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Why Everyone Should Watch Shrek

By @Bananavianna

I’ve been sick for seven days now, so I’m just gonna make it all up right here, right now.

 

Shrek wonderfully portrays great moral lessons, and even does this better than some popular movies and shows, such as Beauty and the Beast. “Why would an animated movie about an ogre, and a talking donkey voiced by Eddie Murphy convey a serious message?” you may ask. Well, I guess sometimes judging something by a set of preconceived judgments can be deceiving, as this is the very message the movie instigates. In order to understand how I came to this conclusion in the first place, we must go back to several days ago, when my brother and I, sick, decided to watch an old favourite of ours, Shrek. As we were watching with our undivided attention, we were both making observations and insights that went way beyond what you would expect of one enjoying an animated, kids’ movie. Things such as “Oh, you can tell his pessimistic attitude was harbored deep from his childhood.” and “There was clever foreshadowing here when he did this.” and such. We had a blast from analyzing the movie, and I decided to write this paper. In this paper, first, I will explain what message the movie conveyed, exactly why Shrek was such an influential, iconic movie that will be remembered forever, and why this movie’s message can be considered better than that of a Disney classic with a similar message, Beauty and the Beast.

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First, to summarize what happened in the movie, it starts by introducing a grumpy, isolated ogre, who is pestered by people who want to take on the “terrifying monster”. All whom Shrek meets in his life think he’s disgusting and terrifying, and this creates a very pessimistic individual, who has learned to develop emotional walls and thick skin, and not rely on others. Things change when Shrek meets someone who isn’t afraid of or disgusted by him, a talking donkey. Shrek seems to be annoyed by this new addition to the group, but finds something he hasn’t experienced before: a friend. This defies his previous negative outlook of others, thinking that it’s ultimately no use to try to be friendly because people always think he’s a terrifying monster. He goes on a quest with his new friend to get his house back from uninvited fairy-tale creatures, and rescues a princess from a tower. Fiona, the princess he saves, demands that he reveal his face to her, and he does, reluctantly (but revealing the slightest bit of hope?); She is, expectantly, disgusted, but this is secretly due to the unexpected reminder of her own monster she’s hiding and fighting, herself. She is under a curse that turns her into an ogre, like him, after sunset. Shrek is unfazed by her response, and continues the task he set out to do, his delivery of her to Lord Farquaad. Throughout their journey, Shrek and Fiona draw closer, but are held back from expectations, and their clearly different life paths. Fiona reveals her secret to Donkey, and says that she hopes to break the spell in true love’s kiss, but she is afraid that Shrek will be repulsed by the true her. Her hate towards this other version of herself causes her to mistakenly believe that even Shrek would hate her for it, believing she’s a monster, even though she is just like him. In a miscommunication issue, Shrek thinks that she’s referring to him as the monster, and decides to take her to Lord Farquaad, and she believes that he can’t love the true her. After hearing the truth, in an act of heart, Shrek interrupts the wedding of her and Lord Farquaad to confess his love for her. During this, the curse is activated, and Fiona turns into an ogre. Shrek and Fiona decide to remain together, despite their very different lives, and kiss in an act of true love. Fiona, supposedly to take love’s true form, believes she will become beautiful, but she turns into an ogre. She exclaims, “I don’t understand. I’m supposed to be beautiful.” and Shrek replies, “But you are beautiful.” I believe this line is the most important in the movie, because it is the final realization that looks, prejudice, bias, and preconceived misconceptions play no part in who someone truly is.

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Shrek became very popular. And I mean very. “Produced on a $60 million budget, the film was a huge box office smash and is the fourth highest-grossing film of 2001 behind Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s StoneThe Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, and Monsters, Inc..[3] The film sold an estimated 47,290,600 tickets in North America.[98]”says Wikipedia, from which I’m too lazy and tired to cite properly, and is a great, trustworthy source for tired students to pry from like bloodthirsty vultures feasting and tearing from the gift of questionable knowledge.The movie, however, was not just financially successful, as it once again became popular around 2010, being the subject of a wonderful new blessing called “memes”. Another reason why the movie became successful, other than the wonderful cast of voice actors, the unique animation, and adult humour, was the soundtrack; most specifically “All Star” by Smash Mouth. This song, too, being the subject of memes that I will link to.

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This has been discussed previously in an article, and I will include a link to it, but essentially it said: Beauty and the Beast ended with the idea that falling for someone despite preconceived negative judgments can reap rewards of them really not being that “disgusting being” you thought they were at first and the relief of “Oh thank goodness I won’t have to actually live with that”, which is already not the greatest message, neglecting to include the normalized idea of Stockholm Syndrome and toxic relationships. Shrek, however, followed a similar idea, but instead of them “becoming beautiful” after deciding to choose their love over the lives they were destined to have, Fiona permanently became an ogre. She admits her surprise when she says, “I don’t understand. I’m supposed to be beautiful.” and Shrek replies, “But you are beautiful.” This conveys the message of physical beauty not having any merit when it comes to revealing who one truly is, and also follows the message of the movie to not judge someone by their appearance.

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Overall, Shrek was a movie that included a meaningful message of self-love and not judging a book by its cover, was insanely popular for good reason, and portrayed its message in a way that was better than even Beauty and the Beast. This pretty much sums up the paper, but this paragraph seems like it needs to look longer, so I’ll just add some unnecessary thinking and explanation. I’m very tired. I had a long, physical day and haven’t been sleeping well lately. So that’s why I believe that Shrek is a movie that everyone should see; not just for the belly laughs, raunchy humor, and bomb soundtrack, but to look closer at the hidden meaningful message behind it.

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Vianna, out. *mic drop*

 

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