By William Wolf

SHREK  Send This Review to a Friend

Meet ogre Shrek, the anti-Disney. DreamWorks turns the animated fairy tale genre upside down, inside out and every which way in its charming, entertaining and joyfully irreverent "Shrek," and while having sport with Disney icons, it also features snazzy, lifelike animation of its own.

Shrek may be an ugly ogre, but he's an amusing one. So what if he loves to wallow in mud, has bad breath and would just like to be left alone. The Scottish accent in the voice Mike Myers provides him adds a gentle tone as well. When he teams up with the feisty talking Donkey, given voice by Eddie Murphy, on a mission to rescue Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) and deliver her to the scheming twerp Lord Farquaad (John Lithgow), there's rollicking fun to be had for both youngsters and adults. The jokes are targeted on a split-level for the different age brackets.

The big switch is in the treatment of the princess, animated so lifelike that actors should ponder their future. When you can get such animation, we seem to be inching toward a time when producers may feel they can dispense with real persons. This princess has a dark secret that turns up after sundown. Could she be the right match for the ogre who shyly falls in love with her?

There is much fun in the way characters from Disney films have been comically put to use, including Pinocchio, the Seven Dwarfs and the Three Little Pigs. Although very funny, The film doesn't use anything that should make the Disney folk angry. This sort of satire is really a form of flattery. What's enjoyable here under the clever direction of Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson is the nose-thumbing manner in which the earthy supplants the sugary in the world of fairy tales. The story, based on the book by William Steig, is refreshing in favoring an ogre instead of a conventional prince charming. A DreamWorks Pictures release.


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