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SHREK (2001)

The voices of: Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, and John Lithgow

Dreamworks takes on Disney, and if this movie is Dreamworks battle plan, than I say they have the upper hand. This is without a doubt one of the most enjoyable experiences I've had all year, this is a movie for everyone from children to adults. It is fun, it is adventurous, it is funny and heartwarming, it has everything you need in a film.

Shrek (voiced by Mike Myers), is a big, green, ugly ogre who spends his days living in his swamp and scaring away townsfolk who run in to run him out, with disappointing results on their part. When a loud, talkative donkey (Eddie Murphy) crosses path with Shrek after fleeing soldiers who are collecting (honestly), Disney characters (there is Pinocchio and the three bears among many others). Shrek is annoyed with the fast talking jack ass, but Donkey is persistent is tagging along and though Shrek isn't the most gracious host in the world, brings Donkey home (well, at least outside of his home). But just when he thought things couldn't get any worst, all the toon characters have now invaded his swamp, being banned there from the evil Lord Farquaad (John Lithgow). Irritated Shrek goes into Lord Farquaad (where Shrek observes if Lord Farguaad rules over such a big city to make up for, uh, other things), and instead of getting his swamp back right away, is given an assignment from the Lord to and rescue Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) from a castle guarded by a dragon, whose marriage to him will make him a King (Shrek gets the job after cleaning up the floor with possible rescuers). Shrek goes ahead with Donkey in tow and meet eventually meet up with the Princess, whose under a few delusions of what her rescue from the castle tower should be like (You've had a lot of time to plan this, Shrek observes as the Princess whines that her plans have not been carried out properly). Shrek explains to her that Lord Farguaad has chosen her to be his Queen (she was chosen over Cinderella and Snow White), but she is upset that A) the King didn't bother to come himself, and B) his night in shining armor looks more like a steed. But of course, on the journey back, a Beauty and the Beauty story erupts with a little twist here and there.

Now, I loved the film very much, but my main problem with it that while its theme of tolerance and how people should accept others for who they are instead of what they look like, it is constantly poking fun at the Farguaad character for being incredibly short. There are several jokes in fact where the character is being put down, and though he deserves it (come on, a character who tortures a gingerbread man?), I just felt it was somewhat hypercritical and careless on the filmmakers part.

But aside from that, I thought the movie was an energetic and fun movie, and no doubt is another stepping stone in animation (though the humans don't look as impressive as the creatures). Mike Myers does a superb job voicing Shrek, with a loud, restrained Scottish accent he gives the character just enough heart and insecurity but never overdoes it. Who does overdo it, and thankfully so, is Eddie Murphy as Donkey. The character is just fun, cracking one joke and one-liner after another, and who knew that he to would find true love in the film (with the dragon of the castle no less).

The jokes are funny, and if you're a little bit older than you can enjoy the jokes that are meant to go over the kids heads (though not patronizing them), and the jokes aimed towards little ones. I think the theme of the movie is wonderfully played out, the characters we care for and root for them. And the ending, everything is put into a nice little package, and deservedly so to. If there was any justice in the world, the screenplay would receive an Oscar nomination. But I doubt that would ever happen, but the Oscars don't make great movies. I think this is a movie for everyone, and I enjoyed myself and proud of that. It's a fun movie.

My Grade: A