Flashback 2001 ~ Shrek: deep meaning, thought provoking...and Oh so - CinemaDave
May. 23rd, 2010 10:24 am Flashback 2001 ~ Shrek: deep meaning, thought provoking...and Oh so
Classic folktales have been analyzed by academic scholars since the Brothers Grimm began writing them down. These nursery rhymes and tales have had a darker edge that have been sanitized by modern sensibilities. In one version of "Cinderella," a wicked step sister cut off her toes to get her foot to fit the glass slipper. Dreamwork's "Shrek" is a multilayered animated movie that utilizes some of these darker themes with a comic punch.
Mean Prince Farquaard (Voice of John Lithgow) wants his kingdom to be as boring as he is. So the evil royal one banishes all the classic fairytale characters into an ogre's swamp. Before saying "there goes the neighborhood'" Shrek the Ogre (Mike Myers) becomes upset and confronts the Prince.
The Prince cuts a deal with the ogre; if Shrek can rescue a princess, the prince will solve his immigration problem. So Shrek the unlikely hero, goes off on a Herculean quest with his sidekick Donkey (Eddie Murphy.) Along the way Shrek and his faithful companion battle a dragon with pretty eyes and rescue a Princess in distress (Cameron Diaz.)
Things are not what they appear in William Steig's novel of the same name. The comedic highlights are formed by one's memories of the classic fairytales. The team of 6 screenwriters garner big laughs when mixing the mythological extreme with everyday behavior. There are also many echoes from pop culture and modern cinema. A wedding reception takes on a Jerry Springer air when Cinderella & Snow White duke it out for the wedding bouquet. One visual owes a dept to Dreamwork's own "Gladiator" and one aural highlight allows The Ginger Bread Man to sound like Mr. Bill from "Saturday Night Live."
The Saturday Night Live alumnus play a significant role in the creative process of "Shrek." Shrek was originally designed for the late Chris Farely. Along with John Lithgow, Mike Meyers undertakes the vocal challenge with their usual consistency. However it's Eddie Murphy's vocal performance as Donkey that steals the show.
There are enough visual action to hold the interest of children and there is enough depth and double entendres to entertain the most ogre adult audience. The rauckus grand finale will make one a believer in "Shrek.".