Fairy tales provide timeless, but often predictable characters and plot lines. Princesses are kind and alluring young women who face some kind of jeopardy, usually because of a jealous relative. A brave prince is needed to secure her safety, and after some exciting twists and turns, they live happily ever after. Although Cameron Diaz is in "Sex Tape," a new film that bears little resemblance to any respectable fairy tale, she holds forth as a very unconventional princess in the 2001 animated fairy tale, "Shrek."
In "Shrek," the unlikely hero, Shrek (voiced by Mike Myers), is a big, unsavory ogre who lives in a small shack all by himself. Since anti-ogre bias is an ongoing issue for him, he makes his peace with his loner lifestyle. One day, while walking through a forest, he meets Donkey (voiced by Eddie Murphy), one of many animals and characters who has been ostracized by Lord Farquaad (voiced by John Lithgow). Like Shrek, Donkey does not have friends. Our hero finds him annoying since he rarely stops talking. He agrees to let Donkey spend one night at his shack. One that night, various fairy tale characters come to Shrek's swamp. Wanting to get rid of them, Shrek goes with Donkey to Farquaad's castle. Farquaad sends the cross-species buddy team on a mission to go to a dragon-guarded castle to find Princess Fiona (voiced by Diaz) and bring her back so he can marry her and assume control of his kingdom. On their way back to the castle, Shrek and Fiona fall for each other.
"Shrek" has many memorable action scenes. One is when Shrek and Donkey find Fiona and have to bring her out of the castle. The fire-breathing dragon makes that very difficult, though quite funny. Another is a hilarious fight between Fiona and Robin Hood and his men. Like many movie scenes from the early 2000s, this scene is inspired by "The Matrix."
Mike Myers does strong work in the lead role. Although he is grouchy, Shrek is still a sympathic hero. Eddie Murphy is very funny as Donkey, his talkative sidekick.
"Shrek" is a great choice for fans of animation and classic stories, with a twist.