Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Movie Review: "Shrek" (2001)

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Director: Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson
Year: 2001
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 48 minutes

After fairy-tale creatures are outlawed by Lord Farquaad (John Lithgow), they are placed in a refugee camp at the swamp of an ogre named Shrek (Mike Myers). Shrek doesn't like visitors, so he decides to talk to Farquaad and get all the creatures relocated. He comes to an agreement that if he rescues Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) from a fire-breathing dragon, Farquaad will give Shrek back his swamp. 

DreamWorks Animation's "Shrek" is directed by Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson, and is inspired by the picture book "Shrek!" by William Steig. It stars Mike Myers as the titular Shrek, who is an unpleasant ogre who likes the privacy of his own swamp. A local tyrant name Lord Farquaad, voiced by John Lithgow, has outlawed all fairy-tale creatures and has created a refugee camp at Shrek's swamp, filling it with the misplaced creatures who are loud and noisy and take up tons of space. Shrek is very unhappy about the situation and heads to Duloc to confront Farquaad about it. Joining him is a talking donkey appropriately named Donkey, voiced by Eddie Murphy, who shows Shrek the way to Duloc. Once there, Shrek strikes a deal with Farquaad, who says that if he rescues Princess Fiona, voiced by Cameron Diaz, Farquaad will be able to marry Fiona and will give Shrek back his land.

"Shrek" is the first film to win best animated feature at the Academy Awards. Given that it has such a distinguished honor, one must assume this is a fantastic film, and to us, it totally holds up decades later. The voice work here is excellent from all of the actors involved. It is especially great from Eddie Murphy, who offers up a lot of laughs and tons of spastic wit as Shrek's lovable, loud, boisterous sidekick Donkey. John Lithgow also does a wonderful job as well as the sinister Lord Farquaad, who may be short in stature, but has a big ego to make up for it. He is able to convey a certain level of arrogance and condescension that truly makes the character a brilliant villain. Cameron Diaz as the determined Princess Fiona and Mike Myers as the odorous, bitter Shrek make the perfect mismatched pair of lovers-but-not-lovers.

There are a lot of hilarious references to many different fairy-tales and nursery rhymes. One of the funniest moments comes from an interaction between Farquaad and the Gingerbread Man, which is still hilarious every time we watch it. This movie also has a fair share of crude humor and fart jokes...in fact, probably too many fart jokes at that, but keep in mind, this is an affair for the kiddies, so these odious jokes come with the territory. Finally, there is also a hefty dose of pop culture references which were relevant and most likely poignant during its initial release, but don't age quite as well in the long run. Still, there are plenty of timeless "Oscar reel" moments despite there being many dated references.

"Shrek" is a charming, heartwarming, and fun animated adventure with a lot of laughs and even better voice work. It will have appeal to both kids and adults alike, and has been able to mostly stand the test of time, though a few references are definitely dated now in 2017.

My Rating: 9/10
BigJ's Rating: 9/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 88%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!

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