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Shrek is a 2001 American computer-animated, comedy film loosely based on the 1990 fairytale picture book of the same name by William Steig. Directed by Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson in their directorial debuts, it stars Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, and John Lithgow as the voices of the lead characters. The film parodies other films adapted from fairy tale storylines, primarily aimed at animated Disney films. In the story, Shrek (Myers) finds his swamp overrun by fairy tale creatures who have been banished by a corrupt Lord Farquaad (Lithgow) aspiring to be king. Shrek makes a deal with Farquaad to regain control of his swamp in return for rescuing Princess Fiona (Diaz), whom he intends to marry. With the help of Donkey (Murphy), Shrek embarks on his quest but soon falls in love with the princess, who is hiding a secret that will change his life forever.
The rights to Steig's book were purchased by Steven Spielberg in 1991. He originally planned to produce a traditionally-animated film based on the book, but John H. Williams convinced him to bring the film to the newly-founded DreamWorks in 1994. Jeffrey Katzenberg began active development of the film in 1995 immediately following the studio's purchase of the rights from Spielberg. Chris Farley was originally cast as the voice for the title character, recording nearly all of the required dialogue. After Farley died in 1997 before the work was finished, Mike Myers stepped in to voice the character, which was changed to a Scottish accent in the process. The film was intended to be motion-captured, but after poor results, the studio decided to hire Pacific Data Images to complete the final computer animation.
Shrek was released in the United States on May 16, 2001, and grossed $484.4 million worldwide against production budget of $60 million. It was widely acclaimed as an animated film that featured adult-oriented humor and themes, while catering to children at the same time. Shrek won the first ever Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and was also nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay. It also earned six award nominations from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), winning the BAFTA award for Best Adapted Screenplay. The film's success helped establish DreamWorks Animation as a prime competitor to Pixar in feature film computer animation, and three sequels were released—Shrek 2 (2004), Shrek the Third (2007), and Shrek Forever After (2010)—along with two holiday specials, a spin-off film, and a stage musical that kickstarted the Shrek franchise. A planned fifth film was cancelled in 2009 prior to the fourth film's release, but it has since been revived and has entered development.
Shrek, a green ogre who loves the solitude of his swamp, finds his life interrupted when countless fairytale creatures are exiled there by the fairytale-hating and vertically-challenged Lord Farquaad of Duloc. An angered 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 one, 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 to find Fiona. They are noticed by 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. Meanwhile, Shrek finds Fiona, who is appalled at his lack of romanticism and surprised he hadn't slain Dragon. They leave after rescuing Donkey, and Fiona is thrilled to be rescued but is quickly disappointed when Shrek reveals he is an ogre. Despite her demands that Farquaad come get her in person, Shrek forcibly carries her as he ventures back to Duloc with Donkey. The three encounter Robin Hood on their way back, where it is revealed that Fiona is an expert martial artist. Shrek and Fiona find they have a lot in common and begin to fall in love.
When the trio is almost at Duloc, Fiona takes shelter in a windmill for the evening. 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, and that only her true love's kiss will change her to "love's true form". Meanwhile, Shrek is about to confess his feelings to Fiona and overhears part of their conversation. He's heartbroken when he mistakes her comment about being an "ugly beast" as disgust toward him. At Donkey's suggestion, Fiona vows to tell Shrek about her curse, but dawn breaks and she turns back into a human. She finds that Shrek has brought Lord Farquaad to the windmill. Confused by Shrek's sudden disposition towards her, Fiona accepts Farquaad's marriage proposal and requests they be married before nightfall. The couple return to Duloc, while a hurt and angry Shrek abandons Donkey and returns to his now-vacated swamp.
Donkey arrives at the swamp, where Shrek reveals that he overheard Donkey and Fiona's conversation. Donkey tells Shrek that she was talking about someone else, and urges Shrek to go after Fiona before she is married. They travel to Duloc quickly by riding 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, 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's curse is lifted but she's surprised to see that she's still an ogre and not beautiful. Shrek reassures her that she is. They marry in the swamp and leave on their honeymoon.
- Mike Myers as Shrek
- Eddie Murphy as Donkey
- Cameron Diaz as Princess Fiona
- John Lithgow as Lord Farquaad
- Vincent Cassel as "Monsieur" Robin Hood
- Conrad Vernon as Gingerbread Man
- Chris Miller as Geppetto / Magic Mirror
- Cody Cameron as Pinocchio / The Three Little Pigs
- Simon J. Smith as Three Blind Mice
- Christopher Knights as Three Blind Mice and Thelonius
- Aron Warner as Big Bad Wolf
- Jim Cummings as Captain of the Guards
- Kathleen Freeman as Old Woman (Donkey's ex-owner)
- Andrew Adamson as Duloc Mascot (a man dressed in a suit that looks like Lord Farquaad)
- Bobby Block as Baby Bear from the Three Bears
- Michael Galasso as Peter Pan
- Elisa Gabrielli as additional voices
- Ian Abercrombie
- Newell Alexander
- Rosemary Alexander
- Tom Amundsen
- Steve Bulen
- Mitch Carter
- David Cowgill
- Ken Danziger
- Moosie Drier
- Iake Eissinmann
- Elisa Gabrielli
- Jean Gilpin
- Nick Guest
- Bridget Hoffman
- Richard Horvitz
- Sherry Hursey
- Rif Hutton
- Donna Lynn Leavy
- Christina McGregor
- Tony Pope
- Peter Renaday
- Claire Salstrom
- Lia Sargent
- Bridget Sienna
- Claudette Wells
- Diz White
- Lynnanne Zager
At the time DreamWorks was founded, producer John H. Williams got hold of the book from his children and when he brought it to DreamWorks, it caught Jeffrey Katzenberg's attention and the studio decided to make it into a film. Recounting the inspiration of making the film, Williams said:
- "Every development deal starts with a pitch and my pitch came from my then kindergartner, in collaboration with his pre-school brother. Upon our second reading of Shrek, the kindergartner started quoting large segments of the book pretending he could read them. Even as an adult, I thought Shrek was outrageous, irreverent, iconoclastic, gross, and just a lot of fun. He was a great movie character in search of a movie."
After buying the rights to the film, Katzenberg quickly put it in active development in November 1995. Steven Spielberg had thought about making a traditionally animated film adaption of the book before, when he bought the rights to the book in 1991 before the founding of DreamWorks, where Bill Murray would play Shrek and Steve Martin would play Donkey. In the beginning of production, co-director Andrew Adamson refused to be intimidated by Katzenberg and had an argument with him how much should the film appeal to adults. Katzenberg wanted both audiences, but he deemed some of Adamson's ideas, such as adding sexual jokes and Guns N' Roses music to the soundtrack, to be too outrageous. Adamson and Kelly Asbury joined in 1997 to co-direct the film. However, Asbury left a year later for work on the 2002 film Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, and was replaced with story artist Vicky Jenson. Both Adamson and Jenson decided to work on the film in half, so the crew could at least know who to go to with specific detail questions about the film's sequences; "We both ended up doing a lot of everything," Adamson said. "We're both kinda control freaks, and we both wanted to do everything."
Some early sketches of Shrek's house were done between 1996 and 1997 using Photoshop, with the sketches showing Shrek first living in a garbage dump near a human village called Wart Creek. It was also thought one time that he lived with his parents and kept rotting fish in his bedroom. Donkey was modeled after Pericles (born 1994; also known as Perry), a real miniature donkey from Barron Park in Palo Alto, California. Raman Hui, supervising animator of Shrek, stated that Fiona "wasn't based on any real person." and he did many different sketches for her. He had done over 100 sculptures of Fiona before the directors chose the final design. In early development, the art directors visited Hearst Castle, Stratford upon Avon, and Dordogne for inspiration. Art Director Douglas Rogers visited a magnolia plantation in Charleston, South Carolina for inspiration of Shrek's swamp. Planned characters not used in the film include Goldilocks and Sleeping Beauty.
Nicolas Cage was initially offered the role of Shrek but he turned it down because he did not want to look like an ogre. In 2013, Cage explained furthermore: "When you're drawn, in a way it says more about how children are going to see you than anything else, and I so care about that."
Chris Farley was initially hired to voice Shrek, and he had recorded nearly all of the dialogue for the character, but died before completing the project. A story reel featuring a sample of Farley's recorded dialogue was leaked to the public in August 2015. DreamWorks then re-cast the voice role to Mike Myers, who insisted on a complete script rewrite, to leave no traces of Farley's version of Shrek. According to Myers, he wanted to voice the character "for two reasons: I wanted the opportunity to work with Jeffrey Katzenberg; and [the book is] a great story about accepting yourself for who you are."
After Myers had completed providing the voice for the character, when the film was well into production, he asked to re-record all of his lines with a Scottish accent, similar to that his mother used when she told him bedtime stories and also used for his roles in other films, such as So I Married an Axe Murderer and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. According to the DVD commentary, he had also tried using country and Canadian accents. After hearing the alternative, Katzenberg agreed to redo scenes in the film, saying, "It was so good we took $4m worth of animation out and did it again." A point Myers disputes, saying "it didn't cost the studio ‘millions of dollars,’" as rumored. "What it meant is instead of me going in for ten sessions, I went in for twenty sessions. I got paid the same.” Because of Myers voicing the character, more ideas began to come. There were clearer story points, fresher gags and comedy bits. "I got a letter from Spielberg thanking me so much for caring about the character," Myers said. "And he said the Scottish accent had improved the movie."
Another person planned to voice a character in the film was Janeane Garofalo, who was set to star alongside Farley as Princess Fiona. However, she was fired from the project with little explanation. Years later, Garofalo stated "I was never told why [I was fired]. I assume because I sound like a man sometimes? I don't know why. Nobody told me ... But, you know, the movie didn't do anything, so who cares?"
Shrek was originally set up to be a live-action/CG animation hybrid with background plate miniature sets and the main characters composited into the scene as motion-captured computer graphics, using an ExpertVision Hires Falcon 10 camera system to capture and apply realistic human movement to the characters. A sizable crew was hired to run a test, and after a year and a half of R & D, the test was finally screened in May 1997. The results were not satisfactory, with Katzenberg stating "It looked terrible, it didn't work, it wasn't funny, and we didn't like it." The studio then turned to its production partners at Pacific Data Images (PDI), who began production with the studio in 1998 and helped Shrek get to its final, computer-animated look. At this time, Antz was still in production by the studio and Effects Supervisor Ken Bielenberg was asked by Aron Warner "to start development for Shrek." Similar to previous PDI films, PDI used its own proprietary software (like its own Fluid Animation System) for its animated movies. For some elements, however, it also took advantage of some of the powerhouse animation software in the market. This is particularly true with Maya, which PDI used for most of its dynamic cloth animation and for the hair of Fiona and Farquaad.
"We did a lot of work on character and set-up, and then kept changing the set up while we were doing the animation," Hui noted. "In Antz, we had a facial system that gave us all the facial muscles under the skin. In Shrek, we applied that to whole body. So, if you pay attention to Shrek when he talks, you see that when he opens his jaw, he forms a double chin, because we have the fat and the muscles underneath. That kind of detail took us a long time to get right." One of the most difficult parts of creating the film was making Donkey's fur flow smoothly so that it didn't look like that of a Chia Pet. This fell into the hands of the surfacing animators who used flow controls within a complex shader to provide the fur with many attributes (ability to change directions, lie flat, swirl, etc.). It was then the job of the visual effects group, led by Ken Bielenberg, to make the fur react to environment conditions. Once the technology was mastered, it was able to be applied to many aspects of the Shrek movie including grass, moss, beards, eyebrows, and even threads on Shrek's tunic. Making human hair realistic was different from Donkey's fur, requiring a separate rendering system and a lot of attention from the lighting and visual effects teams.
Shrek has 31 sequences, with 1,288 shots in every sequence total. Aron Warner said that the creators "envisioned a magical environment that you could immerse yourself into." Shrek includes 36 separate in-film locations to make the world of the film, which DreamWorks claimed was more than any previous computer-animated feature before. In-film locations were finalized and as demonstrated by past DreamWorks animated movies, color and mood was of the utmost importance.
Shrek is the third DreamWorks animated film (and the only film in the Shrek series) to have Harry Gregson-Williams team up with John Powell to compose the score (after Antz (1998) and Chicken Run (2000)). John Powell was left out to compose scores for later Shrek films with Williams due to a conflict. The score was recorded at Abbey Road Studios by Nick Wollage and Slamm Andrews, with the latter mixing it at Media Ventures and Patricia Sullivan-Fourstar handling mastering.
Shrek introduced a new element to give the film a unique feel. The film used pop music and other Oldies to make the story more forward. Covers of songs like "On the Road Again" and "Try a Little Tenderness" were integrated in the film's score. As the film was about to be completed, Katzenberg suggested to the filmmakers to redo the film's ending to "go out with a big laugh"; Instead of ending film with just a storybook closing over Shrek and Fiona as they ride off into the sunset, they decided to add a song "I'm a Believer" covered by Smash Mouth and show all the fairytale creatures in the film.
Although Rufus Wainwright's version of the song "Hallelujah" appeared in the soundtrack album, it was John Cale's version that appeared in the film; in a radio interview, Rufus Wainwright suggested that his version of "Hallelujah" did not appear in the film due to the "glass ceiling" he was hitting because of his sexuality. An alternative explanation is that, although the filmmakers wanted Cale's version for the film, licensing issues prevented its use in the soundtrack album, because Wainwright was an artist for DreamWorks but Cale was not.
In 2000, IMAX released CyberWorld onto its branded large-screen theaters. It was a compilation film that featured stereoscopic conversions of various animated shorts and sequences, including the bar sequence in Antz. DreamWorks was so impressed by the technology used for the sequence's "stereoscopic translation", that the studio and IMAX decided to plan a big-screen 3D version of Shrek. The film would have been re-released during the Christmas season of 2001, or the following summer, after its conventional 2D release. The re-release would have also included new sequences and an alternate ending. Plans for this was dropped due to "creative changes" instituted by DreamWorks and resulted in a loss of $1.18 million, down from IMAX's profit of $3.24 million.
Radio Disney was told not to allow any ads for the film to air on the station, stating, "Due to recent initiatives with The Walt Disney Company, we are being asked not to align ourselves promotionally with this new release Shrek. Stations may accept spot dollars only in individual markets." The restriction was later relaxed to allow ads for the film's soundtrack album onto the network.
On May 7, 2001, Burger King began promotions for the film, giving out a selection of nine exclusive Candy Caddies based on the Shrek characters, in Big Kids Meal and Kids Meal orders. Ice cream chain Baskin-Robbins also ran an 8-week promotion of the film, selling products such as Shrek's Hot Sludge Sundae, a combination of Oreo Cookies 'n Cream ice cream, hot fudge, crushed chocolate cookies, whipped cream and squiggly gummy worms, and Shrek Freeze Frame Cake, featuring an image of Shrek and Donkey framed by sunflowers. This was to support the film's DVD/VHS release.
The film was released by DreamWorks Home Entertainment on VHS and DVD on November 2, 2001. Both releases included Shrek in the Swamp Karaoke Dance Party, a 3-minute musical short film, that takes up right after Shrek's ending, with film's characters performing a medley of modern pop songs.
Shrek was released to video the same day that Pixar's Monsters, Inc. hit theaters. Since videos were traditionally released on Tuesdays, Disney's executives did not receive this well, saying that the move "seemed like an underhanded attempt to siphon off some of their film's steam". DreamWorks responded that it "simply shifted the release to a Friday to make it more of an event and predicted that it and other studios would do so more frequently with important films." Monsters, Inc. earned that weekend more than $62 million, breaking the record for an animated film, while Shrek's video release made more than $100 million, and eventually became the biggest selling DVD of all time with over 5.5 million sales.
A 3D version of the film was released on Blu-ray 3D by Paramount Home Entertainment on December 1, 2010, along with its sequels. The films were sold separately in 2012.
Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 88% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 201 reviews; the weighted average score is 7.8/10. The critical consensus is "While simultaneously embracing and subverting fairy tales, the irreverent Shrek also manages to tweak Disney's nose, provide a moral message to children, and offer viewers a funny, fast-paced ride." On Metacritic the film has a rating of 84% based on 34 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".
Shrek opened on around 6,000 screens across 3,587 theaters; eleven of them showed the film digitally, made possible by the THX Division of Lucasfilm. This was the first time that DreamWorks had shown one of its films digitally. The film earned $11.6 million on its first day and $42.3 million on its opening weekend, topping the box office for the weekend and averaging $11,805 from 3,587 theaters. In its second weekend, due to the Memorial Day Weekend holiday, the film gained 0.3 percent to $42.5 million and $55.2 million over the four-day weekend, resulting in an overall 30 percent gain. Despite this, the film finished in second place behind Pearl Harbor and had an average of $15,240 from expanding to 3,623 sites. In its third weekend, the film retreated 34 percent to $28.2 million for a $7,695 average from expanding to 3,661 theaters. The film closed on December 6, 2001, after grossing $267.7 million domestically, along with $216.7 million overseas, for a worldwide total of $484.4 million. Produced on a $60 million budget, the film was a huge box office smash and is the fourth highest-grossing film of 2001 behind Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, and Monsters, Inc.. The film sold an estimated 47,290,600 tickets in North America.
Shrek became the highest-grossing animated film ever to be released in Australia, passing the mark set by The Lion King in 1994. In the United Kingdom, Shrek regained the top spot at the British box office after being beaten out the previous week by Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, earning a $20.3 million since its opening in the UK.
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|Favorite Voice From an Animated Movie||Eddie Murphy||Won|
The film was entered into the 2001 Cannes Film Festival, and was the first animated film since Disney's Peter Pan (1953) to receive that honour.
Previous films and TV shows, such as Fractured Fairy Tales and The Princess Bride, have parodied the traditional fairy tale. However, Shrek itself has noticeably influenced the current generation of mainstream animated films. Particularly after Shrek 2, animated films began to incorporate more pop culture references and end-film musical numbers. Such elements can be seen in films like Robots, Chicken Little and Doogal. It also inspired a number of computer animated films which also spoofed fairy tales, or other related story genres, often including adult-oriented humor, most of which were not nearly as successful as Shrek, such as Happily N'Ever After, Igor, and Hoodwinked!
Several video game adaptations of the film have been published on various game console platforms, including Shrek (2001), Shrek: Hassle at the Castle (2002), Shrek: Extra Large (2002), Shrek: Super Party (2002) and Shrek SuperSlam (2005). Shrek was also included as a bonus unlockable character in the video game Tony Hawk's Underground 2 (2004).
In 2003, Dark Horse Comics released a Shrek three-issue mini-series comic book adaptation, written by Mark Evanier, which were collected into a trade paperback.
A musical version, based on the film, with music by Jeanine Tesori and a book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire, opened on Broadway on December 14, 2008, and closed January 3, 2010, running for a total of 441 performances. It starred Brian d'Arcy James in the title role, Sutton Foster as Princess Fiona, Christopher Sieber as Lord Farquaad, Daniel Breaker as Donkey, and John Tartaglia as Pinocchio. The Broadway production was recorded and released on DVD, Blu-ray and digital media. A North American Tour opened July 25, 2010, in Chicago. A London production opened in the West End on June 7, 2011. The musical received many Tony Award nominations and won the 2009 Tony Award for Best Costume Design. It received five Laurence Olivier Award nominations including Best New Musical.
Sequels and spin-offs
- Main article: Shrek (franchise)
Shrek has three sequels: Shrek 2 (2004), Shrek the Third (2007), and Shrek Forever After (2010). Although Shrek 2 received similar acclaim from critics, the following two movies after received some mixed reviews. They were, however, still box office hits. There were also two holiday specials entitled Shrek the Halls and Scared Shrekless, a spin-off Puss in Boots (a prequel to the Shrek series, exploring the origins of Puss in Boots, a character in the Shrek sequels), and several shorts. A fifth feature film was also planned for release, but was later cancelled in 2009, after it was decided that Shrek Forever After (originally titled Shrek Goes Fourth) was to be the last film in the series. However, in July 2016, the fifth film was announced and is set for release in 2019.
- ↑ In July 2014, the film's distribution rights were purchased by DreamWorks Animation and transferred to Universal Pictures.