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OnTV Today's Date:

Rating: PG
Release Date: November 2, 2001
Running Time: approximately 98 minutes
Ten-second Rundown: A strangely charming ogre completely embarrasses Disney by being the top film of the year - until the Monsters came to town...
Version: Two-Disc Special Edition

  • Commentary by directors Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson, with producer Aron Warner

  • Shrek's ReVoice Studio (DVD-ROM)

  • Game Swamp Arcade

  • Shrek's Music Room

  • Favorite Scenes Selection

  • Interviews with Main Characters

  • Behind-the-scenes featurette

  • Shrek in the Swamp Karaoke Dance Party

  • Storyboard Pitches of Deleted Scenes

  • Technical Goofs

  • "The Tech of Shrek"

  • Hints for the Shrek Xbox game

  • Character Design Production Reel

  • International Dubbing Featurette

  • trailers

  • Production notes, cast and crew bios

  • Choice Scene:Lord Farquaad tortures the Gingerbread Man.

    Tech Specs: Widescreen, aspect ratio 1.78:1 or full screen 4:3, English, French and Spanish 5.1 surround sound, English 2.0 sound, subtitles in English, French, and Spanish.

    By now you've seen the hype and you've seen the sales records, but have you actually seen the movie?

    The ironic story of an ogre forced into going on a quest for a fair maiden smartly trashes quite a few fairy tales, and more than a few iconic movie moments. Rumor has it that Dreamworks will be pushing it for a Best Picture nomination, and after watching this DVD a few times, you may come to agree with them.

    Dreamworks has bent over backwards to please both the casual fan of the movie and the DVD/film purist. In two beautiful transfers, the release offers a full-screen version on disc one and wide-screen on disc two. But don't get too wrapped up in either disc, because the extras are plentiful and varied on both.

    Only the wide-screen version offers commentary, and for those of us who listen to these things, it's fun, irreverent and informative. The directors spend a good amount of time dissecting their scene and characterization choices, with allusions to earlier, very different versions of the story. As should be the purpose of commentary, it serves as an excellent lesson in film story-telling.

    The only iffy moment comes as all three commentators fall all over themselves citing every influence on Shrek's entrance to Duloc except for the very obvious Disneyland. Director Vicky Jenson even brings up Universal City as a source (Universal Studios did have a Shrek attraction this past summer). Even if she meant the Citywalk, anyone who has been there can tell you it looks nothing like Duloc. The lady doth protest too much, methinks. Just call a spade a Disney spade. If it's funny, comedy need not apologize.

    For tech-heads, there are a few different behind-the-scenes documentaries that shed light on various aspects of production. Particularly of interest (and echoed in the commentary) is a featurette on the international dubbing, and the problems involved with finding foreign voices (and translations) as effective as the originals. Dreamworks animation head Jeffrey Katzenberg pops up to brag about how the animators made Fiona too realistic and had to scale back; if there is anything missing from these docs, it's proof of Katzenberg's statement.

    And now for the kids' stuff…

    After trying on a couple of different systems, Shrek's ReVoice Studio had iffy results for us. According to the specs, you must be running Windows 98SE (sorry Mac guys - and I'm one of them - we're screwed. Again.). One of our testers managed to get it up and running; one did not. Once working, though, we get reports that it's kind of fun.

    As for the Game Swamp, our tester who made it in reports that the games work well and distracted his kids for a few hours. No man can ask for more.

    Except that now there is. Both discs (and the VHS release) feature a "new ending." Really, it's more of a coda. Automatically running after the credits, or accessible through a musical note on the main menu, the folks at PDI have included Shrek's Karaoke Dance Party, a montage of characters singing various snippets of popular songs to a disco beat. For adults, it will be amusing once or twice; for kids, my house is at 19 times and counting.

    The movie itself would be worth buying. With the potential eleven hours of additional material, it becomes even more of a deal.

    Buy it on DVD here.

    Buy it on VHS here.

  • Derek McCaw


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