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Copyright 1999-2002 3BlackChicks Enterprises™. All Rights Reserved.

3BC
Bams' review of
Shrek
3BC

Shrek

Shrek (2001)
Rated PG; running time 89 minutes
Studio: Dreamworks
Genre: Animated
Official site: http://www.shrek.com/
IMDB site: http://us.imdb.com/Details?0126029
Written by: Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Roger S.H. Schulman, Joe Stillman (based on the book by Wiliam Steig)
Music by: Neil Diamond, Harry Gregson-Williams, Joan Jett, John Powell, James McKee Smith
Directed by: Andrew Adamson, Vicky Jensen
Cast: Voices of: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, John Lithgow

DVD standard features : widescreen and "Pan And Scan"; theatrical trailers; scene access. Languages & Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
DVD special features: Dolby Digital 5.1, 5.1 Surround, 2.0 Dolby Surround sound; behind-the-scenes featurettes; "Shrek's Revoice Studio"; interactive and DVD-ROM activities; storyboards; production, cast, and technical notes and commentary


Review Copyright Rose Cooper, 2002


(click here to skip to this movie's rating)


Back when Disney/Pixar released A Bug's Life right around the same time rival mainstream animators Dreamworks came out with their similar buggy tale, Antz, I thought it was no contest: the Disney juggernaut and graphics whiz kids at Pixar, ruled the roost. Subsequent Disney/Pixar releases of Toy Story, Toy Story 2, and Monsters, Inc. only served to underscore that team's powerhouse status. But now, with Shrek having triumphed artistically, excelled at the box office, and now getting "Oscar" buzz, Dreamworks may end up having the last laugh after all.


THE STORY (WARNING: **spoilers contained below**)
Once upon a time, a big, misunderstood ["I'm not bad...I'm just drawn that way!"] ogre named Shrek (Mike Myers) was chillin' by himself in his swamp, minding his own beeswax...when along came a bunch of fairy tale creatures, invading his personal space, disturbing his wa! "What's up with that?", bellowed the ogre, and off he went to see what was the matter.

Along the way, he hooked up with a little ass, Donkey (Eddie Murphy). Long of mouth, short of silence, Donkey was the first to accept Shrek for his True Self; but still, Shrek thought Donkey was a pain in the...well, you know. Shrek and Donkey set out to find the source of the disturbance: Lord Farquaad (John Lithgow), a legend in his own mind. After a rousing bout of world wide rasslin', Lord Farquaad tasks Shrek to go rescue a damsel in distress: Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz), a faire maiden with a secret of her own.

Will Shrek find contentment in his swamp again? Will Farquaad grow a couple inches? Will Fiona kick a little ass of her own? Will Donkey Get Some from Dragon? Hey, turn the page...


THE UPSHOT
Good thing I didn't place any bets on whether Shrek would've succeeded as it has; I would've lost. And despite some rumblings from Shrek detractors, I say it is deserving of its success. Granted, I didn't come away from this cartoon with nearly the Warm Fuzzies that I got from each of the previous Pixar flicks that I've seen (and, except for "Monsters", own on DVD). Then again, Shrek isn't drawn to be that way; its jabs at Disney's way of telling classic fairy tales - not to mention its poke at Disneyland itself - are evidence of the snarky sarcasm and mature humor that have drawn adults as well as children to this beautifully-animated film.

And talk about beautiful animation! The CGI in Shrek is nothing less than astounding; the attention to detail, amazing. Computer animators push the technical envelope further and further each year, and the people behind Shrek have taken advantage of the leaps on technology since Antz was released in 1998.

The story itself - ogre meets girl; ogre fails to completely Appreciate girl; girl becomes Empowered and Finds Her True Self - is nothing new to the land of fairy tales; but the way the tale is told in Shrek is funky fresh. The riffs on classic Disney-fied characters like Pinocchio (not Geppetto's favorite boy after all, eh?), Snow White (complete with exploding Bluebird Of Happiness), and especially The Gingerbread Man ("eat me!") are just part of what makes this movie so noteworthy. I just wish there were more such riffs; and if rumors of a Shrek 2 being in the works are true, hopefully I'll get my wish.

The voice talent here was surprisingly strong. I'm not a fan of Saturday Night Live alumni, but Mike Myers tore it up as Shrek, the misunderstood ogre. I don't know why Myers chose a brogue accent, but the dialect worked well for his character. Cameron Diaz as Fiona was fine; heck, I was just happy that she wasn't cloying here. John Lithgow made his shortstuff Lord Farquaar epic in his smallness. And Eddie Murphy, as Donkey, was not nearly as over-the-top as I had feared he would take his character. Murphy was somewhat subtle, where a Chris Tucker or a Martin Lawrence, in the same role, probably would've worked my last nerve. Proving, once again, that you don't have to be an ass, to be an Ass.


DVD THINGIES
The Shrek DVD, with its eleven hours of extras, is a Thingies lover's dream. All of the extras in this two-disc set are too numerous to mention in detail, so I'll just highlight a few here.

Disc one features Windoze-only DVD-ROM extras such as the "Revoice Studio" and "DreamWorks Kids", both interactive modules aimed at the younger set; it also has "interviews" with the characters (not the actors), which put me in mind of Pixar's use of "outtakes". Disc two includes storyboard pitches of deleted scenes, real outtakes of technical goofs (including a warm and fuzzy donkey!), and my second favorite extra, "The Tech of Shrek", which details the production of the film. My favorite? "Shrek in the Swamp Karaoke Dance Party". Trust me: it's a must-see.


BAMMER'S BOTTOM LINE
Owning the Shrek DVD has more than made up for the fact that I missed the movie during its first run. And all the extras are almost worth me trading in my Mac for a DVD-equipped PC. Uh...almost.


SHREK:

green

In 2001, I grooved on "Monsters, Inc.", no doubt; but Shrek was most enjoyable in its snarkasm, and with it, Dreamworks finally provides Pixar Studios with some real competition - especially for its DVD Thingies.

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And that's the way I see it.

Rose "Bams" Cooper
3BlackChicks Review™
Copyright Rose Cooper, 2002
EMAIL: bams@3blackchicks.com    ICQ: 7760005
http://www.3blackchicks.com/

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More 3BlackChicks...™ review(s) for this week:
(entertainment reviewed week of 5/18/01):
Bams' reviews:
Shrek (DVD)

The Diva's reviews:
Angel Eyes | Shrek


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