The greatest fairy
tale never told.
It was about 30 minutes into the film when I began to wonder if this
film was going to show any signs of life whatsoever. I'm thinking you go
30 minutes into a film and you haven't seen any sign of interest except
the cool animation work, and you have a minus 4 points right there.
Fortunately the film does pick up considerably and becomes fairly
entertaining. One of the big issues with this film is the dialogue of
Eddie Murphy. He rambles, and rambles, and rambles... and doesn't say a
funny thing for maybe 10 to 20 minutes at a time. I saw an interview with
Murphy about this film and he comments that this is much more of a
collaborative work than he has done in the past. If this is so, then I
think they should have let Murphy run with the ball and make his own lines
because they couldn't have been as bad as the ones in this movie. Another
thing that I thought interesting was all the jabs that they made at Disney
and they end up making the exact same type of film in the end. The bad guy
goes away and the good guy gets the girl. That's REAL different than what
Disney does. NOT.
All that aside the film does show that it has a heart and you begin to
care a little for Shrek and his plight as an ogre. Also Mike Myers does a
fine job as Shrek. So overall it wasn't a horrible affair. I am also a
sucker for anything animated so I enjoyed watching the whole spectacle of
the computer animation, and the animation is very good. Good enough
to distract me from some of Donkey's (Eddie Murphy) really stupid jabber.
If your not a big fan of animation I'd steer clear of this one.
Shrek doesn't attempt originality. It's Beauty and the Beast (or
Beast and the Beast if you prefer). The strongest thing about Shrek is
Shrek himself. Mike Myers is perfect for the voice of our anti-heroic
ogre. His voice is able to register anger (important for an ogre),
sarcasm and wistfulness. The screenplay is wise to gradually increase
the complexity of Shrek's character and, ultimately, emphasize his
So far, so good. Unfortunately, the movie consistently failed to make me
laugh. Fart jokes? Give me a break. We've had enough of that in the last
year to construct a television series called America's Greatest
Flatulence (hosted by Bob Saget).
Also, as Shrek's sidekick, The Donkey (Eddie Murphy) has all the lines
and none of the good ones. I'm sure Mr. Murphy will never read this
column, so I'm not blowing smoke up his ass (no pun intended) when I say
he's a brilliant actor and comedian. His work in the Nutty Professor
movies (even though they ultimately fail) is extraordinary. If I had to
pick between stand-up comedy tickets to a Mike Myer's concert and an
Eddie Murphy' concert, I would probably pick Murphy. In Shrek, The
Donkey is sort of a retread of his work in Disney's Mulan. The running
gag is that The Donkey never shuts up. He probably tells 75 jokes and I
laughed at maybe two.
The rest of the gifted cast reads their lines and make it through the
movie unscathed. As the princess, Cameron Diaz is more than competent.
The villain (John Lithgow) doesn't register the gleeful over-the-top
performances he is known for. If ever there was a time for an
over-the-top performance, one would think voicing an animated villain
would be the time.
Some people might be interested in the slew of inside movie jokes. Shrek
tackles everything from Disney films to The Matrix to West Side Story.
But, as my colleague Darth Buzz said, Shrek makes fun of Disney and then
covers the same Mickey Mouse material.