Shrek, one of the best films of 2001, was released on DVD last Friday, and with 11 hours of bonus features, it promises to keep the laughs coming, even after you re-watch one of the funniest spoofs of recent years.
This two-disc special edition is a must for anyone’s collection, not necessarily for the extras, but for the movie alone. That’s not to say the bonus features don’t include more than most special editions; it does, and at a lower price, too (Shrek is advertised at many retail stores for $19.99), but the real gem here is the film itself.
For those who didn’t get a chance to see it this summer, Shrek is a spoof on the classic Disney fairy tale. In Duloc, a kingdom run by a vertically-challenged prince named Farquaad (voiced by John Lithgow), fairy-tale creatures run rampant. Everyone from Snow White to Pinocchio shows up only to be banished by Farquaad as part of his vision of beautifying his kingdom.
When Shrek (Mike Myers), a large, green ogre, won’t leave his peaceful and isolated swamp, the prince sends every flying witch, blind mouse and little pig to share Shrek’s stomping ground.
At the same time, the prince is trying to find someone to rescue a princess (Cameron Diaz) from a dragon-guarded castle so he can marry her and become a king. When Shrek and his unwanted guide, a talking donkey named Donkey (Eddie Murphy), arrive at Farquaad’s castle – which looks strikingly similar to Disneyland, by the way – he is tapped for the mission. In exchange, Farquaad agrees to send the creatures somewhere else.
For the most part, Shrek is a crude, lewd exercise in satire, complete with unashamed bodily-function gags as well as clever in-jokes that show no mercy as the movie bashes Disney and mutilates the Gingerbread Man.
The DVD offers the usual in-depth director’s commentary as well as two half-hour featurettes that go behind the scenes and into the re-dubbing studio for foreign releases. But you also have hilarious, filmed storyboard pitches of eventually deleted scenes, as well as humorous technical goofs with explanations of how new film animation works. Plus, an extended credits reel with a cast-led karaoke session and an option to watch Shrek-inspired music videos from Smash Mouth and Baha Men, are offered.
Many references are made to Antz, Dreamworks’ previous foray into animation, and how the filmmakers wanted to make Shrek 10 times as complicated. While some of the footage is repeated through the featurettes and some extra goodies, such as games like Shrek Pinball, are mainly for children, the Shrek DVD still provides many hours of entertainment as well as education for those who can’t get enough of high-tech animation information.
Even with its root menu graphic of the creatures talking with Donkey jumping in the background, Shrek embodies everything DVD was designed to do – to enhance the movie-watching experience.
- Shrek is Rated PG