Shrek is a 2001 American computer-animated comedy film loosely based on the 1990 fairytale picture book of the same name by William Steig. Directed by Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson in their directorial debuts, it stars Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, and John Lithgow as the voices of the lead characters.
The film parodies other films adapted from fairy tale storylines, primarily aimed at animated Disney films. In the story, an ogre called Shrek (Myers) finds his swamp overrun by fairy tale creatures who have been banished by the corrupt Lord Farquaad (Lithgow) aspiring to be king.
Shrek makes a deal with Farquaad to regain control of his swamp in return for rescuing Princess Fiona (Diaz), whom Farquaad intends to marry. With the help of Donkey (Murphy), Shrek embarks on his quest but soon falls in love with the princess, who is hiding a secret that will change his life forever.
- Starring : Mike Myers / Eddie Murphy
- Genre : Animation / Adventure / Comedy / Family / Fantasy
- Country : United States
- Language : English
- Director : Andrew Adamson / Vicky Jenson
- Production : DreamWorks Animation / DreamWorks / Pacific Data Images (PDI) / Vanguard Films
- Distributor : DreamWorks Distribution / United International Pictures (UIP) / East West / 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment / American Movie Classics (AMC) / Argentina Video Home / Cartoon Network / Disney Channel / Disney XD / DreamWorks Home Entertainment / Fox-Paramount Home Entertainment / Freeform / MTV Networks / MTV3 / National Broadcasting Company (NBC) / Net5 / Peacock / Prem’er Video Fil’m / Sub / Syfy / TNT / Turner Broadcasting System (TBS) / USA Network / Universal Pictures Finland / Universal Pictures Home Entertainment (UPHE) / Universal Pictures Video / Universal Pictures / Universal Studios / Videosonic / WGN America
Shrek release date
- April 22, 2001 : USA (Westwood, California) (premiere)
- May 12, 2001 : France (Cannes Film Festival)
- May 16, 2001 : USA (Los Angeles, California)
- May 16, 2001 : USA (New York City, New York)
- May 18, 2001 : USA
- June 7, 2001 : Singapore
- June 21, 2001 : Australia
- June 29, 2001 : UK
- June 29, 2001 : Ireland
- July 4, 2001 : Switzerland (French speaking region)
- July 4, 2001 : France
- July 5, 2001 : Germany
- July 12, 2001 : Switzerland (German speaking region)
- July 13, 2001 : Spain
- July 13, 2001 : Israel (premiere)
- July 19, 2001 : Israel
- August 22, 2001 : Philippines (Manila)
- September 6, 2001 : Philippines (Davao)
- September 7, 2001 : Sweden
- December 15, 2001 : Japan
- October 28, 2002 : Japan (Tokyo International Film Festival)
- Mike Myers as Shrek(voice)
- Eddie Murphy as Donkey(voice)
- Cameron Diaz as Princess Fiona(voice)
- John Lithgow as Lord Farquaad(voice)
- Vincent Cassel as Monsieur Hood(voice)
- Peter Dennis as Ogre Hunter(voice)
- Clive Pearse as Ogre Hunter(voice)
- Jim Cummings as Captain of Guards(voice)
- Bobby Block as Baby Bear(voice)
- Chris Miller as Geppetto / Magic Mirror(voice)
- Cody Cameron as Pinnochio / Three Pigs(voice)
- Kathleen Freeman as Old Woman(voice)
- Michael Galasso as Peter Pan(voice)
- Christopher Knights as Blind Mouse(voice)
- Simon J. Smith as Blind Mouse(voice)
The rights to Steig’s book were purchased by Steven Spielberg in 1991. He originally planned to produce a traditionally-animated film based on the book, but John H. Williams convinced him to bring the film to the newly-founded DreamWorks in 1994. Jeffrey Katzenberg began active development of the film in 1995 immediately following the studio’s purchase of the rights from Spielberg.
Chris Farley was originally cast as the voice for the title character, recording nearly all of the required dialogue. After Farley died in 1997 before the work was finished, Mike Myers stepped in to voice the character, which was changed to a Scottish accent in the process. The film was intended to be motion-captured, but after poor results, the studio decided to hire Pacific Data Images to complete the final computer animation.
Shrek premiered at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival, where it competed for the Palme d’Or, making it the first animated film since Disney’s Peter Pan (1953) to receive that honor. It was widely praised as an animated film that featured adult-oriented humor and themes, while catering to children at the same time. The film was theatrically released in the United States on May 18, 2001, and grossed $484.4 million worldwide against production budget of $60 million. Shrek won the first ever Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and was also nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay.
It also earned six award nominations from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), ultimately winning Best Adapted Screenplay. The film’s success helped establish DreamWorks Animation as a prime competitor to Pixar in feature film computer animation, and three sequels were released—Shrek 2 (2004), Shrek the Third (2007), and Shrek Forever After (2010)—along with two holiday specials, a spin-off film, and a stage musical that kickstarted the Shrek franchise. Although plans for a fifth film were canceled prior to the fourth film’s release, the project was revived in 2016 and has since stalled, with production and a potential release date getting pushed back.
Shrek, a mean-spirited and highly territorial green ogre who loves the solitude of his swamp, finds his life interrupted when he is befriended by a talkative Donkey, one of countless fairytale creatures exiled to Shrek’s swamp by the fairytale-hating and vertically-challenged Lord Farquaad of Duloc. Angered by the intrusion, he decides to ask Farquaad to exile them elsewhere, bringing Donkey along as he is the only one willing to guide him to Duloc.
Meanwhile, Farquaad’s torture of the Gingerbread Man for the location of the remaining fairytale creatures is interrupted when his guards present him with a Magic Mirror. He asks the Mirror if his kingdom is the fairest of them all but is told that he is not even a king, and that he must marry a princess. Farquaad resolves to marry Princess Fiona, who is locked in a castle tower guarded by a dragon. Unwilling to perform the task himself, he organizes a tournament wherein the winner gets the “privilege” of rescuing Fiona for him. Shrek and Donkey arrive during the tournament, and ignorantly defeat Farquaad’s knights. Farquaad proclaims them the champions, and compels them under threat of death to rescue Fiona, promising to move the fairytale creatures from Shrek’s swamp if he succeeds.
Shrek and Donkey travel to the castle to find Fiona. They are attacked by a Dragon, who corners Donkey. In desperation, he sweet-talks the beast, learning that it is female. Dragon falls in love with Donkey and carries him to her chambers. Meanwhile, Shrek finds Fiona, who is appalled at his lack of romanticism and surprised he had not slain Dragon.
They leave after rescuing Donkey, and Fiona is thrilled to be rescued but is quickly disappointed when Shrek reveals he is an ogre. Despite her demands that Farquaad come get her in person, Shrek forcibly carries her as he ventures back to Duloc with Donkey. At night, Shrek explains to Donkey his frustration at how society judges him for how he looks; Fiona overhears this, and decides to be kind to Shrek. The three encounter Robin Hood on their way back, where it is revealed that Fiona is an expert martial artist. Shrek and Fiona find they have much in common and begin to fall in love.
When the trio is almost at Duloc, Fiona takes shelter in a windmill for the evening. Donkey hears strange noises from within and investigates, finding Fiona transformed into an ogress. Fiona reveals that she was cursed during childhood to transform every night, and that only her true love’s kiss will change her to “love’s true form”. Meanwhile, Shrek is about to confess his feelings to Fiona, but then overhears part of their conversation and becomes upset after mistaking her calling herself an “ugly beast” as disgust towards him.
At Donkey’s suggestion, Fiona vows to tell Shrek about her curse, but sees that Shrek has brought Lord Farquaad to the windmill. Confused and hurt by Shrek’s sudden cold disposition towards her, Fiona accepts Farquaad’s marriage proposal and requests they be married before nightfall. The couple return to Duloc, while Shrek angrily abandons Donkey and returns to his now-vacated swamp.
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