Shrek is a computer-animated film adaptation of William Steig's 1990 fairy tale picture book of the same name. It was directed by New Zealander Andrew Adamson and animated by DreamWorks Animation SKG in May 2001. It was the first film to win an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, a category introduced in 2001. It was released on DVD on November 2, 2001.
The name Shrek is taken from the Yiddish word שרעק (pronounced Shreck) meaning 'fear', 'terror', or (in its closest sense) 'fright', and the German "Schreck" with the same meaning. The film features the voices of Mike Myers as a large, strong, peace-loving green ogre named Shrek, Cameron Diaz as the beautiful and feisty Princess Fiona, Eddie Murphy as a talkative donkey named Donkey, and John Lithgow as the villainous Lord Farquaad.
The voice of Shrek was originally recorded by Chris Farley. After his death, Mike Myers was brought on to replace him. After Myers had completed providing the voice for the character and the movie was well into production, he asked to be allowed to re-record all of his lines in a Scottish accent similar to the one his mother used when she told him bedtime stories. Myers had also employed this character voicing for a skit during his Saturday Night Live tenure, and also for the character Stuart MacKenzie in the motion picture So I Married an Axe Murderer.
It was critically acclaimed as an animated film worthy of adult interest, with many adult-oriented jokes and themes but a simple enough plot and humor to appeal to children. It made notable use of pop music—the soundtrack includes music by Smash Mouth, The Proclaimers, Jason Wade, The Baha Men, and Rufus Wainwright.
The film was extremely successful on release in 2001 and it helped establish DreamWorks as a prime competitor to Walt Disney Pictures in the field of feature film animation, particularly in computer animation. Furthermore, Shrek was made the mascot for the company's animation productions.
This film is third on Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies". Shrek was also ranked second in a Channel 4 poll of the 100 greatest family films, losing out on the top spot to E.T..
The story tells how the ogre Shrek is forced by Lord Farquaad to rescue Princess Fiona from an amorous dragon for Farquaad to marry. Along the way, Shrek befriends a talking Donkey, and falls in love with Fiona. The film is set in a fairytale, with funny appearances from commonly known fairytale characters.
Shrek lives a quiet and lonely life in his small swamp, until his peace is disturbed by the arrival of a host of "fairytale creatures" (like the Gingerbread man and Pinnochio), who were exiled from the nearby dominion of Duloc by its ruler, the vain (and exceedingly short) Lord Farquaad. One creature who escaped Farquaad's purge is the extremely-talkative Donkey; he and Shrek travel together to Duloc in an attempt to rid Shrek's swamp of the intruders. After defeating many of Duloc's knights in a tournament, Shrek accepts a bargain wherein Farquaad agrees to remove the creatures if Shrek rescues and brings to him Princess Fiona, a princess who is imprisoned in a castle guarded by a dragon, awaiting the knight who will rescue her. Only if Farquaad is able to marry a princess may he assume the title of King.
After many (mis)adventures in which Shrek is consistently irritated by the friendly but overly talkative Donkey, Shrek and Donkey manage to reach the dragon's castle (the dragon is a red-violet dragon with a pair of fin like ears, white spiked cheeks, and enormous folding wings). After Donkey runs out on a bridge and Dragon whips her tail out and knocks out most of the bridge, Donkey is cornered by Dragon. In an attempt to prevent himself from being eaten, Donkey sweet-talks Dragon (compliments her hygiene), causing her to fall in love with him. After listening to him say the relationship will not work between them, she carries him by the tail in her teeth (after he turns around and calls for Shrek).
Meanwhile, Shrek rescues Fiona from Dragon's keep. She complains that he's not doing it right, saying that he should charge in on a horse with a sword and banner, like a proper knight - like all the other knights who have attempted to rescue her did. "Yeah," he says sarcastically, "right before they burst into flame!" As he opens the door, he sees Dragon with Donkey. The Dragon has Donkey seated comfortably in her tail and is charming him. Just as Dragon is about to kiss Donkey, Shrek knocks him out of her coils, and she kisses Shrek on the butt instead; in a rage, she chases them through the castle. Shrek, Fiona and Donkey then escape from Dragon's lair. They make their escape and Dragon gets caught on a chain.
Shrek and Fiona initially dislike each other--Fiona is angered that her rescuer is an ogre and not the expected Prince Charming; however on the journey back they begin to like one another. Fiona reveals herself to be more than just a pretty face; when the trio is attacked by a French-accented Robin Hood (who assumes that the ogre has kidnapped Fiona), Fiona proves herself to be a martial-arts expert and single-handedly defeats the attackers. Shrek, despite his tough and non-caring exterior, starts to develop romantic feelings for Fiona.
On the way back, Donkey discovers that Fiona is under a curse which causes her to turn into an ogre every night at sunset (and then turn back again the next morning). The only way to break the curse is to receive "true love's first kiss". While Fiona laments to Donkey that she is ugly, Shrek (who having finally made up his mind to propose is bringing flowers to her) partially overhears the conversation and thinks that Fiona is calling him ugly.
The misunderstanding causes a bitter split. Shrek and Donkey go back to the Swamp while Fiona and Farquaad make wedding arrangements, with Fiona desiring to be married before that evening's sunset so that Farquaad will never see her in her ogre form. Donkey follows Shrek back to his swamp; after an argument, Donkey informs Shrek that she was not calling him a "hideous, ugly beast". Together, they travel on the back of the beautiful Dragon they previously battled (who is now Donkey's girlfriend) to Duloc and crash the wedding (though not in time to prevent the vows from being taken). Farquaad and the assembled guests laugh at the notion of the ogre marrying the lovely Fiona. At that moment, the sun sets, and Fiona reveals her curse to all assembled. Farquaad, repulsed at Fiona's ogre form, orders her carried away. A struggle ensues, and Dragon crashes through the palace windows and devours Farquaad, spitting out his crown. Donkey makes the cheeky remark, "Celebrity marriages! They never last, do they?"
Shrek and Fiona then exchange proclaimations of love, and he kisses her, but instead of this turning her back to a human being, she turns permanently into an ogre. When Fiona says that the kiss was supposed to turn her beautiful, Shrek says that she is beautiful. This ending stresses the relativity of beauty, thus lending the allegory its moral.
After the wedding, the song "I'm a Believer" is played while all the magical creatures visit.
* The castle in Duloc is an obvious parody of Disneyland, complete with a box office, turnstiles and ropes for queueing up patrons seeking admittance. It has also been suggested that the castle resembles the Hesburgh Library at the University of Notre Dame, which many of the film's animators attended. Similarly, Duloc is suggested to be a reference to the university's full name, Notre Dame du Lac.
* Building on this, du Lac is also the name of the "rule book" of sorts at the University of Notre Dame, and is criticized by many students as being overly strict and perfectionist, much like the Lord Farquaad's kingdom.
* On their way back to Lord Farquaad's castle, Shrek, Donkey, and the Princess are met by Robin Hood (who begins emulating Michael Flatley.) Friar Tuck plays the accordion. However, when Robin Hood attempts to "rescue" Princess Fiona (and provokes the inevitable fight) the background music changes to a fast jig. However, although Friar Tuck cannot be seen to be playing the accordion any more, the background music stops immediately after he is knocked out.
* The back of Shrek's vest contains a very obvious outline of the Golden Dome of Notre Dame.
* The character Lord Farquaad was modeled after former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, who fired current DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg from Disney in 1994. That Farquaad is portrayed as being extremely short, despite Eisner being fairly tall, is supposedly because Eisner once made fun of Katzenberg being shorter than him.
* Earlier in the movie, when the fairy tale creatures invade Shrek's swamp, the Papa Bear and the Baby Bear are there, but the Mama Bear is nowhere to be seen. But after Shrek explained to Donkey why he is better alone, when cutting to Farquaad's bedroom, we see what had happened to Mama Bear - she has been turned into a rug. (However, she manages to show up unharmed in the karaoke music video.)
* During the rescuing of Princess Fiona from the dragon, in the part when Fiona says where the exit is and when Shrek says, "Well, I have to save my ass," (referring to Donkey), there is a cookbook in the background about how to eat a knight.
* When entering Farquaad's room, in the back of Farquaad's bed, there are paintings of himself. The middle painting show Farquaad rising from the sea. This is a parody of the Roman mythology of the Goddess of Love, Venus, doing the exact same thing, and of the Botticelli painting The Birth of Venus.
* In one scene, Fiona kills a blue bird by singing in an extremely high-pitched tone. This scene refers to Walt Disney's movie: Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. In that, Snow White is often shown singing with a little blue bird.
* In the scene when Fiona is fighting off Robin Hood and his Merry Men, Fiona jumps in a still motion and the camera goes around her in mid-air, whilst she adjusts her hairdo. This is a reference to the movie The Matrix and the "bullet time" effect introduced in it. Fiona's fight with the Merry Men is also reminiscent of Charlie's Angels, in which Cameron Diaz stars.
* Shrek's fight with the knights in Duloc is a parody of a typical fight portrayed by World Wrestling Entertainment, in particular, the wrestling style of Hulk Hogan.
* Fiona's "transformation" after she kisses Shrek is practically identical to the Beast's transformation in Beauty and the Beast.
* In the background of the karaoke party one of the princesses can be seen doing a dance very similar to that of Elaine Benes from Seinfeld.
* Some of the fairy tale "creatures" such as Snow White bear a striking resemblance to their Disney renditions.
* During the scene where Shrek and Donkey ride the dragon to Fiona's wedding, the dragon swoops and flies through the clouds in a manner almost identical to Falcor the luckdragon from The NeverEnding Story.
* In addition to all those above the movie also had a number of fairytale characters making cameos(Red Riding Hood, the three blind mice, etc). Some had, more or less, had larger roles than others.
* When Shrek supposedly farts on the way to saving Fiona, Donkey exclaims about how he should have been warned, and about how his mouth was "open and everything". This is a possible reference to Eddie Murphy's stand up comedy show called "Delirious". He talks about the Fart game, and when you fart in a guy's face, they say "that was a good one, My mouth was open and everything."
* When Lord Farquaad chooses Princess Fiona as his bride out of his three choices "Pina Colada" begins playing, which Cameron Diaz sang in the movie "The Sweetest Thing."
At the end of the Shrek VHS and DVD, many of the characters are seen dancing and singing in a karaoke party. Here are the numbers:
* Shrek sings "Just the Way You Are" by Billy Joel
* Fiona sings "Like a Virgin" by Madonna
* Donkey sings "Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix-a-Lot while Dragon shakes her tail in the background.
* Thelonious sings "Feelings" by Morris Albert (literally singing only that one word)
* Robin Hood and His Merry Men sing "YMCA" by Village People
* The Gingerbread Man sings "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me" by Culture Club
* Lord Farquaad sings "Stayin' Alive" by the Bee Gees in Dragon's belly.
* The Big Bad Wolf and the 3 Little Pigs sing "Who Let the Dogs Out?" by Baha Men
* Everyone sings "Dance to the Music" by Sly & the Family Stone
* Shrek and Fiona sing "Happy Together" by The Turtles
Box office totals
* Budget - $60,000,000
* Marketing cost - $45,000,000
* Opening Weekend Gross (Domestic) - $42,347,760
* Total Domestic Grosses - $267,665,011
* Total Overseas Grosses - $216,744,207
* Total Worldwide Grosses - $484,409,218
* Mike Myers - Shrek
* Eddie Murphy - Donkey
* Cameron Diaz - Princess Fiona/Fiona Ogress
* John Lithgow - Lord Farquaad
* Vincent Cassel - Robin Hood
* Chris Miller - Geppetto / Magic Mirror
* Cody Cameron - Pinnochio / Three Little Pigs
* Michael Galasso - Peter Pan
* Chris Knights - Blind Mouse / Thelonious
* Simon Smith - Blind Mouse
* Conrad Vernon - Gingerbread Man
* Aron Warner - Big Bad Wolf
Songs and performers
A list of songs which were performed during the film. Songs which were included on the soundtrack album are listed in boldface.
* "All Star" - Smash Mouth (opening credits)
* "Meditation" - Antonio Carlos Jobim
* "On the Road Again" - Eddie Murphy
* "Welcome to Duloc"
* "Friends" - Eddie Murphy
* "Bad Reputation" - Joan Jett; performed on the soundtrack by Halfcocked
* "Whipped Cream" - Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass
* "I'm On My Way" - The Proclaimers
* "Escape" (Piña Colada Song) - Rupert Holmes
* "Merry Men"
* "My Beloved Monster" - Eels
* "Stay Home" - Self
* "You Belong to Me" - Jason Wade
* "Best Years of our Lives" - Baha Men
* "Hallelujah" -John Cale; performed on the soundtrack by Rufus Wainwright
* "Try a Little Tenderness" - Eddie Murphy
* "I'm a Believer" - Eddie Murphy
* "Like Wow!" - Leslie Carter (end credits)
* "I'm a Believer" - Smash Mouth (end credits)
* "It is You (I Have Loved)" - Dana Glover (end credits)
* Shrek 4-D-A 4-D 15 minute feature about Shrek and Fiona encountering Farquaad's ghost on their honeymoon. This was once only viewanble in Univarsal Studios theme parks and had an opening show where the setup is you are a prisoner captured by Lord Farquaad's ghost and walk into a dungeon where Pinnochio and the three pigs are captured also by Farquaad's ghost and talk to you. Farquaad hears this and flys onto a screen above you and sends you into the room with the 3D show. The seats shook during certain scenes of action and something wold jump out and hit your legs when spiders jumped at you through the screens. The show but was later released on dvd. This is still playing in Universal, however.
* Shrek 2 - Was released on May 19, 2004 and quickly overtook Disney's Finding Nemo as the highest grossing opening weekend for an animated feature. It is the third most successful movie of all time in terms of domestic US gross, behind only Titanic and the original Star Wars
* Shrek the Third - This sequel was announced on June 2, 2004 and titled on March 21, 2006. According to the studio it going to be released May 18, 2007, and members of the crew are to include the writing team of Jeffrey Price, Peter S. Seaman and Jon Zack, and the three lead voices from the previous movies: Mike Myers as Shrek, Eddie Murphy as Donkey, Cameron Diaz as Princess Fiona, while adding Justin Timberlake as a King Arthur. Shrek the Third is currently in production.
* Puss in Boots: The Story of an Ogre Killer-direct-to-video spin-off film about Puss in Boots.
* Shrek 4 - The sequel to Shrek 3 , to be released in 2009.
* The producers have referred to Shrek as being in four parts, the fourth supposedly focusing on how Shrek ended up in the swamp where we meet him in the first movie, or how Shrek and Fiona are having trouble taking care of their baby.
Shrek has noticeably influenced the current generation of animated films. Particularly after Shrek 2, animated films began to incorporate more pop culture references and end-film musical numbers. Such can be seen in films like Ice Age 2, Robots, Chicken Little, and Hoodwinked!. Dreamworks' recent films such as Shark Tale and Madagascar, similar in style to Shrek, were panned by critics.
Original story on which the film is based:
* Steig, William (1990). Shrek!, Sunburst Paperback. ISBN 0-374-46623-8
* Also several video game adaptations of Shrek have been published on various game console platforms.
* In late 2005, Shrek was released on the Game Boy Advance Video format.