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Can I give this film 6 out of 5?!
Member Name: GR-Design
Date: 12/04/02, updated on 12/04/02 (126 review reads)
Shrek is a movie that I just had to see after seeing Monsters Inc at the cinema! Like I said in my Monsters Inc review, I was never interested in animated movies until I saw Monsters Inc and now I’m on a mission to see all of the ‘new’ computer animated films like Toy Story and Chicken Run (which was on Sky Premier this morning so I have it on tape, be prepared for a review of it when I get round to watching it!)
So, Shrek just had to be seen, and luckily enough, my mate who has liked animated films for a while had it on DVD, so I nicked it off him and gave it a watch. Since then I have watched the film 3 times, and still haven’t got bored of it, which is strange for me, I normally only watch a movie once or twice as theres so many movies out there that deserve to be watched. So, this film must be pretty damn good if I can watch it 3 times in the space of 3 weeks!
Shrek, directed by Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson, both new to directing roles in a movie, have done themselves proud. I don’t quite know how you go about directing an animated movie, but oh well, they did it! The actual movie is adapted by a book by William Steig, who is also the writer for the up and coming movie, Shrek 2, well, it comes out in 2004, but hey, give em chance, they have to put a lot of work into this movie! They spent 2 years making Shrek, and after watching the film, I reckon that what they have done in that time is amazing. You’ve got to remember that Shrek runs for 90 minutes, and that’s a hell of a lot of work that has gone into those 90 minutes, not to mention the amount of extras you get included on the DVD, including the Shrek Swamp Karaoke Dance Party, but I will hopefully do a different opinion altogether on the DVD, as it really does deserve it’s own review.
The budget for the film was $60m. That all went towards the staff, the advertising and the computer systems and technology they had to use to pro
duce the film. However, having said that, and $60m does sound like a lot of money, and it is, they made $267.6m from the box office in the US and and incredible $28m from the box office here in the UK. That’s not to mention the video sales, rentals and all the merchandise that went with the release of the film! Some big money there! No wonder they are working on Shrek 2 (it’s all about Shrek and Fiona by the way!)
So, onto the plot of this damn ingenious film then! Shrek (Mike Myers), a big Green Ogre, which I’m sure you will have all seen somewhere lives in a swamp, on his own, keeps himself to himself because of the way he looks. He’s quite happy living there, that is until Lord Farquaad sends all the fairytale animals, living in Duloc to Shreks swamp out of the way. Shrek doesn’t want all these fairytale creatures living with him, so he goes on a mission to tell Lord Farquaad just what to do, which is to put the creatures back where they belong. It doesn’t sound to thrilling yet does it!? Give it time! He meets Donkey (Eddie Murphy) before the rest of the animals though. Donkey is, if I compare him to a human, the always happy, over reacting, hyper active, joke telling one who never seems to calm down, says what he thinks and never shuts up! Shrek takes Donkey with him, and they end up at Lord Farquaad’s kingdom.
While this has been going on, we have been introduced to Lord Farquaad (John Lithgow) himself. The typical King type person you see in fairytale stories. He wants a wife, so is getting his slaves to find one for him. He has the choice of 3, and goes for Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz). Princess Fiona is the stranded princess in the top of a castle waiting for her prince to come and rescue her. The prince who does rescue her should be her true love (isn’t that sweet!?)
So, Shrek and Donkey get to the Kingdom. When they get there, Lord Farquaad is giving a speech on his new wife to
be, and sending his soldiers out to get her, explaining that some of them may die. Shrek walks right into the middle of the arena where the speech is being spoken (are those the right words!?). Lord Farquaad tell’s his guards to get rid of this ogre, but Shrek and donkey beat the guards up between them, this is a great scene, very funny! Shrek then explains to Lord Farquaad that he wants the animals to be returned to their own homes, and not at his swamp, so Lord Farquaad comes up with a compromise. He tells Shrek that if he goes to rescue Princess Fiona from the castle, with the dragon who guards the castle, he will return the animals to their homes! Fair enough, and Shrek is on his way, not knowing quite what’s ahead of him!
From here we are transported to action, comedy, fight scenes and much much more, I don’t want to give the plot away to much, but I will give you some of the key elements in the film. Something falls in love with the donkey, and Shrek falls in love with someone he shouldn’t! That’s about all I’m going to give you though, there is no way I’m going to spoil this film for anybody!
The graphics are glorious. The backgrounds used in the film are absolutely spectacular when you think it was all done on computers. There is one scene where a beer keg is smashed, and the beer gushes out, you wouldn’t even believe you were watching an animation when you see the way the beer gushes out, it actually looks like real beer. Animation has taken a huge step since the Disney animations such as The little Mermaid and The Lion King. It’s said on the DVD that about 200 parts on Shrek’s face are moveable. His eyebrows move, depending on what sort of expression he is pulling at the time. But, one of my favourite characters, for sheer realism was Lord Farquaad. This animated character had facial expressions of a real Human Being, he had chest hair and stubble on his face that moved like it
would on a real humans face.
Looking at camera angle points of view, Shrek has moved the boundaries of animated film. There is one part on the film where Shrek and Donkey are on a rickety rope bridge and shrek is scaring the donkey by making the bridge swing and fro. The camera angle literally sticks you right in the action and moves with the bridge. Similarly, you see some scenes from Shrek’s point of view, and again, when they are escaping from a castle, you see things in slow motion, with the characters running towards you. Beautiful camera work, and I don’t often say the word beautiful as it makes me feel all girly! Having said all that, there were no camera used in this film, but you know what I mean!
I’m going to have to praise the movie even more now…even if you are getting a bit tired of me praising literally every part of the film! The soundtrack for an animated film is excellent. It uses actual songs that we know, not songs specifically made for the film. I bet you will recognise this song just from the words I’m about to give you: ‘I thought love was only true in fairy tales’. That’s one of the songs used, but here are some others:
You belong to me
Try a little tenderness
I’m a believer
Most of the songs have been recorded by Eddie Murphy, so it’s not quite the songs that are played on the radio (although generally these songs aren’t played on the radio no more). However, Eddie does a grand job, and what he does just involves you even more in the film and gives you that ‘happy feeling’ when your watching it!
Overall, this film is one to own on DVD, it’s one to watch again and again, it’s one I wish I had seen at the cinema, and it’s one that’s going to be one of my favourites for a long time. It’s made by Disney/Pixar of Toy Story fame, so expect it to be good…oh, and I must ge
t round to watching Toy Story, although I’ve already said that in my Monsters Inc opinion! Enjoy people, this is a fantastic film!