Directed by Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson.
Written by Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Joe Stillman and Roger S.H.
Starring the voices of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and
Release Year: 2001
Review Date: 5/24/01
I must admit, my hopes were high for "Shrek"
coming in, from both my own excitement over the film plus the number
of rave reviews I got from friends, family, and my boss, Howard
"E-Family" Lax. So, I hit the multiplex tonight between activities
to check it out.
And, I now must admit, I am kinda let down.
Not because the film isn't good--there are many instances where I
thought the film was interesting--but, because it wasn't great.
Mike Myers voices the Shrek character, an
ogre that lives on his own in a province that I think is called
Duloc (or, maybe that is just the name of one of the castles). Life
is decent for the big, ugly green guy until a donkey--named, Donkey
(voice of Eddie Murphy)--shows up and makes life difficult. In
Shrek's fairytale world, classic fairy tale characters like The
Three Blind Mice, Snow White and the three bears from Goldilocks
(amongst others) are trying to hide out on Shrek's suburban ranch
property, so to get all of them out of his life, he takes up the
evil Prince Farquaad (John Lithgow) on a quest. The Prince's
quest: save a princess (Cameron Diaz) from the clutches of an evil
dragon so that he can wed her and become a King.
The premise and the first half-hour of the
film is very well done, very funny, and the computer animation for
the movie is really amazing, even if it is not something you haven't
seen before. But, for whatever reason, the filmmakers decided it
would be more interesting to have Shrek save the princess--without
ANY difficulty--halfway through the movie, leaving the rest of it
for Shrek and the princess to fall in love (the obvious) while
trekking back to Duloc.
And, it was during this period--more so
after the hilarious Robin Hood sequence, which once again ripped
off...you guessed it..."The Matrix"—that I wanted to fall asleep.
There were some of those tumbleweed-esque points in my theater where
jokes were being told by Shrek and Donkey and *no one* in my theater
was laughing. The princess falls in love with Shrek so fast that it
leaves no time for the uncomfortable Joe-meets-Jane phase of the
beginning of any onscreen relationship...in my mind, the part that
leads to the most laughs or tension.
The movie picks up again by the end, and the
end sequence--with Donkey belting out tunes with the Seven
Dwarfs--is laugh-out-loud funny. But, for the most part, the film
is never more than just amusing. And, did Lithgow's Farquaad not
seem evil enough to you? Besides picking on The Gingerbread Man, he
doesn't do anything that makes me want to hate him. This is fairly
important, since he is...the bad guy.
Even though the film clearly has kids and
the summer movie audience in mind, a *little* thinking would have
been nice in developing this relationship between Shrek and the
princess...especially since the movie is only 80 minutes long.
Strangely, the film does a very good job of poking fun at Disneyland
(the desired outcome of the filmmakers, many of whom broke off from
Disney to work at rival Dreamworks), but not too well at developing
a story. It was this frustration that got to me most: the movie is
brilliant sometimes--how great were the cue cards being shown at the
Coliseum??—and then sometimes, it just resorts to Shrek farting or
burping, making it look intellectually non-existent in many other
spots. And this was even with my brain turned off because I was
expecting a kids movie.
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard