Shrek is a 2001 DreamWorks fairy tale film directed by Andrew Adamson and based on the 1990 picture book Shrek! by William Steig. It's considered to be a turn-around for DreamWorks Animation. It was the first animated film to win an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.
Shrek, a green ogre who loves the solitude in his swamp, finds his life interrupted when countless fairytale characters are exiled there by the fairytale-hating Lord Farquaad of Duloc. Angry, Shrek decides to ask Farquaad to exile them elsewhere. He brings along a talking Donkey, who is the only fairytale creature willing to guide him to Duloc.
Meanwhile, Farquaad tortures the Gingerbread Man for the location of the remaining fairytale creatures. His guards rush in with something he has been searching for: the Magic Mirror. He asks The Mirror if his kingdom is the fairest of them all but is told that he is not even a king. To be a king he must marry a princess, so Farquaad resolves to marry Princess Fiona, who is locked in a castle tower guarded by a dragon. He organizes a tournament wherein the winner gets the "privilege" of rescuing Fiona for him. Shrek and Donkey arrive during the tournament, and ignorantly defeat Farquaad's knights. Farquaad proclaims them the champions, and compels them under threat of death to rescue Fiona, promising to move the fairytale creatures from Shrek's swamp if he succeeds.
Shrek and Donkey travel to the castle and split up to find Fiona. They are noticed by the dragon, who corners Donkey. In desperation he sweet-talks the beast, learning that it is female. Dragon falls in love with Donkey and carries him to her chambers. Shrek finds Fiona, who is appalled at his lack of romanticism and surprised he hadn't slain Dragon. As they leave, Shrek saves Donkey from Dragon, who is heartbroken as a result. At first, Fiona is thrilled to be rescued but is quickly disappointed when Shrek reveals he is an ogre. She demands that Farquaad come to get her himself, but Shrek forcibly carries her with him. The three have several adventures on their way to Duloc, such as an encounter with Robin Hood wherein Fiona reveals that she is an expert martial artist. Shrek and Fiona find they have a lot in common and fall in love. However, Fiona persistently insists on sleeping alone at night.
One night, when the trio is almost at Duloc, Fiona shelters in a windmill. Donkey hears strange noises from within and investigates, finding Fiona transformed into an ogre. She explains that she was cursed during childhood to transform every night, which is why she was locked away, and that only her true love's kiss will return her to her "love's true form". Meanwhile Shrek, about to confess his feelings for Fiona, partly overhears them, and is heartbroken as he mistakes her disgust with her transformation to an "ugly beast" as disgust with him. At Donkey's suggestion, Fiona vows to tell Shrek about her curse, but dawn breaks before she can, and she turns back into a human. She finds that Shrek has brought Lord Farquaad to the windmill during the night. Fiona accepts Farquaad's proposal, requesting that they be married before night falls. The couple return to Duloc, while a hurt and angry Shrek abandons Donkey and returns to his now-vacated swamp.
Furious at Shrek, Donkey goes to the swamp where Shrek says he overheard Donkey and Fiona's conversation. Donkey tells Shrek that she was talking about someone else, and urges Shrek to talk to Fiona before she is married. They travel to Duloc quickly, thanks to Dragon, who had escaped her confines and followed Donkey.
Shrek interrupts the wedding before Farquaad can kiss Fiona. He tells her that Farquaad is not her true love and is only marrying her to become king. The sun sets, which turns Fiona into an ogre in front of everyone in the church, causing a surprised Shrek to fully understand what he overheard. Outraged, Farquaad orders Shrek executed and Fiona detained. Dragon bursts in alongside Donkey and devours Farquaad. Shrek and Fiona profess their love and share a kiss; Fiona is bathed in light as her curse is broken but is surprised that she is still an ogre, as she thought she would become beautiful, to which Shrek replies that she is still beautiful. They marry in the swamp and leave on their honeymoon while Donkey and the fairytale creatures celebrate by singing "I'm a Believer".
Why It Rocks
- Catchy songs, especially All Star.
- Great animation, even for 2001.
- Great story with pop culture references that actually have to do with the movie's plot, something that most films don't do nowadays.
- Complex character designs.
- Excellent voice acting that uses the cast's talents very well.
- Positive portrayal of antagonists.
- Great characters.
- Shrek's performance by Mike Myers, as well as Eddie Murphy as Donkey.
- The movie spawned a mass amount of internet memes over the years.
- It spawned a successful franchise.
- Multiple jokes that are really funny.
- Excellent messages about accepting others for who they are, and loving yourself no matter what you look like.
- Since Shrek was supposedly made to be revenge from Dreamworks towards Disney, there are Disney references througout the film that make fun of Disney’s traditional tales and they work really well. In fact, the whole movie was made to mock Disney.
- Certain moments are a bit too suggestive for a family film (albeit being entertaining), most notably when Shrek and Donkey arrive at Farquaad's castle and look at how large it is, before they ask each other "Do you think he's compensating for something?" while they both laugh. Farquaad's name also sounds like a swear word if you say it fast enough.
- The meme community it spawned can be somewhat obnoxious, and a portion of it seems to only like the movie ironically.
- This film kinda gets rude when Shrek says "ass" and “jackass”.
- Some gross-out humor.
- Despite the film being about loving yourself for who you are despite your appearance, the characters make fun of Farquaad for being short, which sort of contradicts the message.
- The series, after Shrek 2, went downhill with two mediocre films.
- It is responsible for having a bad influence on animation, despite the good quality of the movie.