A film review of ‘Shrek’

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When we think of the about some of the all time favourite children’s films, ‘Snow White’ and ‘Toy Story’ spring to mind. It is extremely difficult to think of anything that can meet the expectations of an experienced child. But now, Dreamworks (those behind many classics) invites us into the world of Shrek, a miserable ogre who is quite satisfied with being left alone in “his” swamp.

The story takes place in a whole host of locations, ranging from a dull, disgusting swamp, to a mysterious, fantasy castle. Now, take into account that this particular castle is guarded by a fire-breathing dragon, and surrounded by a moat of roaring lava. While these places provide the adventurous settings, the most pivotal location is the village of Duloc. It is here that the adventure begins.

Shrek (Mike Myers) is a gigantic, stomach churning, green ogre, who lives alone, but likes it that way. All is well in Shrek’s world until he bumps into an annoying, inconsiderate donkey, appropriately named…yes, you guessed it: Donkey (voiced by Eddie Murphy). Just as Shrek agrees to let Donkey stay with him, they have no choice, but to embark upon a mission to find and ‘persuade’ Lord Farquad (John Lithgow), to remove the fairytale creatures that he desecrated Shrek’s swamp with. Lord Farquad however, is an ignorant, smarmy little man who is not at all like he first seems to be. Shrek turns this task into a giant adventure that would risk his and Donkey’s lives. All of this effort is in order to save Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz), a damsel in distress, locked in the tallest tower of the dragon-guarded castle.

Perhaps it is the life-like interpretations of the characters which keeps the audience mesmerized throughout the film, or maybe it is the classic fairytale structure, fused with a hidden comic relief for the bigger kids, which made it a massive success everywhere it was viewed. With a wide variety of different camera angles, the accuracy of the facial expressions throughout the film, allow you to hear the screams of laughter a mile away.

Some people may say that Dreamworks’ main achievement with ‘Shrek,’ is its raw ability to amaze the viewer in every aspect that it intends to. I would personally argue that the main achievement was the way that they took the original fairytale backbone, and turned it completely on its head. In some ways, it mirrors many traditional fairytales, however lacks that feeling of predictability. An example of this would be Pixar’s ‘Toy Story.’ Don’t get me wrong, I am not denying that it is one of the best children’s films of all time, I predict from the word go that the main character, Andy, would be separated and reunited with his toy friends.

All in all, I think that Dreamworks have done themselves justice with ‘Shrek’ and if I were to criticise the film in any way, it would be that the Shrek-experience could last longer!

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