|Submitted by Zane W. Olesen |
(Dec 12, 2002)
With a name like “Shrek” it has to be good, or does it? A hugely anticipated CG animated production featuring the voices of Mike Myers, John Lithgow, Cameron Diaz and Eddie Murphy could have been called Star Shrek.
We are in an age of animation where the quality of the animation has been keeping pace with that of the computer technology. For a while, we the audience, could be cajoled by the impressive CG animation and be a little forgiving if the story or plot were on the thin side.
There have been some landmark-animated features, such as “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Lion King,” “Toy Story,” and “Toy Story 2,” which in addition to having impressive animation, managed to have a nice compelling story as well as some memorable songs.
In “Shrek” we are treated to the most comprehensive CG animation yet to hit the big screen. To be completely honest with you, the only thing going for “Shrek,” besides the CG animation, is the hilarious, rich textured voice of Eddie Murphy. Eddie Murphy, by far the most unrecognized comedic genius in Hollywood, is one of the great highlights of “Shrek.”
There had been such a media bally-hoo over DreamWorks spending an additional 4.5 million dollars so Mike Myers could re-dub the green ogre, Shrek, with his famous, Scottish, “Fat Bastard” accent. I’m not sure why, but Myers’ Scottish accent sounded flat, and the character felt lackluster. Basically, the accent just didn’t translate over to an animated character very effectively. In addition, it sounded as if in a scene or two, Myers may have fallen out of accent.
There was great potential for an awesome story as references and cameos from an assortment of other fairy tale characters made teasing appearances. Unfortunately, they were just window dressing to an empty shop.
The story of “Shrek” is reminiscent of the moral “ beauty on the inside,” as in “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” Shrek is a big green ogre who lives alone in a swamp. He is resigned to living alone, because he is used to everyone being frightened by his appearance.
Then along comes a talking Donkey imaginatively called Donkey. Donkey isn’t frightened by Shrek. Donkey likes Shrek. Awe shucks. Any way Eddie Murphy does the voice for Donkey.
Not far away is the kingdom of Duloc, its ruler, Lord Farquaad, John Lithgow, has ordered the arrest of all fairy tale creatures. Donkey escapes capture and is befriended by Shrek.
Shrek, along with Donkey, returns to find his swamp infested with fairy tale refugees. In order have back his self-imposed isolation, he and Donkey venture to Duloc to chat with Lord Farquaad.
Lord Farquaad has determined, after conferring with a magic mirror, that he must marry in order to claim kingship. Lord Farquaad chooses a princess held captive in a castle guarded by a dragon.
A tournament is held to pick the lucky knight, who gets to rescue the princess on behalf of Lord Farquaad. Well, Shrek and Donkey show up just as the tournament is to get underway; you could probably see this coming a mile away. Shrek whoops up on all the knights and strikes a deal with prince Farquaad to rescue the princess in exchange for clearing his swamp of the unwanted fairy tale folk.
And so a quest is launched. A quest that is as predictable, as it is mediocre.
The princess, well hmm? I couldn’t think of anything other than, wow what a hot looking, animated babe. They really went to meticulous detail to create a visually alluring princess, but unfortunately, they left out an interesting character.
There were a couple of songs in “Shrek,” which were so forgettable in both melody and verse, that I was thinking, why did they waste their time.
I know I have ranted and raved about the quality of CG animation, however there was a very small weakness in parts. That was the depth perception when the characters interacted. They appeared to be not exactly lined up at times when they talked, it seemed as if one character was talking to the back of another. I noticed this a couple of times. Of course I’m not an expert, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
One important point is this will definitely please the kids. It is so visually pleasing it will keep their interest even if the story won’t keep yours.