Tuesday, June 25, 2019
Who's in it?: Mike Myers (Wayne's World, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery), Eddie Murphy (Beverly Hills Cop, The Golden Child), Cameron Diaz (The Mask, My Best Friend's Wedding, Charlie's Angels), and John Lithgow (The Manhattan Project, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Daddy's Home Two).
What's it about?: When a self-absorbed noble (Lithgow) forcefully relocates all the fairy tale creatures to a remote swamp, the ogre (Myers) who inhabits the swamp strikes a deal to rescue a princess (Diaz) in exchange for getting his privacy back.
How is it?: I always groan a little at the thought of watching a Shrek movie. My immediate associations are that the films are funny, but full of dated pop culture references and unattractive character designs (especially of the human characters). But then I watch one and remember why they're so popular.
I'll focus just on the first one for this entry, because I do plan to watch and write about the others, but while I still don't like the design of the human characters, the humor is much more personality-based and enduring than I ever remember and there's a lot of heart. There are a lot less fairy tale references in the first one, too. The fairy tale characters are used to kickstart the plot, but the film is really all about Shrek, his unwelcome sidekick Donkey (Murphy), and Princess Fiona. Also Lord Farquaad, who doesn't end up being much of a threat, but mostly it's about Shrek and Fiona's overcoming prejudices, expectations, and insecurities, with Donkey cheering them on.
There are some great fairy tale gags in the beginning though. I love Pinocchio's falsetto voice and his untrue insistence that he's a real boy. He's humorously annoying enough that I also love that Geppetto turns him over to Farquaad's men without a word. There's also a fun comparison between Snow White, Cinderella, and Fiona, with Fiona being the most desirable choice between the three (at least for the selfish, unfeeling Farquaad). The best gag though is undoubtedly the interrogation of the Gingerbread Man with the whole Muffin Man conversation.
But again, the whole movie is very funny to me, including the anachronistic references, but especially MVP Eddie Murphy's being funnier than he's been since the '80s. I still don't love the whole movie, but it ends up being super rewatchable.
Rating: 4 out of 5 gingerbread men.