I've learned something mildly interesting about myself. I have trouble distinguishing someone's voice in animation. Some are obvious, like Gene Hackman and Woody Allen in one of the ant movies. But there are a few that just don't sound like themselves. Sharon Stone in an ant movie and Mel Gibson in Chicken Run, for example. And in this movie, Mike Myers and Cameron Diaz. I did recognize Eddie Murphy and John Lithgow, though.
Anyway, this movie is basically a Disney-esque fairy tale. It's cute and fun. It has a reasonable smattering of double entendres and other veiled jokes for adults. It has a few references to modern culture thrown in.
The animation was generally pretty good. Wench was impressed with the grass, since they rendered individual blade. That didn't strike me as all that impressive. The fur on the donkey was pretty good. But they weren't really going for photorealism. Yet, they seemed to be attempting to approach it in some places, like the close-ups of some of the humans. So it was kind of hard to judge whether to view something as cartoon style or photorealistic style. It didn't detract from the movie too much, but it did catch my attention a couple of times.
For example, in one scene Cameron Diaz' character uses martial arts moves on a group of men. They do the spinning camera thing, just like her character in Charlie's Angels (which I haven't seen, yet.) I'm guessing it was probably exactly the same pose.
Another example is when they have Shrek fighting a group of the king's guards and they end up in a little wrestling rink and they do some WWF stunts. This bit was maybe a little too silly. But it didn't last long.
Early in the movie, the king decrees that all of the fairy tale creatures should be rounded up. The king ends up dumping them into Shrek's swamp. But the makers of the movie didn't stick to just fairy tale creatures. They also have nursery rhyme creatures, such as the three blind mice. And legendary characters, like Robin Hood.
They also changed some of these characters. The one that stood out the most was Robin Hood. They made him French. None of us could figure out why they did that. It didn't seem to be a change necessary for his small part in the movie.
One thing that just occurred to me. They have Eddie Murphy's talking donkey character spend a lot of time getting away from the king's guards, when he would have ended up in the swamp with Shrek, anyway. I know it was a plot device to get them to meet. But during that scene the implication was that the consequences were going to be a lot more dire.
The ending was pretty clearly telegraphed and didn't have any surprises. It was just what you would expect. Somehow it came across a bit flat. Nothing comes to mind on how they could have punched it up, but it needed something.
On my brother's Total Movie Value Scale, Matinee. A well-executed Disney-esque fairy tale.
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