Sometimes a movie comes along that takes everyone by surprise and becomes a huge box office hit. Twenty years ago, one of these films was Universal Studios'/DreamWorks' animated hit, Shrek. With an all-star cast of comedic vocal talent, the movie was funny and sweet and so successful that it went on to have three sequels (with a fourth one rumored to be in the works), an amusement park ride, and two television specials. It went on to become the second-highest-grossing animated franchise of all time. Therefore, it is no surprise that, in honor of the original Shrek movie's twentieth anniversary, the film is being released on 4K.
Shrek (Mike Myers; The Austin Powers series) is a big, green ogre who lives alone in a swamp. He doesn't socialize or like to be disturbed so one can only imagine how he felt when his swamp was suddenly overrun by fairy-tale creatures who have been exiled by Lord Farquaad (John Lithgow; 3rd Rock from the Sun). Shrek, annoyed with the invasion of his home, journey's to Farquaad's castle. Tagging along, much to Shrek's dismay is a Donkey that can talk (Eddie Murphy; Coming to America). When they arrive, Shrek merely wants to speak to Lord Farquaad but ends up defeating all the knights in Farquaad's tournament, therefore requiring him to rescue Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz; Knight and Day) from a dragon so Farquaad can marry her.
Shrek became such a big hit because it had several components that came together perfectly. It was well written with the perfect amount of humor, it had a terrific cast, excellent animation, and a kick-butt soundtrack. Myers brought a curious mix of aloofness and humanity to Shrek, while Murphy was equally annoying and funny as the talking Donkey. Diaz had a sassiness to her voice, which made princess Fiona outspoken and blunt.
If one were to ask how the movie Shrek could be improved upon, I would probably have told them it can't. However, with the UHD version, there is some improvement in the picture quality. Being 20 years old, the animation doesn't get much cleaner or sharper, but the color palette has a slight uptick, which is especially noticeable in the black tones. The DTS:X master audio, on the other hand, offers a rich and robust soundtrack including the dialogue. Most of the extras consist of previously released material and are spread out over three discs. They include:
- Blu-ray Disc One (Feature Film): The Animators' Corner, Shrek's Interactive Journey, Spotlight on Donkey, Secrets of Shrek, Deleted Scenes, Audio Commentary: Directors Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson and Producer Aron Warner and Shrek, Rattle & Roll
- Blu-ray Disc Two (Special Features): Shrek's Short Films, Shrek's Halloween Favorites, Shrek's Holiday Favorites, and The Adventures of Puss In Boots TV Episodes
- 4K Disc: Shrek's Interactive Journey, Spotlight on Donkey, Secrets of Shrek, Deleted Scenes and Shrek in the Swamp Karaoke Dance Party (Baha Men "Best Years of Our Lives", Smash Mouth "I'm a Believer", Shrek The Musical: "What's Up, Duloc?", and Audio Commentary: Directors Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson and Producer Aron Warner.
It is interesting to note that only the original film received the UHD treatment. Perhaps Universal Pictures will do the same at each sequels' twentieth anniversary. Maybe they are waiting to see how this first one does in sales before offering the others in this advanced manner.
The bottom line is Shrek is a great movie that adults and kids can both enjoy. With humor, likable characters, great songs, and a talking DONKEY! It makes for a terrific family night movie. I recommend you get one for yourself before they sell out!