|"Shrek" is a Shriek!|
Tyrants - Monsters - Heroes - Ear Wax.
Shrek's a solitary kind of guy. He's not looking for love, friendship, or neighbors. He loves his secluded little bug-infested swamp. Sure, there's the whole "kill the ogre, get a reward" campaign, but he's pretty much left alone to live peacefully. That is until the mighty small Lord Farquaad (voiced by John Lithgow) decides to rid his kingdom of all the storybook characters. Forced to flee, the storybook characters land smack dab in the middle of Shrek's swamp, taking up residence in his front yard and even going as far as commandeering his house. Donkey is the first on the scene having to be saved from capture by Farquaad's guards, by hiding behind Shrek. Sensing that Shrek could be an asset for a donkey on his own, Donkey begins worming his way into Shrek's house and heart. Donkey has a non-stop mouth, getting on Shrek's nerves, yet Shrek allows him to hang out. He's an ogre with a heart after all. Either that, or he's trying to figure out a way to make donkey stew.
The only way Shrek will get his peaceful swamp back is to confront Lord Farquaad. Farquaad is a tiny guy, short in stature but with a really tall castle (the source of a few compensation jokes by Shrek). The interior entry area of the castle looks a whole lot like Disneyland's Main Street. That's not the end of the Disney similarity - dolls dance to a tune that's similar to "It's a Small World" and equally annoying - but I'm digressing. Shrek and Donkey arrive at the castle during a competition between Farquaad's knights. In order to become a King, Farquaad must marry a princess. In a parody of "The Dating Game," Farquaad selected his bride-to-be and chose the lovely Princess Fiona (voiced by Cameron Diaz). One catch, she's trapped in a tower guarded by a fire-eating dragon. Farquaad's solution is to send his bravest knight out to rescue the Princess and slay the dragon. Shrek's presence at the competition takes on a WWF tone. Knights are tossed, slammed, and beaten with chairs. Shrek, the victor, wins the right to rescue the Princess. Shrek and his trusty wisecracking buddy, Donkey, set out on their quest. What ensues is some very hilarious, smart and witty dialogue featuring purloined lines and scenes from other movies (the line from "Babe" had me choking on my popcorn).
The audience actually clapped at the end. Taking into consideration the price of movie tickets, popcorn, and other munchies, clapping at the end of a movie is a sign of a good flick. Shrek was a thoroughly enjoyable fairy tale with adult overtones. I loved the jabs at Disney, and the adult jokes that went over the heads of the younger audience. Now, if I could only get Eddie Murphy's version of "You've Got to Have Friends" out of my head…
Rated PG for mild language and some crude humor. Released on May 16 in NY and LA, and nationwide on May 18, 2001. Shrek brought in $42.3 million during its first opening weekend.