ninth symphony films - movie reviews

SHREK (2001)

DIRECTOR  -  a. Adamson, v jenson

RATED  -  pg

GENRE  -  animated

LENGTH  -  90 minutes

RELEASED  -  18 may 2001

DISTRIBUTOR  -  dreamworks pictures


ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $60,000,000
shrek - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from shrek at

buy the dvd from shrek at

a reclusive ogre and a chatterbox donkey go on a quest to rescue a princess for a tyrannical, tiny lord.

the principal actors never met each other. all read their parts separately, with a reader feeding them the lines.


picture from shrek

picture from shrek

picture from shrek


two out of four possible stars

Shrek is a fairy tale that makes fun of fairy tales. But it really doesn't abandon the whole fairy tale genre in that it hits all the points of a standard fairy tale: ogres, dragons, damsels in distress . . . so it's sort of a paradox in that in working to make fun of standard fairy tales, it ends up being exactly that. But this small detail shouldn't bother most of the audience, because the audience is mostly children. In fact, it's probably 95 percent children. When I went to the theater, the only adults in the room were parents who were sitting with their noisy stupid brats.

Now, I ask you, who would bring a crying infant to a movie? I realize that the parents probably want to get out of the house, but why would a couple bring such a small child to an event where the object of the game is to be quiet during the movie? I'll never understand that . . . But on to more interesting things. In the fake fairy tale, Mike Myers has his trademarked "it's no Scottish so it's crap" voice on and is, as usual, very funny in his delivery playing a giant green ogre. But I couldn't help thinking about "Fat Bastard" from Austin Powers 2 every time I heard him speak. But this really didn't bother me, because the movie really was more of an ensemble piece, rather than a Mike Myers vehicle.

It is interesting to note that Myers is practically upstaged by Eddie Murphy's character of "Donkey." Murphy's lines are really hilarious and some sound as if they were imporvised. Just like in Mulan, Eddie Murphy voices the funniest and most likeable character in the film. Murphy can create such fun characters when he's not concerned with being "Eddie Murphy." If he just plays the character, instead of playing himself, the words coming out of his mouth are much funniner.

Another very humorous part to this film was John Lithgow's character of "Lord Farquaad." in a normal fairy tale, Farquaad would be tall, dashing, and smart, but in Shrek, Lord Farquaad is a very short, funny sounding overlord. Farquaad is a very funny character not only because of the character's idiotic appearance, but also because of Lithgow's over-the-top performance. The character almost comes off as being needy in some parts, reminding me of Lithgow's very very funny character of Dick Solomon in "Third Rock From the Sun".

The only voice in the film that i felt was sometimes annoying, instead of funny, was Cameron Diaz's character of "Princess Fiona." Diaz has a grating voice that really does not lend itself to voicing animation. Add to it that I've never thought diaz has much of a talent for comedy (I think her best peformance was in Any Given Sunday and she was a hard-nose in that film). Perhaps it was her performance in There's Something About Mary that turned me off to her comedic performances. Her voice was more grating than entertaining.

I can't finish this review though without writing a few words on the special effects. In interviews, the filmmakers expressed the fact that they intended to make a film that was very realistic, yet not so real that you think it's reality. And I think they succeeded in this goal. The animation is very superior to many of the past computer animated films because there is a certain amount of realism in each shot. The animators included small elements in the scene in each frame like small props in Shrek's house to a realistic skin tone and texture to the characters.

Well-animated aspect of the film was in how varied and out of the ordinary the scenery was. For example, when Shrek and Donkey trample down a grass covered slop, the grass is mashed down by their feet and stays mashed even after they've left the area. This realism was different for a film, considering that animated characters seldom affect their enviroments physically. I'd have to say that the only part of this film that really bothered me though was the fact that it's main focus in making fun of the fairy tale genre, was destroyed by the over-abundance of fart-jokes. The humor was just a little bit too crass.

I felt like sometimes we were heading into American Pie territory. Or, even worse, Dumber and Dumber territory. The object of spoof films is usually to make fun of the original format with a new and smarter version. Shrek was not as smart as it should have been. It leaned too heavily on the absurd and crass to be much more than a bad remake of the classic damsel-in-distress fairy tale. And this was very bothersome. Despite the incredible graphics and scenery, which at some points looked real, the humor wasn't always humorous. Though the abundance of kids and infants in the audience sure liked those fart jokes . . .

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

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