Release May 18th, 2001

Starring: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, John Lithgow

Director: Andrew Adamson, Victoria Jenson

Premise: Once upon a time there lived a cynical, no-nonsense ogre named Shrek (Myers) whose swamp was overrun by annoying fairytale creatures -- the usual mice, pigs and wolves that plague storybooks everywhere. In an attempt to save his home, Shrek sets out to confront Lord Farquaad (John Lithgow), ruler of Duloc, who has banished all the fairytale misfits from Duloc in order to create his own perfect world. Along the way, Shrek is befriended by a wise-cracking donkey (Murphy), sent to slay a fire-breathing dragon and save a beautiful princess with a deep, dark secret...just your usual fairytale stuff. In the end, he learns to love and be loved in this irreverent new comedy from the creators of "Antz."

The rival company to Walt Disney Studios, Dreamworks, created an animation studio as well as partnering with a computer animation studio much like Disney did with Pixar Animation Studios. PDI produced the movie Antz for Dreamworks which was a modest success compared to Pixar's A Bug's Life which was released later that same year. Now Dreamworks turns again to PDI to create a full length computer animated film based on a children's book. Mix into the batch the voice talents of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy and Cameron Diaz and this would look like a big hit movie sitting right in your hands. But would the two main ingrediants work together or would the product turn into a sour disappointment?

The story goes that Shrek is an ugly, green ogre lives alone in his swamp wanting to be left alone and avoiding the company of others. But that is broken when a load of fairy tale creatures evades his swamp and take over his home. They were dumped there by Lord Farquaad in order to rid his perfect kingdom of Duloc of the "fairy tale trash", as he called them. Among the creatures is a donkey named Donkey. He befriends and annoys Shrek as they travel together to the kingdom of Duloc. Farquaad agrees to hand over the deed to the swamp if Shrek fetches his new wife, Princess Fiona, from the keep of the firebreathing dragon. Along the way, Shrek discovers that it doesn't matter what you look like on the outside but it is how people feel about you on the inside. The story line seemed like another simple fairy tale telling and it was. Too many parts (not as many as originally thought) were set to pick on the Walt Disney Company. Other then slight glimmers of off centreness, Shrek doesn't offer anything different to the movie going audience.

The voice cast of Shrek features a wide variety of talent but not much shown in this film. Mike Myers is a very funny man. Austin Powers and Wayne's World showed the amount of his talent. Shrek, unfortunately, down plays his talent. He is given very little funny lines and when is given one, it usually involves the character of Donkey. Eddie Murphy is a very funny comedian and has the best lines in this film. The real problem was that there was too much of him. He was basically the main focus of the film and didn't allow the others actos to showcase their vocal talents. Cameron Diaz is okay but nothing different then most actresses who provide voice overs for animated films. John Lithgow is nothing short , pardon the joke, of spectacular and wouldn't expect less from a Shakespearian actor.

Shrek is a moderate film at best and doesn't even come close to living up to the hype that Dreanwork's and the movie going public made it out to be. The story pokes too much at Disney, which probably was one of the main reason Katzenburg agreed to the project. The voice overs are mixed between great and disappointing and overall the film lacks the greatness of films like Toy Story, A Bug's Life, or Monsters Inc. Here is hoping that the sequel to the film does a better job in the story department then its predecessor did.

My Rating: ** 1/2 out of 5