Dreaming of Dreamworks: Shrek (2001) Review

Plot: In a fairy tale world filled with creatures from nearly every fable known to man, an ogre named Shrek is forced from his home by the ruler, Farquaad. In order to get his home back, he is set out on a mission to retrieve a princess from a tower guarded by a fearsome dragon. Along with the talking donkey, Donkey, Shrek succeeds in his mission, but the journey back home proves to be much more eventful as Shrek and the princess start to fall in love.

Breakdown: It’s Dreamworks cash cow as a little calf, awwww.

Despite being milked for all its worth in the future, Shrek’s first installment is still a very solid movie with plenty of memorable and fun moments for all ages.

The message is one we’ve heard time and time and time again, but it’s told in a very refreshing way. There always was something odd about ‘it’s what’s inside that counts/don’t judge a book by its cover’ stories that end in the ‘ugly’ party becoming traditionally beautiful.

That doesn’t mean the movie’s perfect. There are still loads of gross-out gags and fart jokes that will never go away because, well, that’s Shrek’s bread and butter.

Not to mention this movie has dated itself quite a bit. It’s not loaded with pop-culture references, but we all know how Smash Mouth has become forever linked with this movie. There’s also a song on this by Leslie Carter, sister of Nick and Aaron Carter, and the end credits include a Baha Men song….the ‘Who Let the Dogs Out?’ guys have a song on this….Not to mention that in the Shrek in the Swamp Karaoke Dance Party mix, one of the songs they sing is actually ‘Who Let the Dogs Out?’

Oh yeah, and there’s the fact that there are two separate dance parties in this movie. At least on the DVD. The one where Donkey’s singing ‘I’m a Believer’ (Smash Mouth’s version, of course) and the Karaoke dance party that’s a bonus after the credits on the DVD. I wish the dance party trope would die in animated movies

Overall, I still really like this movie and would be more than glad to watch it again in the future. I even managed to spot some more ‘mature’ jokes on this viewing that I never caught in the past, and I have watched this movie several times as an adult.

The CGI has aged fairly well. It’s not mind blowing, and some shots are kinda shaky, but it’s still pretty damn good. However, compare the dragon ride scene in Shrek to the one in How to Train Your Dragon and you can tell they’ve made a world of improvements.

The music, despite some odd choices, is pretty good and fitting. ‘My Beloved Monster and Me’ is particularly good. That song that plays as Fiona and Shrek eat dinner is also very nice to listen to. I also absolutely love ‘It is You I Have Loved (All Along)’ and it’s a song I still listen to frequently.

The voice acting is fantastic. Mike Myers as Shrek is a perfect example of a character brought to life through their voice. I know Chris Farley was the first voice actor for Shrek before he tragically passed away and was unable to complete recording, but he did a marvelous job standing in.

Eddie Murphy may have gotten on my nerves here and there, but I honestly couldn’t see anyone else as Donkey.

John Lithgow as Farquaad was also very well done, but that’s to be expected of Lithgow.

Recommended Audience: There is some crude humor as well as adult jokes, but the crude humor isn’t too offensive for little kids, and the adult humor is usually way too subtle for kids to catch onto. There’s only some minor swearing, mostly in regards to saying the word ‘ass’ and usually referring to or talking to Donkey. 10+

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