BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in: Entertainment: Reviews
Front Page 
UK Politics 
TV and Radio 
New Media 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Monday, 2 July, 2001, 19:14 GMT 20:14 UK
Shrek: Press views
Shrek with Princess Fiona
Shrek takes a thinly veiled pop at the Disney tradition
Press reviews of Shrek

The Observer

The movie is a constant delight for its exuberant simplicity, its avoidance of sensational effects, its wit and a true feeling that transcends sentimentality. Except for a single scene, it avoids the usual animated movie songs by the likes of Elton John and Tim Rice and, indeed, makes jokes about the awful voices of Fiona, whose high notes make a friendly bluebird explode, and the Donkey, who is only allowed to hum.

The Sunday Times

The nearest we get to a big wow moment is when the camera, from high above, floats over a giant moat of lava. It's in the small details that Shrek is most successful. Facial expressions are far more elaborate and nuanced than anything we have seen. And all those rustling leaves and individual donkey hairs that seem to stand up and take a bow are remarkable.

But the best animated films, like Toy Story 2, are really driven by character and story line, and on that level, Shrek is, without doubt, a great triumph.

The Daily Telegraph

With the most original computer software now available, and wizardly imaginations to boot, the smartest people in Hollywood are dedicated to the fun of recycling and reordering old movies, subjecting the apple-pie stuff of the past to the media-savvynesss most young people now take for granted.

And on the strength of Shrek you can't really fault the mob at Dreamworks: here is a movie of the times, funny, enjoyable, perfect-looking, and altogether original in a way that might cause us to look again at the meaning of the word.

The Guardian

The comparison with Toy Story movies can't be avoided, and here Shrek inevitably suffers. Perhaps that is unfair: hardly any film measures up. The Toy Stories were dazzlingly daring, playfully self-referential, and had genuinely moving moments. Shrek cannot match them. In fact, its animation, like its storyline, is developed in a much more conservative direction.

The Independent

The only part of the audience who may feel left out are the kids for whom fairy-tales were originally intended. There isn't much in the way of purely "innocent" fun to be had in Shrek, and one imagines under-fives either fidgeting or falling asleep. Yet will those children discover a magic in it five or 10 years from now?

By then they may be able to "get" it, but will any of the characters be loved and remembered in the way that the Toy Story brigade have been? I doubt it. The one thing this masterpiece of illusion can't fake, in the end, is a heart.

The Times

If Shrek lacks anything, it is heart, and a sense of timelessness. Sure Disney can be exasperatingly sentimental and repetitive (if I see one more cute woodland creature losing its footing on ice and twirling about on its bottom in a Disney release, I will shoot Bambi's mother myself). However, at its best, it knows how to stick that icepick straight into the heart.

The likes of Beauty and the Beast can be viewed repeatedly and still leave one drowning in very dark and real emotions, but Shrek merely scratches the surface. What we're left with is a noisy, witty, tightly scripted romp, but with little evergreen appeal.

London Evening Standard

Shrek is alive, and with dark, sly and absolutely hilarious irreverence lampooning every once-sacred characteristic of the nursery kingdom. Shrek is a subversive joy. I've seen it twice: the jokes, allusions and sub-textual send-up of the Disney empire fill every wicked, Mickey Mouse-taking minute.

Links to more Reviews stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Reviews stories