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Every once in awhile I luck into some studio passes which makes my job easier...not to mention cheaper. The fear still exists in my head that I may be too lenient on the film that I get to see for free. After all, had I paid for it I might not like the film, I may feel ripped off but a free movie is a free movie.
I lucked into some passes on Shrek, and while I liked it, I didn't come out of it as full of praise as everybody else around me seemed to. I thought the first half hour was great but the middle lagged, and honestly, I am sick of seeing Matrix parodies that are not really funny. The other thing, when it comes to the ending, I feel it is a bit of a let down, the events happen too quickly while the romantic angle is really just followed up on so quickly it almost seems to be glossed over.
Now, having thrown all that out of my system, I have no fear in saying that Shrek is bound to be one of the better films we will see all summer. While not always a great movie, it is, at least, a consistently good one.
Shrek is a fairy-tale-esque story that exists in a fairy tale world. Shrek is the mighty and solitary green Ogre (voiced by Mike Myers) who, to get possession of his swamp back, agrees to Lord Farquaad's (John Lithgow) request. The request being that Shrek must save Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) from some dreaded dragon and return her to the land of Duloc so that Lord Farquaad might marry her and thus become King.
In the trailer they showed Shrek being joined by a seemingly mouthy and annoying talking donkey (aptly named Donkey and voiced by Eddie Murphy). I was half right, he is mouthy, but Murphy keeps him just on the right side of annoying and in time he becomes annoyingly charming. What I do like about Shrek is what some have actually pointed out as being the weaker elements of the film, the darker side of the jokes with maggots and exploding Robins. They were the surprises for me in what is a colourful children's movie.
The fact that this is a PG animated film is quite a happy one for me. The art form is being elevated with computers, bars and being raised and boundaries pushed. Somehow animation over time has been considered mainly for children or to appeal to the kids in the adults. Screw that. If they can bring both audiences together like Toy Story 1 & 2 have done then they have done a far better job than most Disney films of late.
However, before I get off into some rant and rave mode, let me reel myself back in and get back on track.
The back-story on Shrek is that Mike Myers decided it would be funnier and more appropriate if Shrek sounded more Scottish, so they threw out $4 million worth of animation and re-recorded his lines. I have no idea what the original recording sounded like but this one is a winner. (Side note: Originally Chris Farley recorded the role but with Farley having passed on Mike Myers stepped into the role). Myers seemingly made the right decision in terms of characterization as I simply cannot imagine Shrek sounding any other way now.
John Lithgow is a comic treasure that is just being rediscovered this past decade. Perhaps it took his comic turn on Saturday Night Live and then Third Rock From The Sun to cement a relationship with the audience. Another cast stand-out is Eddie Murphy as Donkey. I was sure this would be a mis-fire as he seems to have given up on being brilliantly funny and rests cheerfully with mildly amusing movies like The Nutty Professor or Doctor Dolittle.
As for Cameron Diaz, as much hate mail as this may generate, I honestly believe any solid female actress could have voiced this underwritten part. Not that this is Diaz's fault, she just isn't given a lot to do here.
Basically, when you get down to it though, you shouldn't really take this review too seriously. The film is going to rake in the big bucks and no one will truthfully give a rat's ass what my feelings on the flick were. So see it and enjoy it for I have a feeling the summer of 2001 is going to be a sparse one.
Copyright© Written By Staffwriter: Rob Paul
Deleted and Extended Scenes
"International Dubbing" and "The Tech Of Shrek" Featurettes
"DWK - This Way To Play" 12 Interactive Games
"Shrek" X-Box Game Playing Hints
"Shrek's Music Room" Including The Baha Men Music Video
The Making Of The Baha Men Music Video and Smash Mouth's "I'm A Believer" Music Video
"Technical Goofs" Outtakes
Storyboard Pitch Of Deleted Scenes
Widescreen 1.85:1 (Anamorphic)
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1
ENGLISH: DTS 5.1
The DVD Review: