Review: Shrek stays winning! I don’t think its in the pantheon of great animated movies this century (Pixar has made movies superior to this just in the last few years), but it’s pretty entertaining and funny for what it strives to be. Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy are terrific voice actors.
I’ll venture to say I originally got deeply invested in the film industry only a few years ago. Since then, I’ve had a great time going back and reevaluating a bunch of old movies that I liked as a kid for their entertainment value, but I haven’t given much time of day to interpret their worth in the arc of the industry’s recent history. I’m mostly talking about kids movies (many of them animated) that I held in high regard nearly two decades ago and want to go back and watch again.
And for kids my age (which at the time of writing this is 23), one of those landmark pieces of children entertainment in the early 2000s is Shrek. A tentpole DreamWorks release in 2001, Shrek looks every bit its age and now relies mostly on the remarkably unique content and world that it lives in. I caved and bought the 4k release about a week ago, and the restoration looks both glorious and severely exposes early 21st century animation when constructed through a computer program.
It looks old compared to current day computer-generated animated movies, but when reexamining it to other DreamWorks movies, I’m not sure it’s a night and day difference. The Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda movies look fine, but they aren’t the cream of the crop in an industry that’s recently been in a renaissance for visual storytelling.
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And so, like mentioned above, I wanted to see how the story held up over 20 days later – and I’m happy to report back that I was satisfied! The comedy is much more adult-oriented than I remembered. Much of it went over my head when I played this movie endlessly as a kid. Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy are even better than I remembered, too, now that I have some history with both of them in stuff outside of this universe. I think I’m planning to revisit the others sometime soon, but this was always my favorite of the series and I’d be surprised if that changes.
And perhaps the original Shrek is my favorite of the series because it spends most of the time building a really fun and engaging world to be in. The different pieces of childhood fairy tales that it picks from are always engaging and new. The jokes land at a surprisingly high rate. The story and design is about what I remembered, but the little details now grow in my estimation as I begin to understand them as a viewer who wants more out of my movies.
So Shrek stays winning! I don’t think its in the pantheon of great animated movies this century (Pixar has made movies superior to this just in the last few years), but it’s pretty entertaining and funny for what it strives to be. The movie also has a quick 90 minute runtime, which I’m never opposed to. DreamWorks hasn’t made many bona fide smash hits in their studio’s history, but it every movie since Shrek has been built on this film’s success. There’s apparently a fifth Shrek movie coming out, which means I’m sure I’ll return to this again in the near future for the harmless fun.
Watch Shrek on Peacock and VOD
Shrek Cast and Credits
Mike Myers as Shrek
Eddie Murphy as Donkey
Cameron Diaz as Princess Fiona
John Lithgow as Lord Farquaad
Vincent Cassel as Monsieur Hood
Editor: Sim Evan-Jones