We've been on a major Shrek bender in our house for the last couple months. We've seen it so many times that my wife and I have singled out favorite lines of dialogue (mine: (Donkey to dragon) "I don't want to rush into a... physical relationship").
When you watch a movie that many times, even a kids movie, you start to think about it in some depth—maybe too much depth. Like, if Lord Farquaad isn't a king, why does he get to rule Duloc? If the the fairy tale creatures have so many magical powers among them, why can't they defeat Farquaad on their own? Why does the princess's voice make a bird explode?
But there is, of course, much to love about Shrek. I think it's actually my favorite kids movie so far. First of all, there's the soundtrack. Everyone associates the movie with those ubiquitous Smash Mouth songs (the latter, of course, a cover of The Monkees), but there's lots more great music in the movie, including The Eels' "My Beloved Monster" and Rufus Wainright's awesome cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah".
But the best part of Shrek is the message. In a lot of ways, Shrek is similar to Beauty & The Beast—a beautiful princess falls in love with a "hideous" ogre—with one very major distinction. At the end of Beauty & The Beast, when the princess shows her love for the beast, she is "rewarded" by him becoming a handsome prince and the beautiful couple live happily ever after. That always bothered me, long before Shrek. The message seems to be "yes, it's really awful to be ugly, but maybe somebody will be nice to you anyway, and you'll become conventionally attractive, like the people on TV." WTF? In Shrek, on the other hand, when the princess and the ogre show their love for each other, she reveals her true self as an ogre (really just a little zaftig—and green) and Shrek loves her just the same ("you are beautiful," he says after her transformation). The "ugly" couple live happily ever after in the glorious diversity of a swamp populated by homeless fairy tale characters.
You and the kiddos can witness this glorious tale of acceptance and love when the stage version of Shrek comes to the Hippodrome, from March 22 to April 3. We'll be there...