We live in a time where being a contrarian is fetishized and people feel the need to look back on things that are pretty pretty universally liked and attempt to tear them down. It happened with The Office, Eminem, Avengers: Endgame, a plethora of celebrities and every well-liked thing in between and now it’s happening with, arguably, the most shocking one of all: Shrek. Freaking Shrek..
First and foremost, this is just a terrible article. I’m not even talking about the subject matter yet, but just how it’s written. It’s impossible to get through without rereading every other sentence or just flat out skimming through some parts due to the pompous, know-it-all writing style of the writer. I would imagine reading a Game of Thrones book while strapped into the Tilt-A-Whirl at Disney Land would be easier to get through than this garbage. It’s written by someone who thinks he’s smarter than you and he’s going to try to prove it with every paragraph.
The person who wrote this (yes I know his name is there but I refuse to give him any more shine than I already am) very clearly watched Shrek with the sole purpose of critiquing it. He’s the worst type of movie goer: someone who is incapable of watching a movie and simply enjoying it for what it is. Like, dude, it’s an animated movie set in the world of well-known fairytales based around an Ogre and a talking donkey…it’s not that serious.
I can’t bring myself to break down every ridiculous point, line for line, so this is what we’re gonna do…I’ll start at the beginning and just cherry pick some of the worst parts. And we’re not going to get far before we encounter some bullshit. Literally the first sentence and paragraph read like this..
“Shrek has an outhouse with a working toilet.
It is not part of the film’s cynical brand of “irreverence” that an ogre’s latrine is supported by modern plumbing. And it’s certainly not consistent with the hygiene of a swamp-dwelling beast who bathes in mud, brushes his teeth in slime and boasts of a killer weed rat stew. But after our lime-green hero literally wipes his ass with a fairytale ending, it was apparently decided that the film needed that emphatic flushing sound before the Smash Mouth single All Star kicked in and the introductory montage could commence.”
This little snippet is all you need to see in order to realize that this guy has ZERO clue that this movie is not to be taken seriously. He misses a very easy, very silly joke right off the bat: it is funny that Shrek has a working toilet BECAUSE of the fact that he lives in a swamp! You nincompoop. That’s the funny part about it! And don’t you DARE take a shot at the classic that is “All Star”…don’t you fucking dare…
“Shrek is a terrible movie. It’s not funny. It looks awful.”
Just an objectively false statement. Thank you for solidifying the fact that we are, indeed, dealing with a moron. Not funny? Looks awful? YOU aren’t funny and look awful!
He then goes into how Shrek allowed DreamWorks to finally “hit pay dirt” and spawned a bunch of horrible sequels and apparently. Regardless of how bad you think the Shrek sequels were, that shouldn’t impact or lessen your opinion of the OG Shrek. Saw IV is terrible, but the original Saw was tremendous. Frozen was an instant classic but Frozen 2 seemed like an unnecessary cash grab. Hangover II was just a rerun of the original, but that doesn’t make Hangover any less classic.
Then he dropped this gem.
“But it’s worth pointing out how comprehensively bad its legacy remains, opening the floodgates for other major studios to pile celebrities into recording booths, feed them committee-polished one-liners and put those lines in the mouths of sassy CGI animals or human-ish residents of the uncanny valley”
So do we say Eminem sucks for the “legacy” he left of trash white rappers? Do we say X-Men sucked due to its “legacy” of some superhero movies being subpar? Why should the quality of the original of anything get called into question just because some projects that came after it in the same genre were bad? That makes no sense. And celebrities voice acting was and is nothing new. Who would you like these studios to get? Unknowns that won’t help them sell their movie? Smart plan!
Go talk to The Rock, Kristen Bell, John Cena, Justin Timberlake, Amy Poehler, Tim Allen and COUNTLESS more celebs who have critically successful movies doing voice acting. I’m sure they would disagree with the second part of your statement there. Actors and actresses enjoy doing voice work and spitting out those “committee- polished one-liners” you seem to despise so deeply and most other people do as well. It’s probably because your mind is too dense to catch the simple jokes, but that’s a personal issue. Don’t project that on a talking donkey.
He then dribbles on about how “uninterested it (Shrek) seems to be in the fairytale universe it creates” but then almost instantly contradicts himself by bringing up every fairytale Shrek goes through including Sleeping Beauty, Robin Hood and Brothers Grimm. So Shrek didn’t “create” any fairytale universe, it’s just a separate movie set in the fairytale setting. Another detail than this nimrod can’t seem to quite understand.
The writer then, for some reason, decides to compare the animation and overall look of this movie to it’s modern day counterparts, choosing Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse as one of the comparisons. This I have a huge issue with because 1. As time goes on, the quality of animated movies changes as the technology used to make them does. So comparing a movie that’s almost 20 years old to a movie made a couple years ago is just idiotic and 2. They are completely different animation styles to begin with. That’d be like comparing Tim Burton movies to Pixar. It doesn’t make sense.
This is the final paragraph:
“In the end, Shrek didn’t save DreamWorks from selling itself off a few years later. It didn’t extend Myers’s career past a hard expiration date. And Katzenberg went on to found Quibi. The entire enterprise is better left in the past.”
This is a strange criticism. So let me get this straight: because Shrek didn’t save an entire movie studio (even though earlier in the article he praises Shrek for allowing DreamWorks to ‘hit paydirt’) or extend an actors career (who the writer seems to have a grudge with since he takes multiple not-so-veiled shots at Myers throughout), that means it sucked? I just want to make sure I see where these blasphemous goal posts are in this guy’s twisted little mind.
Moral of the story is Shrek is a classic that isn’t made for people like this who can’t just sit back and enjoy anything in life without being a contrarian. So I’m gonna go rewatch Shrek for the 100th time and guess what, in the morning? I’m making waffles.