Pros:A heart-warming, funny and well produced movie.
The Bottom Line: I whole-heartedly recommend this lovely, well done film.
A friend bought me a copy of Shrek for Christmas and I have watched it twice already, once alone and once with that friend and another. Even watching by myself, this movie had me laughing out loud and watching it with friends was a lot of fun, even though two of us had already seen the movie.
Recommend this product?
When his swamp is invaded by fairy tale characters, our main protaganist Shrek (voice is Mike Myers, doing a Scottish accent), sets out to confront Lord Farquaad (voice is John Lithgow). After a battle with the palace guards, are unwilling hero and his friend the talking donkey (voice is Eddy Murphy), are set to a task -- rescue the fair princess Fiona (voice is Carmen Diaz) who is kept prisoner in a tower guarded by a fire breathing dragon.
The donkey, who has adopted Shrek as his one and only friend, provides lots of comic relief with his incessant chattering. Yet as annoying as he might be, he is really quite loveable and a true friendship develops between him and the Ogre, Shrek. Donkey finds out that the Ogre is really a very nice, but misunderstood character and as the affection between the two grows, we get a lesson in friendship and loyalty.
When the duo reaches the castle they must cross a rickety spring bridge that hovers precariously over a moat of boiling brimstone. Once inside the castle, they pass the skeletons of many a brave knight toasted by the dragon. Shrek finds Fiona, the beautiful princess, and sets about rescuing her. She wants a kiss, for she is under a spell cast upon her by a witch when she was a baby and can only be released by True Love's First Kiss. The movie progresses a while before we discover what the curse is (I don't want to give that away). Fiona proves to be anything but dainty and dignified. When Robin Hood "rescues" her from the Ogre she demonstrates a remarkable ability in martial arts in a rather clever scene that takes a stab at Matrix.
The three (Shrek, Donkey and Princess Fiona) continue on their journey to deliver the princess to Lord Farquaad and a deep affection develops between Shrek and the Princess. Of course, this is not the way fairy tales usually go, and the characters all make references to that -- the beautiful princess is not supposed to fall in love with the ugly ogre.
Besides the clever parody of Disney films, the movie provides a moral commentary on superficiality, on loyalty and friendship. Their are a few scenes that might be too vulgar for younger children, although perhaps they would not get the references. (Example: When the Donkey and Shrek reach Lord Farquaad's castle, a tall looming structure, Shrek says "You think he's compensating for something?")
The animation is brilliant, facial expressions are handled in an outstanding and life-like way, and the voices of the characters are magnificently suited to the characters they portray. Although I know the voices of the four primary characters, I did not recognize any of them.
The version I have, by Dreamworks, includes an all new extended ending with the characters singing Karioke and dancing in the swamp.
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