|Dir:||Vicky Jenson, Andrew Adamson|
|Star:||(voices) Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, John Lithgow|
|Cert / Year:||PG / 2001|
Shrek (Mike Myers) is a Ogre that lives by himself in his cosy little swamp. He is happy scaring the local populus away and being on his own. The problem is that the diminutive Lord Farquaad (John Lithgow) is creating the perfect kingdom and has designated Shrek's swamp as a relocation zone for his unwanted fairy tale characters. Soon Shrek is overrun with Pinoccio, the three bears, countless fairies, and a talking Donkey (Eddie Murphy) to mention just a few. Taking the donkey as a guide Shrek visits Farquaad to get back his swamp. However there is a price, Shrek must rescue Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz)from a fire breathing dragon for Farquaad to marry before he can go home in peace So Shrek and Donkey begin their quest.
This year has definitely seen a shift in animated features moving away from traditional drawn animation towards computer animation. Titan A.E. attempted to bridge the gap, Final Fantasy truly pushing the frontiers, Shrek added the new techniques to the more traditional cartoon story, and the year is ending with Monster Inc.. All of these features seem to point the way to the future. Computer animation techniques have finally surpassed original drawn animation, which now looks a little flat and primitive in comparison.
So how does Shrek compare to the rest of this years cartoons, well I'm happy to say both in terms of the film and in terms of the animation it is top quality. Using a more cartoony look than Final Fantasy the scenes are simply stunning. Added to this is the usual high standard of animation and some interesting camera techniques. These go beyond what is capable in live action (the comedy bullet time effect is just one fine example of this). Characters look and movement are also well implemented and used to full comedy effect.
Comedy has to be funny (well duh!) a fact so often ignored in scripts, but not here. There are loads of laughs, thanks to the superb script and the delivery of Donkey voiced by Eddie Murphy. In films like Trading Places and Beverly Hill Cop Eddie Murphy was brilliant, but then followed a period of seriously duff movies such as Vampire in Brooklyn. More recently however he has been turning things around, and here is one of the best performances ever. Add this to perfectly matched character and you have one of the most loveable and comic characters of the year.
Apart from Eddie we have the talents of John Lithgow (best known for the role of Dick Solomon in 3rd Rock from the Sun) who is perfect for Lord Farquaad, a ruler who literally no one looks up to. Cameron Diaz is well cast, and manages both the comedy and the more serious elements to her role with equal ease. Mike Myers voices Shrek in for some unknown reason a Scottish accent. He is fine but gets few of the jokes, being the straight man to Eddie Murphy's Donkey. It would have been nice to see more made of his huge comic talent.
Interestedly Shrek is a Disney movie that for once dispenses with the usual cutsey soppiness prevalent in many other of the studios movies. In fact it goes further than this by openly taking the mickey (really no pun intended) out of the Disney corporation (for the perfect kingdom of Duloc read Disneyland). It also features cameos \ spoofs of many of Disney's earlier characters, which are used to get some good laughs. Even the soundtrack dispenses with the Elton John inspired pap and uses a more contemporary soundtrack (thank heavens for no annoying songs).
Shrek is immensely entertaining for both kids and adults alike. It is hilariously funny from the fairy tale with a twist opening, to Donkeys rendition of I'm a Believer at the end. It is worth watching for Donkey character alone. The computer animation is nothing short of spectacularly good, and this is matched with some fine direction. Shrek is one of the best comedies I have seen this year, and is another top family film.
As Shrek would say "Watch it now or I'll send you to Duloc. Now get out of my swamp!"
|1.77:1 or 4:3||The picture very clear and grain free|
|5.1 Dolby Digital||Top quality|
|DVD ROM Record your voice over certain scenes. Easy to use fun feature|
|Behind the scenes featurette|
|Hidden fun facts!|
|A selection of DVD ROM games|
|Music videos for Baha Men, Smash Mouth, and Donkey|
|Tech of Shrek featurette|
|Storyboard walkthroughs of unfilmed scenes|
|Technical goofs featurette|
|International dubbing featurette|
|Character design progression|
|Cast and Crew Bios|
|More superb animated menus|
|What a disc set, superb. There's even a couple more extras which I have not listed. Buy this now, but be warned the region 2 release is not half as good.|