “Hallelujah” during a dramatic montage.

Despite some mild language that set it apart from Disney’s films, Shrek remains one of the high points for DreamWorks Animation. It’s an original fairy tale that offers a fresh take on familiar material.

Best line: (Donkey, complimenting Shrek’s swamp with a line I’ve used countless times since) “I like that boulder. That’s a nice boulder.”

VC’s best line: (Donkey, crashing the wedding) “All right, nobody move! I’ve got a dragon, and I’m not afraid to use it! I’m a donkey on the edge!”

Artistry: 8
Characters/Actors: 10
Entertainment: 10
Visual Effects: 8
Originality: 9
Watchability: 9
Other (I like other films more): -4
TOTAL: 50 out of 60

Next: #120 – Jesus Christ Superstar

© 2014 S. G. Liput

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