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SHREK

SYNOPSIS:
The evil lord Farquaad (voice of John Lithgow) decrees that all fantasy characters be banished from the land. Shrek (Mike Myers) the green ogre, lives in a shack by the swamp, and befriended by the talkative Donkey (Eddie Murphy), Shrek visits Farquaad's castle to complain about the disruption of his solitude. He finds himself enlisted as Farquaad's champion in an heroic quest. His mission is to slay a dragon and rescue Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) from her lava-surrounded prison so he can marry her. With Donkey in tow, Shrek enters the fray, but things (and Princesses) don’t turn out as expected.

"There's nothing sweet or old fashioned about Shrek, a wickedly delightful animated parody about fairy tales and all those characters that we cut our teeth on. There are seven dwarfs in a chain gang, three bears in cages, the Gingerbread Man is being tortured and three blind mice have canes and sunglasses. Then there's the wolf crossdressing as Grandma in bed, a fire breathing lady dragon with long fluttering eyelashes who shows another side, while Monsieur Robin Hood is just a song and dance man. Wacky? You bet! But at the centre of the story is Shrek, a pot-bellied, gruff ogre whose solitary life protects him from rejection. His unlikely friendship with the irrepressible donkey with over-short legs sets us off into a bizzare world of contrary and magical chaos. The extraordinary computer animation that expresses dialogue and emotion with sophisticated facial and body movements, brings these colourful characters to life taking us on a magical carpet ride that unleashes our endorphins in a crazy adventure way left of field. Of course the voices play a large part in unlocking the key to our hearts and Mike Myers' improvisations mould Shrek as a splendid anti-hero. Coupled with Eddie Murphy as the donkey (can you image a funny mutt of a donkey having some facial expressions that remind you of Murphy?), they make a very funny pair. Would you believe, the donkey even occasionally breaks out into the blues. They are an odd couple indeed, and all our preconceptions of fairy tales and fantasy are turned inside out, back to front and upside down. Cameron Diaz makes for a delightful princess – not at all the archetype we would expect. Beneath the wit, the crass humour and unexpected fun is a warm moral tale that we shouldn't judge others by first appearance, and that like an onion, we have many layers. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and after all it's what's inside that counts. Crazy, cool and totally off the wall, Shrek is a shriek."
Louise Keller

“The opening sequences will nauseate you (unless you’re under 25) with that belching laughter of the offal joke. But that’s just to get you warmed up for the main act, in which warm and fuzzy feelings are acceptable because they’ve been through the wringer of bad taste jokes. This is more than a clever strategy, because the workings of animation are only worthwhile if what they do is impossible in live action. In Shrek, that’s certainly true. The central characters are not life forms we recognise, even if the donkey looks like a donkey of sorts. The ogre, Shrek, is an invention. And so are some aspects of the Princess Fiona (Fiona? A name for a Princess?) The story is fairly ho hum: you know, pint sized Prince wants captured Princess freed so he can kiss her and be King. But the methodology of this warty fairy tale is to undermine all other fairy tale characters in the process, outflanking their original natures and adding attitude. The hilarity is sometimes chuckly, sometimes smirky, sometimes LOL, and the most impressive thing is Shrek him/itself. The combination of artful animation and brilliant voice acting from Mike Myers delivers a remarkably complete character. Murphy’s donkey is good, too, albeit rather more predictably funny than inventive. Technically excellent, the work is adventurous and compelling, and in many ways unique. Shrek it out…”
Andrew L. Urban

“Picture a duet between beautiful princess Fiona and a little bluebird perched on a tree branch. As Fiona's sweet melody reaches a high soprano pitch the bird explodes, leaving only a pair of fried legs on the branch. Welcome to the wonderful animated world of Shrek which manages the not inconsiderable feat of being a delight for children, parents and hipsters in between. What makes Shrek such fun is its ability to play as a classic fairy-tale for moppets while loading the dialogue with puns, in-jokes and pop culture references for grown ups. Watch Princess Fiona's Matrix-inspired fight scene with Monsieur Hood and his merry French men and you'll know what I mean. Or the scene in which the magic mirror offers Lord Farquaad the choice of three brides-to-be - Cinderella, Fiona and Snow White - "she lives with seven guys but she's not easy". Shrek balances its ideas and ingredients cleverly, never losing sight of the warm-hearted tale of an ogre who's really just a lonely guy with an inferiority complex while throwing in moments of inspired lunacy when banished fairy-tale characters such as the three blind mice and the three little pigs invade his splendid isolation in the swamp. Voiced by Mike Myers with a Scottish accent reminiscent of his Fat Bastard character in the second Austin Powers film, Shrek is a loveable big lug whose good heart underneath that green skin gives the film a strong emotional core. Eddie Murphy's motor-mouthed donkey is the only slightly irritating character but it doesn't hurt the overall effect. The animation is extraordinary, particularly the facial expression detail that surpasses anything we've seen in Toy Story, A Bug's Life or Antz. I was won over by the sly script and savvy humour of Shrek and even moved by a beautiful montage dedicated to love as John Cale sang Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah. If ever the term ‘suitable for children of all ages’ applied, this is it.”
Richard Kuipers

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 3
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

DVD REVIEW

SPECIAL STREAMING VIDEO PRESENTATION
Andrew L. Urban talks to Jeffrey Katzenberg

See our SOUNDTRACK REVIEW with audio clips

TRAILER

SHREK (G)
(US)

VOICES OF: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, John Lithgow

DIRECTOR: Andrew Adamson, Vicky Jenson

PRODUCER: Aron Warner, John H. Williams, Jeffrey Katzenberg

SCRIPT: Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio (screenplay), Roger S.H. Schulman, Joe Stillman, and William Steig (book)

MUSIC: Harry Gregson-Williams, John Powell, James McKee Smith (additional music)

EDITOR: Sim Evan-Jones

PRODUCTION DESIGNER: James Hegedus

VISUAL EFFECTS SUPERVISOR: Ken Bielenberg

SUPERVISING ANIMATOR: Raman Hui

RUNNING TIME: 85 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: UIP

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: June 21, 2001

VIDEO RELEASE: November 7, 2000

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Universal Pictures Video







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