Over the summer, movies have become increasingly bad. From great big summer blockbusters of yesterday (“T2,” “Jurassic Park”), to the disappointing top moneymakers of the summer (“Pearl Harbor,” “Tomb Raider”), there has been a serious decline in the type of films Hollywood is producing. It might be too early to say that, especially with the highly anticipated release of movies such as “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.” But, so far, not so good.
The one noteworthy film this summer that could possibly end up being one of the best films of 2001 is Dreamworks’ computer animated comedy “Shrek.” Shrek is an ogre who goes on a journey with a donkey to rescue a princess. When Shrek falls for the Princess, he realizes that she is not an average princess. She sees something in him, and together they find love.
Shrek is voiced by Mike Myers, who gives to Shrek the same quality he bestowed on previous characters – a uniqueness. He makes us feel like the ogre is not an ogre, but a human being that we can all relate to. Shrek is not your normal animated cartoon hero. He is a cross between the sweetness of Barney Rubble and the crudeness of Homer Simpson, two men we have come to love and at the same time be disgusted with as well.
Eddie Murphy’s voice characterization of the donkey is Murphy’s best work in years. Murphy gives a quality to the donkey that makes him seem like a real actor we hope to see in another movie. Not since the many voices of Mel Blanc (Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck) has an actor been able to capture the essence of being more than just a voice, more than a character, but a live person or animal.
Besides the great talent that lies behind the scenes of “Shrek,” the purity of the story is something worth looking at. Like many movies, this film presents an issue that plagues our society – appearances. It addresses the superficialities that people have about each other. The ogre is feared because of his size, color and other attributes, as the Princess is loved and cherished because of the features that Shrek wishes that he had. But it shows that we are all scarred and not as perfect as we may think. The film not only begins to instill lessons in our young children about the world, but also offer the adults of the world a lesson that we should look at all the lonely people and take them for who they are, not for what they look like or what they have. These filmmakers have successfully instilled that in audiences across the country.
If movies like “Shrek” can be made in a live action form rather than as animation, then there might be hope for the movies. With upcoming releases, we can only sit back and hope. But, if there is any quality in the theatres now, “Shrek” is it.