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Rated: PG in North America, U in the U.K.
Running Time: 90 minutes
Directors: Andrew Adamson & Vicky Jenson
Producers: Jeffrey Katzenberg, Aron Warner, & John H. Williams
Amazon.co.uk: PAL DVD, PAL VHS
Amazon.com: NTSC DVD, NTSC VHS
TowerRecords.com: NTSC DVD, NTSC VHS
I should warn you that this is a very funny movie. It should bear a warning label from the Surgeon-General or something. You see, I had been told (by my brother and by Lois McMaster Bujold, as it happens) that it was really good, but both of them neglected to mention that it's a comedy. And, since I was in Hong Kong when the film was released, and couldn't read the posters, I didn't clue in until I was in the theatre. And by then, of course, it was much too late. You see, Shrek isn't just insanely funny, it's also addictive. On more than one occasion, I have been showing it to a friend, when another friend would walk in most of the way through, watch it to the end, and then start over again at the beginning. Twice in the space of a week after I picked up the video, we had repeat showings at my place. The disc must be in danger of burning through to the other side. Most of my friends have memorised the dialogue, and if you say one line, they'll be able to repeat the rest of the scene nearly verbatim. Not since the days of Monty Python have I seen so much hilarity packed into so little time.
So what's the movie about? Well, it's pretty much a traditional fairy tale, with princesses, Robin Hood, dragons, and ogres. Except that in this version, it's the beautiful princess who rescues the ugly ogre from Robin Hood and his Merry Men. In other words, it's a very subversive film. That very act of flipping fairy tale conventions upside-down is quite healthy in this case, because the subversion is not just for the sake of laughs, but has a serious point as well. In fact, I could say that the central point of Shrek is possibly the single most important thing Hollywood could say: you can't base love on looks. After all the countless romances where the sole criterion for living "happily ever after" is finding a suitably good-looking member of the opposite sex, it's downright therapeutic to find a film which says, in an effective manner, that character counts.
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