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Film Review: Shrek

Updated on May 17, 2016
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Written by: Jason Wheeler, Film Frenzy Senior Writer & Editor.


In 2001, Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson released Shrek, based on the 1990 fairy tale picture book of the same name by William Steig. Starring Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, John Lithgow, Vincent Cassel, Conrad Vernon, Chris Miller, Cody Cameron, Simon J. Smith, Christopher Knights, Aron Warner, Jim Cummings, Kathleen Freeman, Andrew Adamson, Bobby Block, Michael Galasso, and Elisa Gabrielli, the film grossed $484.4 million at the box office. Nominated for multiple awards, such as the Academy Award for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published, the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical, the Saturn Awards for Best Fantasy Film, Best Supporting Actor, Best Writing, and Best Music, and the Annie Awards for Outstanding Individual Achievement for Character Animation (Paul Chung, Raman Hui, and Jason Reisig) and Outstanding Individual Achievement for Production Design in an Animated Feature Production, the film won many other awards, including the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, the Saturn Award for Best DVD Special Edition Release, and the Annie Awards for Outstanding Achievement in an Animated Theatrical Feature.


Shrek is an ogre living alone in his swamp and is very happy to do so while living quite lazily and luxuriously. However, his swamp gets crowded after fairy tale creatures invade seeking refuge after being cast into exile by Lord Farquaad. Now, Shrek must confront Farquaad, who agrees to give Shrek the deed to the swamp if he can rescue Princess Fiona from a castle guarded by a dragon so Farquaad can marry her.


Presenting a bit of a twist on the fairy tale genre, Shrek is quite an interesting, yet fun and great film. It presents an unlikely hero in the way of a cantankerous ogre who only wants to live in peace by himself and gets very annoyed when that peace is interrupted. However, the film shows that he only wants to live by himself because everyone he’s ever met never took the time to get to know him and ran away when he came around because all they saw was a nasty ogre. Yet, that’s not the only twist the film brings about in its desire to show that no one should be judged by first glance and outward appearance. There’s also how Fiona turns into an ogre at night because of a curse that can only be broken by true love, punctuated not only by Farquaad renouncing her when it happens, but Shrek falling for her even more. Donkey even gets hit by the message after trying to get rid of the dragon that guards Fiona, but it turns out that he winds up falling in love when it turns out the dragon is female and is smitten with him.

As a whole, Shrek is a very fascinating character, really seen in the onion illustration he gives Donkey about how he’s a layered person. He seemingly hates the world, but that notion is turned upside down when he tells Donkey that it’s not him that has the problem with the world. Rather, the world seems to have a problem with him and would rather run away than get to know him. That’s why he feels like he should just be alone. However, he does get good character development. It starts after he can’t understand why Donkey doesn’t want to run away from him and it goes further when Fiona doesn’t run away after he reveals himself. As the film continues, Shrek eventually comes to realize that isolation isn’t going to work for him because not only won't Donkey leave him alone, but he actually sees him as a friend.

Farquaad is a great villain as well. He hates fairy tale creatures and wants to rid all of them from his kingdom. His hatred of them goes so far as to rip the legs off a gingerbread man and mock him while torturing the character. He’s also quite creepy in a depravedly lecherous kind of way, seen in how he makes a magic mirror show him Fiona over and over again while Shrek and Donkey are out finding her and then subjects the mirror to watching him fantasize. Still though, the film shows that his appreciation of beauty is practically skin deep, with him calling Shrek an “it” and holding a knife to Fiona’s throat and threatening to kill her when she turns into an ogre during their wedding ceremony.

5 stars for Shrek

the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent WNI's positions, strategies or opinion


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