“10 Reasons Shrek Is Still One Of The Best Movies Of The 2000s”

The original Shrek, which was released in 2001, is nearing its 20th anniversary. In looking back over the past two decades, it is unsurprising that the Dreamworks film, which starred Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, and Cameron Diaz, remains one of the best and most beloved movies of the 2000s.

But with Shrek, this is especially poignant, as it is a computer-animated film. Even as these kinds of ‘cartoon’ movies become more and more realistic, with new releases like Frozen 2 and Moana bearing striking resemblances to real-world imagery, Shrek remains king, and here’s why.

10 It Is Purely Enjoyable

Few animated movies are as fun to watch as Shrek is. Of course, this fact is nothing more than a result of all the many careful aspects that went into the creation of this film, yet it still begs to mention.

Not every amazing film is truly enjoyable to watch. Movies like Schindler’s List and Joker are undeniably amazing movies, with emotional, heavy scripts and fantastic acting. But that doesn’t make those movies fun to watch. Likewise, there are also plenty of movies that are fun to watch without necessarily being well-done. (Films like Grownups comes to mind here). Shrek managed the difficult task of making an objectively fantastic film that is also immensely fun to watch.

9 It’s For All Ages

In keeping with that theme of pure enjoyment, Shrek also accomplished the difficult task of making a movie targeted to kids that is still enjoyable for adults. The entire genre of ‘kids’ movies has one major Achilles Heel; the vast majority of them are targeted solely to the kids, leaving their parents bored and tired in the theater.

Very few animated kids movies have actually managed to keep the attention of an older audience, and Shrek did far more than just keep their attention. By the time the sequel was released, the parents were likely the ones dragging their kids to the theater, rather than the other way around.

8 The Animation

The last 20 years have seen enormous strides in computer animation, for both animated films as well as special effects in live-action films. Again, movies like Moana and Frozen provide real proof of just how far animation has come – this is especially evident in any scenes in those films involving water.

Those animation teams made animated water look real, which is no easy feat. But even with that, what Shrek was able to accomplish for its time is astounding. Of course, the characters and the setting do not look realistic per se, but whether or not that was intentional, the effect is far better. What Shrek gave us was something artistic. Yes, it is a cartoon, but it is detailed, colorful, and clear.

7 It’s A Parody

Some of the greatest movies of all time fall under the umbrella heading of the ‘parody.’ Achievements like Spaceballs, History of the World, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and The Naked Gun are just a few of the legendary films (headed largely by Mel Brooks) that have broken ground in the comedy genre by simply poking fun at some concept, person, or idea. In this, Shrek is no exception.

Though it is a surprisingly complex story at times, at its core, Shrek parodies the entire concept of the fairytale. Here, the fairytale creatures (fairies, talking bears, blind mice, a big bad wolf, and three little piggies) are hated by regular humans and are also largely helpless. Part of this is a commentary on imperialism, with Lord Farquad displacing these fairytale creatures, forcing them to register with the government, and then throwing them together on one small piece of land, yet the fact that the creators of Shrek had the idea to take a beloved children’s concept and flip it on its head is immensely unique.

6 It’s Original

Too many films today are reliant on old themes and reused concepts. Sequels have become far too popular, and many of them are little more than rehashes of original accomplishments. The Star Wars sequel trilogy is a prime example of this, as much of the those three films were carbon copies of the famed original trilogy. A sequel to Top Gun is coming out, another Bad Boys movies has been released, and Spider-Man has been remade three times in the last 20 years.

Shrek is even more special because of the extreme saturation of old, reused concepts that we see everywhere else. This was a film that was entirely original, incredibly different, and undeniably unique.

5 The Cast

A film can have amazing animation and the best writing, but without a stellar cast, it just won’t come together. The cast of Shrek is truly legendary. Mike Myers, the comedic genius who starred in Austin Powers, is owed significant credit for the success of Shrek. It was his decision, in a last-minute, though no less dramatic shift, to give Shrek that iconic Scottish accent – we can’t imagine Shrek without that. Eddie Murphy brought Donkey to life, speaking (and humming) at 10,000 words a minute, irritating Shrek and making everyone laugh.

Cameron Diaz embodied the tough warrior princess that is Fiona with the perfect mix of grace and strength, and Antonio Banderas made our favorite assassin-cat feel real.

4 The Message

“Ogres are like onions! They have layers.”

In addition to all the jokes that permeate just about every scene in the film, Shrek also had its fair share of serious moments. It is in these moments that truly important messages shine through. The most significant of these is that no one is ever as they seem, a message that was driven home through multiple arcs in the story. The most obvious of these is that Shrek himself is persecuted and hated, for no reason other than he is big, scary, and ugly.

On the inside, he is kind, and he is hurting from his constant loneliness. Fiona, the beautiful, graceful princess, also has this secret, that she becomes an Ogre every night – the point is driven home that this does not make her deserving of baseless hatred or abuse. And even Dragon, who seems to be a terrifying monster, is just another person looking for companionship, which she found with Donkey. These messages are always important, but even more so today, with the world is so divided.

3 The Soundtrack

The soundtracks to all Shrek films, though notably the first two, are undeniably amazing. Led to success by Smash Mouth, songs like Allstar and their cover of I’m a Believer became instant hits, spawned countless spoofs and memes, and are always perfect throwbacks to ’01.

The soundtrack has a perfect mix of original music, original versions, and regular songs, all perfectly ordered and placed to keep the pace moving. And the original songs just add to the humor that is so present throughout the film. This is most obvious in Robin Hood’s little musical number, the words to which are absolutely hilarious.

2 The Jokes

One of the best things about Shrek is that it will never cease to make you laugh. But instead of relying on goofy actions and random scenarios, the humor in Shrek is smart, careful, and largely innuendo. Lord Farquad’s entire name and character, as well as his size, laid the perfect groundwork for countless witty jabs from Shrek about compensation, among other things.

Beyond that, several other moments where songs or phrases (usually with rhymes) made it seem like they were about to drop profanity but didn’t at the last second (wipe your…face; he likes to get…paid).

1 The Writing

Every time fans rewatch Shrekthey’re struck by how incredible the writing is. Not only are the genius-level writers responsible for weaving positive messages, endless jokes, and innuendo into a cohesive, engaging story, they are also responsible for crafting those same messages and jokes.

But it is definitely in the humor that the writing transcends good and becomes legendary. The innuendo is constant, never blatant, and somehow never forced. The way these jokes are led-in and so subtly uttered is always both stunning and hilarious. At the end of the day, it is the writing that is responsible for creating a film that is truly worthy of being called timeless.

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