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Shrek (dir. Vicky Jenson and Andrew Adamson) is a timeless DreamWork slapstick classic. Playing equally effectively as a lively romp for kids and an enormously clever comedy for adults, “Shrek” is both simple and sophisticated, hip without being smug or condescending; it’s a film both animation fans and non-enthusiasts can enjoy. Even on repeated viewings, Shrek doesn’t lose its appeal. It’s just as funny, creative and entertaining as it ever was, and though more recent animated films have surpassed it in terms of quality of animation, it still looks good. The adventure begins when Shrek, an antisocial Ogre with self-esteem issues finds his private swap overrun with refugee Disney fairy tale characters who have been kicked out of their home due to the evil Lord Farquaad’s efforts to clean up his Kingdom. Furious at the intrusion, Shrek takes his beef to the midget despot himself. However, instead of the quick fix he was expecting, Shrek and his new best pal Donkey were sent on a quest to rescue a hot redhead from a fire-breathing dragon. The unlikely threesome – the green bloke, the jabbermouth, and the species-changing, attitudinal Princess – carry the 90 minute dig-fest at Disney by one the their former employees, Jeffrey Katzenberg (one of the many producers); it’s a full-scale parody of the Mousedom’s chirpy ethic of old. Snow white, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Cinderella, every Andersen/Grimm fantasy within public domain is caught in a fusillade of affectionate piss-take. The fairy tale all about fairy tales – tee-hee, how postmodern. The themes of inner beauty, forgiveness, loyalty friendship and romantic love are central to this comic adventure. However, the film’s strong message that inner beauty really counts gets undermined when Lord Farquaad is unfairly maligned for being short. Sure, he’s got a lot of faults, but his modest stature isn’t one of them. When the film isn’t too busy contradicting its main message, it takes on cleverly choeographed action parodying WWF wrestling moves – the scene where Shrek and Donkey take on Lord Farquaad’s henchmen, for example. Not only that, but Fiona’s feisty martial arts moves when taking out Robin Hood’s merry men, specifically the mid-air freeze, come straight from The Matrix. Not to worry though, when the story finally begins to wrap itself up, the counter-classic edge succumbs to predictable, sturdy, moral outcomes which concludes with the motto: “That’s what friends do, they forgive each other”. Not to worry too much, though – the film crashes out with a musical number boasting Donkey’s shades clad soul-ribbed version of The Monkees’ I’m A Believer. The injection of pop/rock tunes such as “I’m A Believer,” and Smash Mouth’s “All Star,”adds to the film’s fun-loving irreverence. To conclude, the technical wizardry of this 90-minute computer-animated comedy invites comparison to the quality and realism of Toy Story or A Bug’s Life. It’s impressive to look at, from the textures of clothing to the way computer-generated character trample computer-generated grass as they walk through it. Shrek takes a very un-Pixar approach to family entertainment by resorting to crudities, bathroom humour and profanity which most children tend to find hilarious.

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