i call it shrek when talking to friends, just for ease.
now, i didn't mind the original shrek. it was a funny, cute film, and for once in my life, i didn't leave it thinking of the ways that mike myers could be brutally beaten with a stick, or, in this case, eddie murphy's bones. instead, i had some laughs, thought the animation looked nice, and then left the cinema thinking, hey, what do you know, john lithgow got eaten by a dragon. chalk that up to one of life's little pleasures. i tried to avoid all the things in the film, like you should love yourself for who you are, especially if you're an ugly ogre and an annoying donkey, because these really weren't the kind of thing that make and break a film for me because they're really for children, and on that level, that's nice. i'm sure ugly ogre children and donkey's felt quite validated.
they would, of course, feel quite validated in the sequel, too, because it was the same character arc as the first one. identical. now, okay, this is a kids film, right, gotcha, and i lowered my expectations because this is what i do when i enter a kids film. i tell myself: adult themes and content will not be there. expect heavy handed, learn to be who you are, judge all people as equal stuff. but come on: surely something new could have been found to be said about the characters?
just a little.
just a tiny little bit of something.
but no. it wasn't there. the jokes were the same old jokes. were the people who scripted this thing even trying? they gave me a mission impossible rip off, and sure, i chuckled, but i felt so dirty afterwards. it was such an easy joke, an easy score, that i'd felt like i'd been taken out behind the shed and felt up by the dumb jock who, once he had finished, left ten bucks for the ride home.
this film was about money. everything about it spoke that the desire to make this film came, not because there was another story to tell about shrek and the other characters, but because big fat wads of cash was being offered up. and what wads of cash: i hear that mike myers and eddie murphy and cameron diaz got paid ten million each to lend their voice to the film, a bit of change, really, compared to the way that the characters were then marketed out for just about everything, from computers to football promotions. and it's not like that, by itself, is a shocking thing to happen. hollywood films have long been going into ridiculous amounts of money, and the marketing aspect of it has been around for so long now that i am, really, quite immune to it.
except with shrek.
every time i see shrek, i am seeing cash ogre, a property that is trotted out and used and displayed and told to move right, then left, then jump to whatever the purchaser wants, with not a single person having any affection for the creation outside how much money he can bring in for them. he has nothing to new to say or do, because he is not required to have anything new to say, and in the end, what one is left with is a pretty, but shallow and repetitive film.