Hey guys! Gerawallstar, here, and I am here to review the 2001 animated film from Dreamworks called Shrek. This film had a major impact in animation: it was the financially successful CGI film at the time, it was the fourth highest grossing film of 2001, it was the first animated film to win an Oscar at the first best Animated Picture Oscar, beating Monsters Inc, and it was also the film that would finally give DreamWorks animated films an identity. However, it also caused a dangerous influence in animation too: the success of this film, and a few PIXAR films at the time caused a lot of hand drawn animated films to be thrown out the window, and its influence also caused most animated films these days, and back then, to follow the formula of bringing in pop-culture references, toilet humor, and cartoony/comedic styles in animated films. In my opinion, I loved Shrek, and I think it still holds up to this day, no matter what people think of its impact on animation.

Production:

At the time where DreamWorks was founded, John Williams brought the novel, which he reads to his children to Katzenberg. Eventually, Katzenberg’s interest in the novel has led to him making a movie of out of Shrek. Katzenberg put the film in development in 1995, after buying the rights. Steven Spielberg wanted to make it a traditionally animated film, along with making Bill Murray, and Steve Martin to play both as Shrek and Donkey. Katzenberg, and Andrew Adamson both argued about whether to make the film appeal to. Eventually, Katzenberg decided that the film should be appealed to everyone, however, he denied Adamson’s ideas such as adding Sexual Jokes, and Guns n Roses, music, because he thinks that it wouldn’t be good for the demographics. Kelly Asbury joined co-directing the film in 1997, but she left to work on Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron and let Vicky Jenson take over as story artist. Most early sketches were done in 1996 and 1997 by using Photoshop, and they featured Shrek living in a garbage dump, Fiona having 100 sculptures, and Donkey being designed by a child named Pericles. Some of the features were removed such as the addition of Goldilocks and Sleeping Beauty. During the casting, Nicholas Cage was originally going to voice Shrek, but he turned it down, because he didn’t want to be cast as an Ogre. Eventually, Chris Farley was going to do Shrek. There were about 80-90% of scenes recorded in the dialogue by Chris Farley, but sadly, he died in 1997 due to drug overdose, so they let Mike Myers, voice Shrek for the final version. When he voiced Shrek, he wanted to use a Scottish Accent for Shrek, along with using Canadian, and Country Accents. The voice actor of Fiona was originally going to be Jeanene Garofalo, but she got fired for unknown reasons, and Cameron Diaz voiced her in the final version. For the animation, Shrek was originally going to be a live-action/CGI hybrid, but later Katzenberg stated that the results looked horrible, and they changed it to CGI with the help of PDI (Pacific Data Images), in 1998, at the same time ANTZ was in production. The results contains lot of realistic fur, and designs of  Donkey, Shrek, and Fiona.  Shrek has over 31 sequences, in 1,288 shots in total. And as for the music, Katzenberg wanted Shrek to have pop music, and oldies music as a part of their story.

Story:

The story is about a lonely green ogre who lives in a swamp rescues a princess named Fiona, while also tagging along with a Donkey. Now this story is good. Its nowhere near as groundbreaking, or great, but its still a good story. What don’t I like about the story? My problem with the story is that its very predictable. What I mean by that is that there is a ogre, and a princess who doesn’t like each other at the start, they fall in love, they have a big misunderstanding, and they even make up at the end, and get married. Its not that the stuff that goes on in the movie is bad. Its just that its very obvious that all of the scenes would happen, and since this is a film that mocks fairytales, including Disney fairytales, its very predictable that these things would happen, as I stated before. The worst part of the movie is that stupid misunderstanding where the characters mope and dope and then realize how wrong they are and make up in the end.  The best thing about the story is the bond between Shrek, Donkey, and later on, Fiona. Shrek and Donkey have an amazing chemistry. They are like a buddy trope that you see in every Disney movie, and what works is their hatred, and friendship. The romance scenes with Shrek and Fiona, while predictable, is still very good. The scene where Shrek breaks down stating that people judge him was very emotional. You can really relate to this guy. The fight scene at Duloc’s castle was entertaining, and hilarious. The wedding scene with Duloc was okay, but the climax felt a little rushed. The scene where Shrek and Donkey save Fiona at the Dragons Keep Castle was hilarious. There The scene where Fiona transforms into an ogre at night was good. The scene where Shrek has an arrow on his butt, and both him and Fiona fighting a couple of Merry Men was funny but also boring. There are a lot of quotable lines, but to make it brief, I will say the funniest ones, such as: “Okay, let me tell you. Do you know the muffin man?”, “Ogres are like Onions,” and “Stubborn Jackass.” Just like the quotable lines, there are some dark humor in the film too such as Fiona singing to the point where a bird dies, and then cooking one of the bird’s babies as Eggs for Breakfast. The ending dance number was good, and memorable. The story may be predictable, but it is still entertaining. I give the story seven stars.

Animation:

While the story is good, I can say the same thing with the animation being just good. The backgrounds, and the castle designs look great. The human character designs however are just average. I don’t think that the animation holds up at all, because it looks very dated. You may argue with me that this film came out in 2001, back when CGI was still in its infancy. I am here to tell you that even though the animation is not bad, but with the CGI animation that PIXAR has done before this film came out, I expected the animation to be a little better from DreamWorks. Especially since that this is NOT the first time where they experienced CGI. The first CGI film, in fact their first film, that they made prior was ANTZ. The Computer-Generated Imagery animation is good, but I expect better results from DreamWorks.

Characters:

The characters are great, and the main highlights of this film. I adored the characters through and through in this movie. Shrek is a very solid character. He’s a mean ogre, but with a lot of heart, and emotions. Hence the campfire scene. Donkey, while being the typical comic relief, is very funny, and very fitting for Eddie Murphy to voice him. Fiona is a good character, too., She is very sweet. I loved her singing voice with that bird. The side characters, which are the residents of Far Far Away such as Gingy, Pinocchio, the three Pigs, etc are very funny, and charming as well. The character I don’t like is Duloc the villain. While he may get a few funny lines in here, he is just very forgettable as a villain.

Verdict:

Shrek is a decent film that really defined DreamWorks, as an animation company. It may not be as good as The Prince of Egypt, and yes, it has dated CGI, and a predictable story, it is still the film that led an amazing impact on CGI animated films, not just from PIXAR, but from non-Disney companies as well such as Blue Sky Studios, and Illumination. Thank you, Shrek, for paving the way for making successful CGI films outside of Disney

Story: 7/10

Animation:7/10

Characters:9/10

7/10

 

 

1 thought on “Shrek(2001) Review

  1. Ah, Shrek. The film’s CGI (especially with the human characters) might not be all that impressive by today’s standards, and not all the jokes work, but all in all it holds up pretty well. There is some weirdness (I’m not sure why there’s a French Robin Hood), and there’s also that trope where the protagonists have a misunderstanding and one sits and mopes for a while as a sad song plays. In ‘Shrek’, it’s ‘Hallelujah’, in Hoodwinked it’s the original song ‘Red is Blue’, and it’s a trope we’ve seen in plenty of CGI animated movies.

    But all in all, it’s still a pretty good movie. Shrek 2 is even better, the fourth one is okay, but not the best, and the third one is probably the weakest of the series. ‘Shrek the Halls’ (the Christmas special where Shrek and company each share their Christmas stories as Shrek tries to figure out how to celebrate his first Christmas with Fiona and the kids) is also pretty good.

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