‘Shrek’ is dead, long live ‘Shrek’ – fr

‘Shrek’ is dead, long live ‘Shrek’ – fr

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If you’ve jumped on Twitter lately, you might see a wave of opinions about the 2001 DreamWorks movie. Shrek flying on the occasion of his 20th birthday, with a number of them being quite defensive of their love of the big smelly ogre.

Part of this is probably due to this Scott Tobias Guardian article, written for the anniversary. It’s a pretty harsh breakdown of the film and the cultural zeitgiest that follows, with a definitive ‘what were we smoking in 2001’ perspective on the film. He doesn’t hold any punches, lambasting the toilet humor (literally), CG animation, and the stunt cast he’s become (infamous) for. And, as usual with anniversary pieces, the seemingly dismal effects he’s left on genre and medium for far too long, and wonders why he still has so much influence. This is not a play that fans Shrek I would appreciate it. And they said it.

In case you were wondering, Tobias seems to have a sense of humor when it comes to receiving the piece:

Phew. It’s… not bad to understand. And to be honest, I can’t really disagree with most (!) Reviews of the play. The animation is quite steep. It contains a ton of meta jokes and pop culture takes that were overblown even two years later, not to mention 20. It ends up wasting the potential of its world-building ersatz on quick jokes (sequels try to rely more on that., to varying degrees of success). And yes, that needle drop “Hallelujah” was ridiculous even before Guardians lampshade accidentally how badly it was used in popular cinema.

It is indeed a very 2001 CG animated film, despite all its flaws. And this is indeed the point of the Guardian article. It’s an old movie that people loved despite it, but it certainly hasn’t aged so well.

And yet, that’s really not the reason people still love him. It has become a fountain of memes and sh content! Tposting and even deep dives on YouTube, two whole decades later. Beyond toilet humor, beyond anti-Disney motivations, beyond the old “Riverdance” reference, it’s a story of accepting love, from others and from oneself, even when the world says you don’t deserve it. It’s a story about how corporate interests try to erase “ugly” things to be more generally attractive, and how “ugly” things are more beautiful for their uniqueness than any conformity allows. And yes, this is the story of an ogre who starts the day by emptying his outhouse, then opening the door to the familiar strains of “Someone told me once …”

You can easily see where Shrek DNA divides both into celebrities, but thematically wanting duds like Shark story (sorry, Tori!), Bee movie, and Above the limit to much stronger and more coherent points of view on the same theme: “the outside pushes against the perception of their society” in Kung Fu Panda, How to train your dragon, and Megamind (where no more “intermediate route” but extremely popular rates like Madagascar, The Croods and Trolls falls are up to you). And that’s fair if we limit ourselves to the release of DreamWorks.

By becoming such a successful and influential film, Shrek has shown that it is worth it for studios to invest in (American) animation projects outside of the House of the Mouse. Shrek showed that there is room for mass market CG animation that is neither Disney nor Pixar; a line can be drawn to the eventual rise of competing studios like Illumination and Blue Sky. The irony of Guardian piece comparing the rigid and plastic animation, admittedly obsolete, of Shrek to more recent attempts to advance media such as the Lego movie series and Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is that you probably wouldn’t have the last one without the first and its outhouse flushing at some point.

Shrek is both a film that has generally not aged as long as well over 20 years, and which has also gained its place of importance and influence. A film mostly shaped by a billionaire wanting to upset other billionaires has become a key part of animation history anyway.

Plus, I can’t help but smile realizing that despite all the money he’s spent on things like Quibi, the biggest impact on art, media, and pop culture Jeffery Katzenberg has had managed to produce … was Shrek.

If at this point you tire of my ramblings and want to read more thoughtful articles on Shrek and his legacy that this one, two of Pajiba’s own have you covered: Kayleigh Donaldson writes about how Myers’ spontaneous choice to use a Scottish accent for the character led to an interesting reception for the film in his homeland. ‘origin. And Kristy Pushko was asked why Shrek had a major impact on his fans.

Happy 20th birthday, Shrek!

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Source of header image: Vladimir Shtanko / Agence Anadolu via Getty Images

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