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Shrek (2001)

The greatest fairy tale never told

Directed by:

Andrew Adamson / Vicky Jenson

Rating: 8/10

Running Time: 90 minutes

UK Certificate: U

On DVD

Green monsters seem to be all the rage these days, what with Hulk, Yoda, and that big ugly troll thingy out of the first Harry Potter movie. But Shrek, the flatulent swamp-dwelling ogre with a heart of gold (well, silver at least), is more than capable of rivalling any of them.

Mike Myers provides the voice of the potato-faced bog monster roped into rescuing a beautiful princess (with Cameron Diaz on vocals) from the far-away lair of a giant pink fire-breathing dragon. In return for this act of bravery, he’s been promised to have his home cleared of all pesky fairy tale creatures by the short ‘n’ nasty Lord Farquaad (John Lithgow). The trouble is, Farquaad only wants the Princess so he can marry her and become King, Shrek predictably finds himself getting all mushy over his newfound damsel in distress, and the princess turns out to have a whopping great secret of her own. Jeez, nothing’s ever simple, is it?

Eddie Murphy joins in as the voice of Shrek’s over-enthusiastic donkey companion, whilst Myers for some reason uses the dodgy Scottish accent he seems obsessed with including in his movies (‘Austin Powers’, ‘So I Married An Axe Murderer’). A Scot Shrek may well be, but I’ve yet to see a north-of-the-borderer with skin THAT bad. Well, not outside of Dundee at least.

The quality of animation used is absolutely superb, and the story itself is good enough to rival any of the old fairy tales it pokes fun at. I particularly love the early scene where Farquaad has the Gingerbread Man tortured, but bear in mind that I’m a bit of a sicky.

This is based on a little-known but apparently very good children’s book by William Steig, but most of the humour here will appeal to all ages (though it does tend to over do it a little on the fart jokes). There are also occasions where it seems to be trying a little too hard to be modern, and the central message about not judging people by their appearance is a little lost by the continual mocking of Farquaad’s diminutive stature. But he’s only little, so he probably doesn’t mind.

It's Got: Fantastic animation and plenty of familiar fairy tale faces popping up along the way.

It Needs: Eddie Murphy’s trademark chortle – what’s happened to it??

DVD Extras Interactive games, spoof character interviews, filmmakers’ commentary, ‘The Tech of Shrek’ dubbing featurette, ‘Shrek in the Swamp Karaoke Dance Party’, production notes, and cast and crew bios. The DVD ROM also contains ‘Shrek’s ReVoice Studio’, which allows you to record your own voice over your favourite characters and star in entire scenes! DVD Extras Rating: 10/10

Alternatives:

A Bug's Life, Ice Age, Toy Story

Summary

Entertaining and at times hilarious, this is one of the best modern day animated features around.

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