Shrek
*** GM
Starring: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, John Lithgow

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I like me some cartoons, even when they're "animation," as some purists may claim the computer-generated flicks should be called. They're fun, often whimsy, and they can get away with things you can't do in live-action. Sometimes, as with the Rocky and Bullwinkle movie, the same stuff from the cartoon just isn't as funny when translated to real life and real people for some intangible reason. So it was my predilection for the 'toons that made me go see "Shrek," even though I was worried from the get-go that Eddie Murphy's donkey character would get annoying REALLY fast. Turns out that he's not the problem... well, okay, he was the problem at first, but a few good turns like bringing up cake and parfaits at weird moments did a lot towards making him enjoyable rather than irritating.

Shrek's a big ol' ogre that finds his nice, lonely existence compromised by lots of fairy tale freaks forced into his swamp by this little Farquaad dude, so he goes to see what's up, then gets sent on a quest to rescue Princess Fiona from a dragon, and winds up fallin' for the lass. This premise gave them lots of opportunities to poke fun at Disney traditions and other fairytale shenanigans, and when they TOOK those opportunities, it was hilarious and a bit twisted. It just didn't feel like the overall story had enough zing to it.

There were a couple instances that, knowing the way I thought as a child, I'd be totally haunted by - the exploding bird and frying up the baby eggs there would have bothered me for a LONG time. But that's just the way I was, being overly sensitive to stupid things like that. Most other kids I knew just would have laughed the way all the kids in the theater now did. The balloon animals floating off into the ether would have disturbed me as well. I'd see the humor, but then I'd start thinking of dumb things like how awful these imaginary characters would feel if that really happened. But that's just autobiographical nonsense.

I've come to expect a lot of fun, energy and comedy in movies like this, and "Shrek" hits the mark most of the time, but there was just enough lacking to notice... and it felt a little bit rushed at times, too. It's odd. But it's a good time and worth checking out.

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