Released in 2001, Shrek is one of those great films that are well worth watching again no matter what age you happen to be! Not only was Shrek a commercial success, it was critically acclaimed too.
If you haven’t seen it or haven’t seen Shrek in a while, now is a great time to grab some popcorn and put on everybody’s favorite big green ogre!
1. Mike Myers
Mike Myers seems so inarguably perfect for the role of Shrek that it seems unbelievable that he wasn’t considered first for this role. Originally Chris Farley was cast as Shrek and even recorded more than eighty percent of the voice for the part. His untimely death, however, prevented him from completing the role.
The film’s makers tapped Myers to take on the role. Using his Scottish accent, Myers completely revamped the part in his own style. According to reports, Myers also recommended plenty of script changes once he took on the role and got involved with the project. The rest, as they say, is movie history.
2. Academy Award Winning Movie
Shrek garnered great critical acclaim the year it was released. It won the first Academy Award for Best Animated Feature which was a brand new category introduced at the 74th Academy Awards. Shrek was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture: Musical or Comedy and six BAFTA awards.
Shrek also established DreamWorks as a viable competitor of Pixar, which had been garnering award after award for its animation. Shrek beat Pixar’s Monsters, Inc. for the coveted Oscar.
Shrek is also regularly featured on best animated film lists for its incredible artistry and original plot – a unique parody on fairytales of old.
3. Eddie Murphy
Eddie Murphy shines in his voice role as the donkey, Shrek’s pet. Overtly talkative, the donkey is one of the key roles of the film along with Shrek and Princess Fiona, played by Cameron Diaz.
Murphy’s performance helped cement the donkey as a break-out character. He received great acclaim for bringing this creature to life on screen.
Murphy is no stranger to comedy, of course, and, like Myers, was a notable star of Saturday Night Live. Shrek was a big hit for Murphy and it certainly revived the star’s film career in a big way.
The donkey is also a pivotal member of the cast and helps lead the film to its satisfying conclusion.
4. A Fairy Tale Parody
What makes Shrek so fun is that it features some traditional roles like king, queen and princess, but it also features new ones like Shrek and his companion donkey.
The film capitalizes on the fairy tale genre by including well-known characters from beloved fairy tales such as Peter Pan, The Three Bears and The Gingerbread Man. Each of these inclusions is expertly woven into the plot to help create this exciting parody.
Setting the fairy tale genre on its head is just one of the many strong elements of this film that elicits laughs from kids and adults alike.
5. It’s Good to Be Green
While so many traditional fairy tales have spouted the message that goodness equates to beauty, Shrek turns that notion on its head by presenting the ogres as the genuine beauties of the film. In fact, inner beauty is actually a green ogre in Shrek.
Princess Fiona has an ugly secret – she’s got an ogre side. Yet the beautiful princess finds that Shrek is one handsome ogre and she learns the value of true love – which must, of course, go deeper than the skin.
The message is a great one for young viewers who identify that goodness can come of traditionally ‘ugly’ characters while many of the more attractive characters have many terrible vices.
6. Super Soundtrack
Music is important to the overall feeling and atmosphere of Shrek. In fact, though it didn’t win, its soundtrack was even nominated for a Grammy.
The movie relies on pop music as well as oldies. One of the biggest songs of the film is the Neil Diamond-written tune “I’m a Believer” performed by the band Smash Mouth.
The soundtrack reached the 28th spot on the Billboard 200. The addition of pop music was a novel touch that helped bolster the movie’s unique charm.
7. Box Office Smash
In 2001, the film opened in more than 3,500 theatres. The film had a $60 million budget, so it certainly made a profit for its investors!
Its success is ranked just behind films like Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. With so many excited fans, Shrek has entertained film audiences around the world.
8. Cameron Diaz
Diaz plays a perfect ogress; in fact, in the film she transforms into an ogress each night at sunset. Fiona seems destined to choose the unworthy Lord Farquaad who pursues perfect, but she winds up falling for Shrek, a humble ogre of the swamp.
Diaz makes for an extraordinary princess. Princess Fiona is a main feature of the plot and she’s just one reason why fans can watch her over and over again.
9. John Lithgow
Farquaar thinks Princess Fiona would make a perfect wife, but he hasn’t seen her after sunset! Of course, Fiona must be rescued from her tower and, unfortunately, he can’t be troubled to do that! The vain Farquaar assigns Shrek and his donkey to perform the rescue.
Lithgow adds another element of excellence to the film. His portrayal makes a worthy counterpoint to Myer’s comic brilliance!
10. Incredible Computer Animation
Yet the created world of Shrek is also completely magical. The animation team created a look that actually complemented the unique tale itself.
It’s not surprising why the movie won the Academy Award for Animation. The filmmakers were highly influential and the animation set a new standard for the industry.
Be sure to take note of each setting and see how the animation completely adds its own dimension to the film.
11. Fun for Kids, Fun for Adults
Few films manage to pull this off, but Shrek is certainly one of them.
The interplay between Shrek and Fiona is classic and Shrek makes for one underdog of a hero. This unlikely couple will win the hearts of any grown-up who chooses to watch. Needless to say, children love Shrek for his goodness and humorous appeal.
12. There’s a Dragon!
The fact that the female dragon falls for Murphy’s donkey is simply apropos given all the zany fun that accompanies all the twists and turns of Shrek.
Most satisfying of all is that Lord Farquaar is vanquished by the dragon after it’s whistled for by Shrek.
13. Happily Ever After
The ending was so happy, of course, that it couldn’t be contained; it had to spill over into sequels!
Fans of Shrek who want more Shrek have a few fun sequels in store. After a few viewings of the original, make time for the sequels which are also exciting and utterly original.