"It isn't ogre until it's ogre." -Tagline
Shrek is a 1995 American hand-drawn/stop-motion/computer-animated adventure musical fantasy romantic comedy film, loosely based on the 1990 fairy tale picture book of the same name by William Steig. Directed by Andrew Adamson in his directorial debut, Simon Wells, and Gary Trousdale.
It stars the voices of Bill Murray, Robin Williams and Cameron Diaz as the voices of the lead characters. The film parodies other fairy tale adaptations, primarily aimed at animated Disney films and animated films Paramount had produced in the past. In the story, an ogre named Shrek who finds his swamp home overrun by fairy tale creatures who have been banished there by order of the evil Lord Farquaad. In order to get his swamp back, Shrek makes a deal with Farquaad to bring him a queen in exchange for the deed for his swamp. Shrek sets out with a talking Donkey and rescues Princess Fiona. While they take Fiona to Farquaad so she can marry him, Shrek starts to fall 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 DreamWorks in 1994, the time the studio was acquired after the original founders of the company, Games Anderson and William Anderson, retired. Jeffrey Katzenberg began active development of the film in 1993 immediately following the studio's purchase of the rights from Spielberg. John Candy was originally cast as the voice for the title character, recording nearly all of the required dialogue. After Candy died in 1994 before the work was finished, Bill Murray stepped in to voice the character, which was changed to a Scottish accent in the process.
Shrek premiered at the El Capitan Theatre where it competed for the Palme d'Or, making it the first animated film since Disney's Peter Pan (1953) to receive that honor.
The film was theatrically released in the United States on August 11, 1995, and grossed $484.4 million worldwide against a production budget of $60 million and received universal acclaim from critics and was a box office success, making it the highest-grossing animated film of 1995, as well as 1995's highest-grossing film. Next to Die Hard with a Vengeance and Toy Story, Shrek was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score, Best Sound Editing and won Best Animated Feature tied with Toy Story (1995) at 1996's annual Academy Awards. It also earned six award nominations from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), ultimately winning Best Adapted Screenplay.
The film was followed by two sequels, Shrek 2: The Kingdom of Far Far Away (1999) and Shrek: Happily Ever After (2003), the latter of which was direct-to-video. Shrek was later reissued in theaters twice, on May 3, 2001, as an IMAX re-release, and December 1, 2007. After the success of the 3D re-releases of Wonder Park, Goin' Down to South Park and Plum Landing, the film was reissued in theaters in 3D in 2015.
Two ogre parents send their 18-year-old son Shrek out of their house and into the world to make his living. They warn him that because of his looks, he will be shunned by the world, and an angry mob will be the last thing he will see before he dies. Some years later, an embittered, grown up Shrek is living contentedly alone in a swamp, loving his solitude there and scaring away angry mobs who try to kill him. However, his solitude is disrupted when a refugee caravan fairytale creatures show up on his property. They explain of their banishment from the Kingdom of Duloc, by order of the evil Lord Farquaad, who sentenced them into penal transportation for being freaks, under penalty of death if they ever return.
Shrek leaves the swamp to ask Lord Farquaad for the return of his privacy. He brings along a talking Donkey, who is the only fairytale creature willing to guide him to Duloc. Meanwhile, in the Kingdom of Duloc, Farquaad tortures the Gingerbread Man into revealing the whereabouts of the remaining fairytale creatures until his guards rush in with an object Farquaad has been searching for: the Magic Mirror. The Mirror tells him that Farquaad can only become a real king by marrying a princess. The Mirror gives him three princesses to choose from including Cinderella, Snow White, and Princess Fiona. Farquaad chooses Fiona and silences the Mirror before he can mention "the little thing that happens at night".
The mirror shows a story, going back to a seven-year-old Fiona, dreaming of the brave knight who, her storybooks tell her, will one day rescue her from her tower, and end her mysterious curse with "True Love's First Kiss". As she grows into a teenager, and then a headstrong woman, she becomes a little bit stir-crazy and bi-polar, but she never loses her faith in her fairy tales.
Shrek and Donkey arrive at Lord Farquaad's palace in Duloc, where they find themselves in the midst of a tournament; the winner will have the "privilege" of attempting to rescue Fiona from a castle surrounded by lava and protected by a fire-breathing dragon so that Lord Farquaad may marry her. Shrek (with some help from Donkey) easily beats the other knights in a fashion that resembles a wrestling match and Farquaad agrees to remove the fairytale creatures from the swamp if Shrek rescues Fiona.
Shrek and Donkey travel to the castle and split up to find Fiona. Donkey encounters the dragon and sweet-talks the beast to save himself before discovering that the dragon is female. Dragon takes a liking to Donkey and carries him to her chambers. When Shrek finds Fiona, she is appalled at his lack of romanticism. As they are leaving, Shrek manages to save Donkey, caught in Dragon's tender clutches, and causing her to become irate, chasing Shrek, Fiona, and Donkey out of the castle. At first, Fiona is thrilled to be rescued but quickly becomes disappointed when she finds out that Shrek is an ogre. The three make their return journey to Farquaad's palace, with Shrek and Fiona finding they have more in common with each other along the way, and falling in love. However, at night, Fiona refuses to camp with them, taking shelter in a nearby cave until morning. Shrek and Donkey stay awake and watch the stars while Shrek informs Donkey that he plans to build a wall around his swamp when he returns. When Donkey persists as to why Shrek would do this, Shrek tells him that everyone judges him before they know him, therefore he is better off alone.
Back in Duloc, Lord Farquaad is in his bathtub planning his wedding, and he reveals his own sordid heritage after The Magic Mirror insists that Farquaad should invite his father, but Farquaad refuses, explaining how he abandoned him in the woods as a child.
The next night, Fiona takes shelter in a nearby windmill. When Donkey hears strange noises coming from the windmill, he finds Fiona has turned into an ogre. Fiona explains she was cursed as a child and turns into an ogre every night, which is why she was locked away in the castle, and that only a kiss from her true love will return her to her proper form. Shrek, about to confess his feelings for Fiona, overhears part of their conversation and is heartbroken as he misinterprets her disgust at her transformation into an "ugly beast" as being disgusted with him. Fiona makes Donkey promise not to tell Shrek about the spell, vowing to do it herself, but when the next morning comes, Shrek has brought Lord Farquaad to Fiona. The two return to the castle, while a hurt Shrek returns to the now-vacated swamp.
Shrek finds that despite his privacy, he is miserable and misses Fiona. Donkey shows up attempting to seal off his half of the swamp with stone boulders, which Shrek rebuffs. In turn, Donkey angrily berates Shrek for his reclusive and stubborn habits, even to the point of driving off Fiona. An angered Shrek reveals he heard her talking about a hideous creature the night before, and Donkey retorts that they were not talking about him, but of "someone else". When a confused Shrek inquires who it was, Donkey, wanting to keep his promise, and still cross with Shrek, refuses to talk. When Shrek apologizes and extends his friendship, Donkey forgives him.
The fairy tale creatures, now headed for a landfill which is to be their new home, decide Farquaad's treatment of them is intolerable. Just because they are freaks does not mean they deserve to be hated. Gingy, Papa Bear, and others encourage the creatures gather new confidence and strength in themselves as they declare they will raise their "Freak Flag" high against their tormentors ("Freak Flag").
Shrek and Donkey are able to travel to Duloc quickly thanks to Dragon, who had escaped her confines and followed Donkey. They interrupt the wedding before Farquaad can kiss Fiona, Fiona convinces him to let Shrek speak with her. Shrek finally finds the words to express his feelings for Fiona, and he declares his love for her However, his declaration of love is mocked by Lord Farquaad. Caught between love and her desire to break the curse, Fiona tries to escape the event, but the exiled fairy tale beings storm the wedding and protest their banishment. They are accompanied by a grumpy little dwarf, Grumpy, one of the Seven Dwarfs, who is, in fact, Farquaad's father. Farquaad claimed earlier that Grumpy abandoned him in the woods as a child, but the dwarf reveals the true reason he kicked Farquaad out: He was, in fact, 28 and wouldn't move out of his basement.
During the argument the sun sets, which causes Fiona to turn into an ogre in front of everyone. While her transformation causes Shrek to fully understand what he overheard at the windmill, Farquaad, disgusted over the change, orders Shrek to be drawn and quartered along with the Fairytale Creatures and Fiona banished back to her tower, As Farquaad proclaims himself the new King, Shrek whistles for the Dragon, who has now escaped the castle (and is the reason Shrek and Donkey got to the wedding just in time). The dragon then crashes through the window with Donkey and incinerates and devours Farquaad. Shrek and Fiona admit their love for each other and share a kiss; Fiona is bathed in light as her curse is broken, but is surprised to find that she has remained an ogre. Shrek calms her by assuring her that she is still beautiful. The two of them get married in the swamp and depart on their honeymoon while the rest celebrate by singing "I'm a Believer".
- Bill Murray as Shrek
- Robin Williams 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
- Phil Hartman as Magic Mirror
- Cody Cameron, TBA, and TBA as Pinocchio / The Three Little Pigs
- Simon J. Smith as Three Blind Mice
- Christopher Knights as Three Blind Mice / Thelonius
- Aron Warner as Big Bad Wolf / Sly DeFox
- Jim Cummings as Captain of the Guards / The Mad Hatter
- 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
- Jill Frappier as Keroppi (cameo in the Duloc Tournament)
- Nadine Rabinovitch as Ruby/TeruTeru (cameo in the Duloc Tournament)
- Elva Mai Hoover as DenDen (cameo in the Duloc Tournament)
- Tom Kenny as SpongeBob (cameo in the Duloc Tournament)
- Bill Fagerbakke as Patrick Star (cameo in the Duloc Tournament)
- Ean Manley as Kill Bosby
- Tim Curry as the narrator
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 1991. Steven Spielberg had thought about making a traditionally animated film adaptation of the book before, when he bought the rights to the book in 1991 before acquiring 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 Simon Wells joined in 1992 to co-direct the film.
Some early sketches of Shrek's house were done between 1992 and 1993 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.
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."
John Candy was initially hired to voice Shrek, and he had recorded nearly all of the dialogue for the character, but died in March 1994 before completing the project. A story reel featuring a sample of Candy's recorded dialogue was leaked to the public in August 2015.
DreamWorks and Paramount then re-cast the voice role to Bill Murray, who insisted on some parts of the script rewrite, to leave no traces of Candy's version of Shrek. According to Murray, 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."
Shrek was theatrically released on August 11, 1995 in the United States and Canada, in Australia on September 29, 1995, and in the United Kingdom on November 10, 1995. After the success of the 3D re-releases of Wonder Park and Plum Landing, Paramount re-released Shrek in 3D on March 6, 2015 for its 20th anniversary.
A montage of "outtakes" were made and included in the end credits of the film, which was done because Paramount hoped it would encourage people to view the film a second time. The film was originally scheduled for release on August 18, 1995, but on TBA 4, RVA, its release date was moved up a week to August 11, 1995.
On July 31, 1995, 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 VHS/LaserDisc release. M&M's released packages of Ogre-sized M&M's released a flavor of their chocolate candies called "TBA" (TBA) and came with a code for the Shrek video game.
Theatrical release promotions
- To promote the release of Shrek (1995) in theaters, Burger King in the US, 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.
- In the US and the UK, Hasbro and Thinkway released action figures, sets and interactive board games as toys for the film.
In June 1995, eight books related to the movie were published: Shrek: The Junior Novel, Meet Shrek, Shrek: The Original Storybook, The Revenge of Lord Farquaad, The Art of Shrek, Shrek (Look & Find), Shrek: Game Book and Shrek: Coloring & Activity Book.
A video game was released for Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega CD, Sega Game Gear, and Game Boy. The game was published by Paramount Interactive and DreamWorks Interactive and developed by Traveller's Tales and Psygnosis.
The film was released by Paramount Home Video and DreamWorks Home Video on VHS and LaserDisc on February 6, 1996. The VHS release 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. On September 5, 2000, Paramount Home Entertainment and DreamWorks Home Entertainment re-released the film on video as part of its Family Entertainment Collection. Paramount Home Entertainment and DreamWorks Home Entertainment released it on VHS again and premiered it on DVD on November 6, 2001, with Shrek in the Swamp Karaoke Dance Party included.
The film was re-released on VHS and DVD on November 15, 2001, containing all of the special features from the 2001 DVD. In honor of the film's' 10th anniversary, a 10th Anniversary Special Edition of the film was released on VHS and DVD August 9, 2005. DreamWorks launched an official anniversary website and a Dodge Grand Caravan giveaway as part of the proceedings. It was also released on Game Boy Advance Video in October 2005 and on UMD for the Sony PSP.
The film premiered on Blu-ray and HD DVD on March 20, 2007, along with the next three Shrek films, with the Blu-ray having restored picture quality and remastered sound. Shrek: 15th Anniversary Edition was released on DVD and Blu-ray on August 10, 2010. Shrek was released with the other Shrek films on Blu-ray 3D on May 3, 2011. Shrek, along with the other four Shrek films, were released in a five-film box set, Shrek: The Whole Story, by Paramount Home Entertainment on March 5, 2013.
Shrek: 20th Anniversary Edition was released on DVD and Blu-ray on August 11, 2015, on the 20th anniversary of the film. Shrek and the other Shrek films were released on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray on May 8, 2018. In honor of Shrek's 25th anniversary, a 25th anniversary edition of Shrek was released on DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray on August 11, 2020.
- Big Bright Beautiful World
- All-Star (by Smash Mouth, seen in the 2001 IMAX and 2015 3D re-releases only)
- Story of My Life
- Don't Let Me Go
- I Know It's Today
- What's Up, Duloc
- Travel Song
- Who I'd Be
- I Think I Got You Beat
- The Ballad Of Farquaad
- Make A Move
- Freak Flag
- I'm a Believer
There are many places the film references classic films.
When Tinker Bell falls on Donkey and he says "I can fly" and people around including the Three Little Pigs say "He can fly, he can fly"; this is a reference to Disney's Peter Pan. This scene is also a reference to the Disney film Dumbo, where Donkey says, while flying, "You might have seen a house fly, maybe even a super fly, but I bet you ain't never seen a Donkey fly" The scene where Fiona is singing to the blue bird is a reference to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The transformation scene at the end of the film strongly references to Disney's Beauty and the Beast.
In addition, Lord Farquaad's theme park style kingdom Duloc heavily mimics Disneyland, even in so far as parodying the famous 'It's A Small World' musical ride in the scene with the singing puppets
Classic Paramount references
In the scene where the Magic Mirror gives Lord Farquaad the options to marry three princesses to become king, it parodies popular American television show The Dating Game featuring: Cinderella and Snow White.
When Shrek crosses the bridge to the Castle and says, "That'll do, Donkey, that'll do", this is a reference to the movie Babe. The scene where Princess Fiona is fighting the Merry Men is a lengthy reference to the film The Matrix.
At the end of the film, the Gingerbread Man at the end with a crutch (and one leg) says "God bless us, everyone" which is a reference to Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol.
Several video game adaptations of the film have been published on various game console platforms, including Shrek (1995, Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega CD, Sega Game Gear, and Game Boy), Shrek: Hassle at the Castle (1996), Shrek: Treasure Hunt (1997), 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).
Dark Horse Comics released in 2003 three thirty two page full color comic books featuring Shrek, Donkey and Fiona, Shrek #1, Shrek #2, and Shrek #3. The comics were written by Mark Evanier and illustrated by Ramon Bachs and Raul Fernandez.
Ape Entertainment has also released under KiZoic label five full color comic books, a fifty two page adaptation Shrek (2010), and four thirty two page books: Shrek #1 (2010), Shrek #2 (2010), Shrek #3 (2011), and Shrek #4 (2011).
Two sequel films were released.
Theme park attractions
Shrek 4-D, also known as Shrek 3-D, Shrek 4D Adventure, Shrek's Never Before Seen Adventure, and The Ghost of Lord Farquaad, is a 4-D film/ride at various theme parks around the world. It premiered in 2003 at Universal Studios Florida, and was released on DVD. The short takes place right after Shrek. Lord Farquaad returns from the dead to kidnap Princess Fiona and it is up to Shrek and Donkey to rescue her.
Shrek 4-D would be temporarily be replaced by Keroppi: The Christmas Eve Gift 4D, which is based on the 2008 remake of Keroppi: The Christmas Eve Gift, whenever the Christmas season comes since 2009.
Far Far Away is one of the seven themed lands in Universal Studios Singapore, and it consists of many locations based on DreamWorks Animation fantasy films. The land was named after Fiona's kingdom in Shrek: Hapilly Ever After.
A Shrek themed attraction, called DreamWorks Tours Shrek's Adventure! London, opened in 2015 at London County Hall as the first of six attractions initially planned over nine years. This "Immersive Tunnel" from Simworx is built in collaboration with Merlin Entertainments, the 20,000 square feet (1,900 m2) live interactive walk-through adventure presents an original story written by DWA, along with a character courtyard, also featuring characters from several other DreamWorks Animation's franchises.
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.
In 2008, TBD
A shot-for-shot fan remake titled Shrek Retold was released through 3GI Industries on November 29, 2018. The project was a collaboration of 200 filmmakers and mixes live action, hand-drawn animation, Flash animation, CGI and various other art forms to recreate the film. The film is available on YouTube for free.
Potential live-action remake
Main Article: Shrek (2021 live-action remake)
On May 2018, Deadline Hollywood reported that Paramount and DreamWorks was in early development for a live-action adaptation of the film
In August, it was announced that Alan Menken would return as one of the film's composers and write new songs alongside Danny Elfman with Tim Burton and Guy Ritchie signed on to direct the film. John August is writing the script, which will reportedly retain most of the musical elements of the original film, while Dan Lin is attached as producer, and is planned to be released on May 22, 2021.
Principal photography was originally scheduled to begin in April 2020 at Pinewood Studios, London, United Kingdom, and in Cornwall, South West England, but production on the film was temporarily halted in March 2020 until early September 2020 due to the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic.
Later that week, Paramount moved the film's release date to October 22, 2021, after that date became available due to coronavirus-related delays as The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run took up Shrek (2021)'s release date.
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