It’s not often that an animated children’s film retains such a strong legacy among its aging audiences, nor is there one that has infiltrated popular culture like Shrek. The 2001 DreamWorks film won an Academy Award for Best Picture and even made it onto the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry in 2020.
Shrek (2001) was a hit on its own, but later episodes helped expand Shrek’s verse by exploring “Far Far Away” worlds and secondary character origin stories as well. What began as a simple premise, the story of an ogre fighting for his swamp and ultimately his true love, has since spawned a franchise of sequels, specials, and shorts. But according to fans, some Shrek movies and specials fared better than the rest. More importantly, can a sequel actually be better than the original?
‘Idol Far Away’ (2004)
In the DVD and VHS version of Shrek 2fans were treated to an interactive singing competition video, far away idol. Based on the hit reality show at the time, American Idol, the special star judge Simon Cowell like himself.
In what one Reddit user describes as a “fever dream,” Fiona, Shrek, Donkey, and other beloved characters take part in the parody singing contest. Sadly, Cowell’s character refused to crown anyone as the winner – but the public was then able to vote for their favorite singer online. Leave him Shrek to stay on top of pop culture moments.
‘Shrek The Halls’ (2007)
Throughout the 2000s, the Shrek the franchise was a gift that kept on giving (literally). Shrek the halls aired on TV during the 2007 holiday season. If you follow the verse from Shrek, that means it takes place between Shrek the Third and shrek forever.
Shrek the Halls follows the titular green ogre as he searches for the perfect gift for Fiona and prepares the swamp for the festivities with his new family. But what is the meaning of Christmas? That’s what Shrek – referred to as “Ebenezer Shrek” by his wife – must find out with the help of his friends from fairy tales and classic holiday stories. While some Redditors deem the special “a bit mediocre”, user u/STAugustine-Of-Hippo writes that it’s a “nice family vacation experience”.
“Scared Shreckless” (2010)
In a 30-minute TV special, Shrek, Fiona and a host of fairy tale creatures tell spooky tales – the winner will be considered “the King of Halloween”. The 2010 special was released just a few months later shrek forever and included the three new baby ogres. Surely the stories would have been too scary for them?
Anyway, three stories were told that night, parodying three classic tales: “The Bridge of Gingy”, “Boots Motel”, and “The Shreksorcist”. Did the TV special make sense? Maybe not. But Reddit user u/oh-ok-yeah writes, “I was thinking about the Shrek Halloween special where the deceased characters from the Shrek the cinematic universe was reanimated, and I realized that every antagonist who ever wronged Shrek was killed for it.
“Shrek the Third” (2007)
Never afraid of borderline inappropriate lines and situations, Shrek the Third raises the bar on mature content. After all, Shrek and Fiona had started discussing having kids – all amidst a plot to overthrow the throne.
There’s a lot of controversy on Reddit, with some calling the franchise’s third installment “useless” or having a “little story” after the opening scenes. But Shrek the Third has its moments, namely its humor aimed at older audiences and Prince Charming’s “smart transition from secondary villain to main villain”. It’s hard to be the third film in a trilogy, but Shrek the Third continued to hold its place in popular culture. Unfortunately, the film couldn’t eclipse the two that preceded it.
‘Shrek Forever After’ (2010)
In fourth and final Shrek episode, Shrek and Fiona celebrate their triplets’ first birthday. This leaves Shrek contemplating his new version of life: marriage, children, fame. He makes a deal with Rumpelstiltskin that results in Shrek not being born again. And because this is the world of fairy tales, the only way Shrek can break the curse and return to his own life is with true love’s kiss.
A lot has changed for Shrek since the 2001 original – it’s this midlife crisis that makes him want to spend his bachelor days hiding in the swamp. As Reddit user u/Cineflect points out, the plot of shrek forever is similar to It’s a wonderful lifeteaching fans to appreciate what they have and how life changes.
“Puss in Boots” (2011)
The success of Shrek, in part, can be attributed to its beloved characters and their own stories. With that in mind, Puss in Boots became the franchise’s first origin story/prequel for a supporting character. The film followed the titular furry fugitive on his lawless adventures. And be careful not to mess with the timeline of the Shrek saga, the creators staged the story of Puss two years before her appearance in Shrek 2.
The 2011 film grossed over $500 million at the box office while it ran and received an Oscar nomination the following year. So what about this sword-wielding cat was so appealing to fans nearly a decade after the first Shrek created? Reddit user u/Daviddv1202 explains that Puss in Boots didn’t have “one of the best soundtracks of the entire saga”, but his script also weaved in a lot of action sequences with a background. of character. But the Puss in Boots story didn’t end there, as the character continues to appear in TV shows and movies even today.
The early years were filled with exciting animated films, but Shrek offered a buddy story that had never before seen on screen. Shrek and Donkey’s friendship is formed as they pass through Duloc, hoping to return to his swamp from Lord Farquad. It leads the duo on a dangerous mission to rescue Princess Fiona, filled with plenty of musical montages and moments of self-discovery. The plot is quite simple as with any fairy tale story, but Shrek challenges these tropes all the same.
Since 2001, Shrek has become the pinnacle of culture. Smash Mouth’s “All Star,” after all, will forever be associated with the film’s opening montage and the vivid imagery of Shrek’s swamp. Along with its many memorable moments, according to Redditor u/_Wadsy_, the film that led a franchise has an overall fun plot, a great villain, and a beautiful friendship that’s formed between Shrek and Donkey. It’s a film that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but has maintained a strong fan base even 20 years later.
‘Shrek 2’ (2004)
The honeymoon is over for Shrek and Fiona, and now it’s time to meet the in-laws. The two – with Donkey, of course – travel to a land far, far away, where Fiona’s parents, King Harold and Queen Lillian, are planning a royal ball for the newlyweds. It turns out that Far Far Away resembles big consumer cities like New York or Los Angeles, and is full of new fairy tale characters from Fiona’s past. Some of them (like Prince Charming and his mother, the Fairy Godmother) despise marriage and seek to destroy the two ogres of their happiness forever.
Shrek 2 is not just a sequel, but a continuation of Shrek and Fiona’s love story against the backdrop of a twisted fairy tale world. As Reddit user u/ZacktheKingsfan shares, Shrek and Fiona remaining as ogres “reaffirmed the message” that was presented in the first. Shrek. Shrek 2 offered the same meta perspective on classic fairy tale tropes, while including exciting Disney characters, new villains, and even more jaw-dropping musical numbers.
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