Most of the 89 minutes of the computer animated SHREK are a delightful
lampoon of fairy tales. The trouble is, SHREK ends up following the same
sanitized formula at which it had been thumbing its nose.
DreamWorks SKG has translated William Steig's children's book into a slick
story to hold the attention of today's audiences. It's really a clichéd
tale, when you think about it – an outsider in the form of the big green
ogre Shrek( voiced by Mike Meyers, with a Scottish, who wants his privacy
back when all kinds of storybook characters, evicted from their abodes, show
up in Shrek's part of the forest; Shrek takes a sidekick (the Donkey is
voiced by Eddie Murphy, by far the best voice actor in the movie) and
commences a quest to find Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz).
Sound familiar? Needless to say, you can see the ending from across the
forest, even through all of the trees.
There are lots of good things SHREK has going for it, though. Worthy
satires have creative villains, and John Lithgow pulls the bad guy off
wonderfully here – Lord Farquaad is a little stump of a man with a pompous
voice – he even has fake legs into which he inserts his own short ones when
he rides his horse. And something grand happens to him at the end, as well.
There's a moment of absolute sick hilarity, when Fiona has a seemingly sweet
whistling duel with a smiling birdie. When it tries a pitch as high as
Fiona's, the camera pans away and we sense the bird has exploded! What
happens to the three eggs in its nest? Fiona fries them and serves them to
Shrek and Donkey! SHREK is at its best when it tries to emulate the spirit
created by POLITICALLY INCORRECT BEDTIME STORIES.
Directors Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson pace the story well enough, and
use the animation for all kinds of delightful effects. I would recommend
seeing SHREK if you ever were a fan of Mother Goose, The Brothers Grimm;
alas, if you are a fan of Disney films, you will not be disappointed at the
end, but you will have to sit through some archly funny moments.
Copyright © 2001 Mark OHara