Shrek on DVD
DreamWorks' Shrek is a fairly tale for modern generations, though kids
of all ages will get more than a few kicks out of it.
Mike Myers voices Shrek, a lonely ogre who agrees to go on a quest to
rescue a princess (Cameon Diaz) imprisoned in a dragon's castle. Aided by his
unwanted associate Donkey (Eddie Murphy), he's to bring her back to marry Lord
Farquaad (John Lithgow) so he can be a real king. Why does Shrek do this? To
reclaim his home swamp, where exiled fairy tale creatures have been forced to
take up residence after being kicked out of Farquaad's kingdom.
The adventure itself is pretty straightforward as far as fairy tales go,
but it's laced with contemporary humor (even a bit of fairly mild bathroom
humor) and digs at its own fairy tale heritage. There are quick appearances by
Pinocchio, the Big Bad Wolf, Tinker Bell, Cinderella, Snow White, and many,
many more of the favorite characters you grew up with.
The characters are fun, the story is entertaining - though we wonder why
the message of not judging people based on their looks doesn't apply to short
people - and the actors are obviously having a good time in their roles. The
only complaint is that Mike Myers' accent is too close to that of his "Fat
Bastard" character in the second Austin Powers movie - but that's pretty
The DVD is a real tour de force, and is almost worth having for the
extras alone. The two disc set offers viewers two versions of the movie: one
pan&scan and the other in its proper 16x9 (widescreen TV compatible) aspect
ratio. The video quality is superb and the audio, which is offered in Dolby
Digital 5.1 on the pan&scan version and Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 on the
"real" version, is also top notch, with great dynamics and balance.
Both discs are full of extras. Disc One, which for some reason is the
pan&scan version, offers a nifty DVD-ROM-based "Shrek's Revoice Studio,"
where you can record your own voice over top of the lines of your favorite
character from the movie (you need a microphone, of course), in one of twelve
selected scenes from the movie. There's also a "DreamWorks Kids" section that
combines DVD ROM and standalone features to offer some six hours of stuff for
the ankle biters. It's suitable only for small kids, though, so older tots will
be better served looking at the other stuff.
They've also stuck in some specially made interviews with the main
characters, some "hidden fun facts" about the film's genesis, and a very good
behind the scenes featurette.
There's also a hilarious "Shrek in the Swamp" Karaoke party, which is a
specially rendered set of song excerpts voiced by the Shrek cast. Dreamworks
really pulled out all the stops on this extra, because it's fully rendered with
as good quality as the film, yet it's basically just a silly singalong
featuring many of the characters. Fiona does a clip from "Like a Virgin," for
example, while Robin Hood and his Merry Men perform a section of "YMCA." It's
The rest of disc one's extras are pretty standard, including a sneak
peek trailer of DreamWorks' next animated film, production notes (there's also
a folder of notes inside the box), cast/crew bios, etc.
Then there's Disc Two, which features the movie in its widescreen glory.
Besides that, you get a commentary track by the filmmakers, a "live" storyboard
pitch of some scenes that were eventually cut from the movie, and some
"outtakes" where the technology (or operator error) let the filmmakers
"The Tech of Shrek" is an interesting look at the hardware and software
that brought Shrek to the screen, while another section showcases the
development of the characters.
As if that isn't enough, there's a feature on the dubbing of the film
for international audiences, some hints at solving the X-BOX Shrek game, as
well as the trailer, more production notes, and the cast/crew bios.
But it's the movie that's the most important thing, and it's well worth
viewing and owning.
Shrek, from DreamWorks Home Video
93 min, Pan&Scan and anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1), 16x9 TV compatible,
Dolby Digital 5.1 (Pan&Scan)/Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 (Widescreen),
Starring Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, John Lithgow
Produced by Aron Warner John H. Williams Jeffrey Katzenberg
Written by Ted Elliott and Terry Rosio,
Directed by Andrew Adamson, Vicky Jenson.
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