Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Shrek; CGI animated fantasy comedy, USA, 2001; D: Andrew Adamson, Vicky Jenson, S: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, John Lithgow, Vincent Cassel
Shrek is a green, grumpy ogre who doesn't like company and thus lives isolated in a swamp. People often attack him, but he easily manages to scare them away with his strength. When Lord Farquaad orders an expulsion of all fairytale creatures from his kingdom, from the Three Little Pigs up to Pinocchio, they find a shelter in Shrek's swamp. In order to have again, he and a talking Donkey go to Farquaad's castle who gives him the promise that the creatures will leave the swamp if he liberates princess Fiona from a dragon for him. Shrek and the Donkey oblige, but on their way back it turns out she turns into an ogre every night. She has an argument with Shrek and just as she is about to marry Farquaad, he gets eaten by the dragon and Shrek kisses her. She becomes and ogre and they fall in love.
Eccentric parody on a whole variety of fairy tales, with numerous "broad" but also intelligent and unassuming jokes, "Shrek" is another clever CGI animated achievement that does not lapse behind the CGI forerunners "Toy Story" and "Antz". The film starts off with harmonic music and a picture-book showing a captured princess - whose page gets ripped off by Shrek to use it as toilet paper, who then exits outside in tune to the excellent song "All Star" by Smash Mouth. The rhythm is continued wonderfully with numerous modern cynical commentaries that turn fairy tale clichees upside down - Geppetto sells Pinocchio for 5 shillings; Lord Farquaad is conducting "ethnic cleansing" of all fairy tale creatures from his kingdom whereas the gingerbread man spits sugar on the aforementioned bad guy. Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy also do a great job delivering their voices to the two protagonists, showing chemistry, especially when Shrek at first doesn't want to have him as a companion ("Does anyone here know the way to Lord Farquaad?" asks Shrek the crowd. When only the Donkey says: "I know, I know", the ogre says: "Does anyone else know besides him?"). Later on, somewhere around 55 minutes into the film, "Shrek" turns slightly more serious and makes a misstep of falling into the trap of kitschy fairy tale himself, which is his biggest flaw. However, it still manages to impress by showing the old cliche about an ugly guy, Shrek, who proves to be a nice person inside, in an overall satisfying manner. Today, "Shrek" is rightfully considered a small classic due to its wit and charm that work both for the children and grown ups.