Shrek William Steig''s delightfully fractured fairy tale is the right stuff for this computer-animated adaptation full of verve and wit. Our title character (voiced by Mike Myers) is an agreeable enough ogre who wants to live his days in peace. When the diminutive Lord Farquaad (John Lithgow) evicts local fairy-tale creatures (including the now-famous Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, and the Gingerbread Man), they settle in the ogre''s swamp and Shrek wants answers from Farquaad. A quest of sorts starts for Shrek and his new pal, a talking donkey (Eddie Murphy), where battles have to be won and a princess (Cameron Diaz) must be rescued from a dragon lair in a thrilling action sequence. The story is stronger than most animated fare, but it''s the humor that makes Shrek a winner. The PG rating is stretched when Murphy and Myers hit their strides. The mild potty humor is fun enough for 10-year-olds but will never embarrass their parents. Shrek is never as warm and inspired as the Toy Story films, but the realistic computer animation and a rollicking soundtrack keep the entertainment in fine form. Produced by DreamWorks, the film also takes several delicious stabs at its crosstown rival, Disney. --Doug Thomas
Shrek 2 The lovably ugly green ogre returns with his green bride and furry, hooved friend in Shrek 2. The newlywed Shrek and Princess Fiona are invited to Fiona''s former kingdom, Far Far Away, to have the marriage blessed by Fiona''s parents--which Shrek thinks is a bad, bad idea, and he''s proved right: The parents are horrified by their daughter''s transformation into an ogress, a fairy godmother wants her son Prince Charming to win Fiona, and a feline assassin is hired to get Shrek out of the way. The computer animation is more detailed than ever, but it''s the acting that make the comedy work--in addition to the return of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, and Cameron Diaz, Shrek 2 features the flexible voices of Julie Andrews (Mary Poppins), John Cleese (Monty Python''s Flying Circus), Antonio Banderas (Desperado), and Jennifer Saunders (Absolutely Fabulous) as the gleefully wicked fairy godmother. --Bret Fetzer
Shrek the Third It''s not easy being an ogre, but Shrek finds it doubly difficult for an ogre like himself to fill in for a king when his father-in-law King Harold of Far, Far Away falls ill in this third Shrek movie. Shrek''s attempts to fulfill his kingly duties play like a blooper reel, with boat christenings and knighting ceremonies gone terribly wrong, and to say that Shrek (Mike Myers) is insecure about his new role is a gross understatement. When King Harold (John Cleese) passes away, Shrek sets out with Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and Puss-in-Boots (Antonio Banderas) to find Arthur (Justin Timberlake), the only heir in line for the throne besides himself. Just as Shrek sets sail to find Artie (as Arthur is more commonly known), Fiona (Cameron Diaz) shocks Shrek with the news that she''s pregnant. Soon after, Prince Charming (Rupert Everett) sends Captain Hook (Ian McShane) in pursuit of Shrek and imprisons Fiona and her fellow Princesses as part of his plan to install himself as King of Far, Far Away. Shrek finds an awkward Artie jousting with his high school classmate Lancelot (John Krasinski) and, while Artie is certainly no picture of kingliness, Shrek is determined to drag him back to Far, Far Away to assume the throne. Mishaps and comedy abound, including a spell gone wrong that locks Donkey and Puss-in-Boots inside one another''s bodies. While Fiona and the other Princesses prove they''re anything but helpless women, Artie and Shrek battle their own fears of inadequacy in a struggle to discover their own self-worth. In the end, Shrek, Artie, and Fiona each learn a lot about their individual strengths and what truly makes each of them happy. Of course, it''s the pervasive humor and wit that make Shrek the Third so side-splittingly appealing. Rated PG for some crude and suggestive humor, but appropriate for most families with children ages 6 and older. --Tami Horiuchi
Shrek Forever After Shrek Forever After delivers laughs, life lessons, and a striking picture of the realities of parenthood in this surprisingly good, fourth Shrek film. Like the original film, this fractured fairytale works because of the humor--it pokes fun at the whole fairytale genre on a multitude of intellectual levels while simultaneously offering visual humor that''s appealing to all ages. After a frantic flip through a tongue-in-cheek fairytale book of the first three Shrek films, the scene opens on a beaming Shrek and Fiona as they awaken to a chorus of their noisy children standing at the foot of the bed, and it follows them through a typically hectic day of feeding, diapering, and caring for their children until they collapse into a satisfied heap at the end of the day. One of the funniest bits in the film, at least for adults, is how this scene repeats, faster and faster and in smaller and smaller excerpts, until Shrek''s look of bliss slowly turns into a pained, midlife-crisis expression that screams "Help me, I''m trapped in this domestic purgatory and there''s no escape in sight." As in any good fairytale, the protagonist''s chance for escape comes in the form of a deal with the devil, in this case Rumpelstiltskin. Following in the footsteps of the classic film It''s a Wonderful Life, Shrek is granted the opportunity to spend a day in an alternate reality in which he is the independent, terrifying ogre he once was. Of course, the deal carries some very serious, unintended consequences, and Shrek''s day of freedom may just cost him Fiona, the children, and even his very existence. Mike Meyers and Cameron Diaz are once again stellar as the voices of Shrek and Fiona; Antonio Banderas is still all swagger despite Puss-in-Boots'' now-portly figure and thoroughly domesticated ways; Eddie Murphy remains just as hilarious as in the first film as Donkey, who in this story doesn''t recognize Shrek and can''t fathom the possibility of a donkey and an ogre becoming friends; and Walt Dohrn is an extremely effective newcomer as the voice of Rumpelstiltskin. Other key players are the Pied Piper, with his new, tricked-out flute; a mob of broom-riding, jack-o''-lantern-throwing witches; an overgrown white goose; and a whole resistance movement of ogres under the command of a most unexpected leader. The battles are fierce and the lesson powerful: learn to appreciate what you''ve got. While 3-D digital is always nice, most viewers will completely forget that the film is in 3-D after the initial scene, and it will view just as well in the traditional format. (Rated PG, but appropriate for most ages 6 and older) --Tami Horiuchi
For the first time ever, you can finally own THE WHOLE STORY on DVD. It’s the ultimate holiday gift!
Remastered for the most brilliant viewing experience, SHREK: THE WHOLE STORY is a must-own collection. Relive every moment of Shrek’s incredible journey from the hilarious Academy Award®-winning beginning to the magical and heartwarming Final Chapter. All five discs feature hours of all-new extras and the brand new, limited-edition DONKEY’S CHRISTMAS SHREKTACULAR.
A hilarious holiday program that is a perfect holiday treat for the whole family, DONKEY’S CHRISTMAS SHREKTACULAR will be available for a limited time only and features all your favorite characters as they perform classic holiday songs with Shrek-ized lyrics, as well as “Shrek’s Yule Log,” featuring over 25 uproarious character appearances in front of a crackling virtual fireplace.
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