the global picture: shrek

From Ultimate DVD #23

WHAT THE SHREK?

Ultimate DVD hears from the people behind the computer-animated faces of DreamWorks’ hilarious CGI comedy fantasy...

Cameron Diaz as Princess FionaMike Myers as Shrek

"Fairy-tales don’t come much more fantastic than this..." Disc review and full feature in the issue!

Eddie Murphy as DonkeyJohn Lithgow as Lord Farquaad

DVD released Nov 02 (R1) Nov 12 (R2)
Pre-order Region 2 details

Shrek - order the DVD at Blackstar

Many film industry insiders predicted that this summer the multiplexes would belong to Lara Croft, the Velociraptors and the Apes. They were wrong. Despite mammoth marketing campaigns for Tomb Raider, Jurassic Park III and Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes, only one movie seem to have pleased the masses: Shrek, a computer-generated animated fairy-tale from DreamWorks Pictures.

Shrek expands on the formula popularized by Pixar (Toy Story, the forthcoming Monsters Inc), taking a familiar fantasy world and subverting traditions. In this case popular fairy-tales get a new twisted lease of life, from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to the Gingerbread Man, all inhabiting the same bizarre world as the titular monstrous green ogre. Based loosely on the children’s book by William Steig, Shrek has so far amassed a stunning $265 million at the US box office, and £28 million in the UK (the 2nd biggest release of the last 12 months).

It now looks set to feature prominently on Christmas present lists on both sides of the Atlantic as DreamWorks release the extras-laden DVD in November.

Mike Myers (Shrek)

Describe the character of Shrek.
Shrek is an ogre who lives by himself in a swamp. He’s sick and tired of people pre-judging what he’s going to be like; they think he’s going to eat them or roast them or poke them with sticks and stuff. One day Lord Farquaad, who’s from this kingdom close by, sends all the fairy-tale characters out of his kingdom to a swamp. So Shrek goes to Lord Farquaad and he strikes a deal: he will get all the people out of his swamp if he goes and finds the Princess who will be his bride.

... Shrek, who is an ogre, feels that the Princess could never love him. He goes from feeling bad about being an ogre to being proud about being an ogre, and I think that’s a great message for anybody.

John Lithgow (Lord Farquaad)

What was your response when you saw the completed film?
I was completely overwhelmed. I had the privilege of visiting PDI, where they animated the film, about a year ago and I saw it all in process. That was the first time that it dawned on my what an amazing look this film had. It was the most exciting day; without knowing it, I had backed into the most fantastic project. This is the biggest film I’ve ever been in – and I’m not even in it!

What is your favourite scene from Shrek?
The very favourite scene of mine is the Gingerbread Man torturing scene. It’s such a wonderful demonstration of the humour of the film, the way they take fairy-tale themes and turn them completely on their head. I just think it’s delightful and I have fond memories of recording that scene because it began [so small] and when we worked on it, it got longer and longer because we knew we were onto something hilarious here. The animators just went with it all the way.

Eddie Murphy (Donkey)

How much input were you able to bring to the role of Donkey?
They pretty much know what they want when they come to you with these animated shows. They have a specific idea what they wanted with the Donkey. Lots of people have been asking me about improvising, and there’s not as much as you’d think on this. They really know what they want and they develop the character for you and you just bring the right energy to it. I get more direction on something like this than I do if I am doing a live-action movie.

Cameron Diaz (Princess Fiona)

This is your first animated film, for which you recorded the voice work during the training for Charlie’s Angels. What was the attraction?
I had never really thought about doing an animated film and Jeffrey Katzenberg called and said, ‘I really would like you to be a part of this’. They told me about what it was about, and I thought, ‘That sounds like something I’d like to be a part of’. As much as I knew about the process, I knew it wasn’t going to be a full committal of a block of time, they could work it through my schedule, so I didn’t have to commit myself and take myself out of other things...

Brian Barratt

Feature © Visual Imagination Ltd 2001
Images © Dreamworks Home Entertainment. Not for reproduction

Continued in Ultimate DVD #23

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