Sunday, May 01, 2011

Shrek (2001)

Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia
Shrek tells the story of an animated Ogre in his quest to free Princess Fiona.

Shrek (Mike Myers) is a introvert ogre, happy in his swamp where nobody bothers him. It all changes as Lord Farquaad (John Lithgow) begins to banish fairy tale creatures onto Shrek's doorstep.

One such creature is the dim, talking Donkey (Eddie Murphy) who invites himself on the journey to visit Farquaad and persuade him to give Shrek back his swamp.

Meanwhile, Farquaad is starting his own quest to find a knight brave enough to rescue the Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) from the dragon. On Shrek's arrival he finds himself chosen as the champion and in return for the Princess, Farquaad agrees to return Shrek's swamp.

Shrek has long since established itself as a firm family favourite, particularly because of the all-star cast. While its sequels features even more well-known voices, the original certainly set down the bar of familiars.

The success of the film has been mostly due to the cliche of having two protagonists that, while they have the same goal in mind, have completely different outlooks on life. This tried-and-tested method has worked in Starsky and Hutch along with many comedy double acts, but directors Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson take it to the extreme with the extrovert dim-witted Donkey and Shrek, the hermit.

Combining this formula with a number of family hits; Smash Mouth's remade I'm a Believer and All-Star add the fun to Leonard Cohen's more emotional Hallelujah. Eddie Murphy adds lyrics to some of the songs in a hilarious manner as Donkey continues to irritate Shrek.

The storyline - from William Steig's book - is familiar to anyone that has ever read a fairy tale, and most of the minors characters are taken directly from Disney classics. The story has been tweaked to exaggerate many of the cliches that are offered to younger children in fairy tales, adding an element that adults can enjoy.

All-in-all, a classic.

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