Directed by Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson, starring Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and John Lithgow.
There have always been family-targeted animation movies designed to entertain the entire brood, which for the most part occludes the parents' enjoyment. Adults find them at best visually interesting, at worst tolerably 'cute'. In recent years the FTAM has broadened its horizons so much so that humour, story, and most noticeably animation technique has evolved into something polar to the classic 'Snow White and The Seven Dwarves'.
Perhaps the biggest reason for this new credibility is the calibre of top film-stars and comedians willing to contribute vocals. For recent big screen animations like 'Toy Story' (Tom Hanks, Tim Allen) 'A Bug's Life' (Kevin Spacey, Denis Leary) and 'Antz' (bizarrely, Woody Allen), the array of stars on offer was undoubtedly one of the main draws for adult viewers.
This summer's blockbuster is 'Shrek', an anarchic tale that pairs a grumpy ogre with a garrulous donkey in a bid to save a beautiful princess from marrying the evil Lord Farquaad. Mike Myers plays the lonesome ogre who gets embroiled in the rescue attempt, after encountering a chatterbox donkey (Eddie Murphy) who won't leave him alone. The daring duo brave the wrath of Farquaad, perilous terrain and the unwanted attentions of an amorous female dragon. Cameron Diaz is the radiant royal with the dark secret and John Lithgow is the vertically challenged Lord Farquaad. There are some cheeky set pieces lifted from other films like 'Babe' and notably the action scenes form 'The Matrix' and 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon'.
It's an entertaining, funny tale and superbly animated. Myers is excellent as the grouchy gremlin whose heart is stolen by the Princess. Eddie Murphy almost steals the show as his asinine cohort. Diaz is her wholesome self as the princess, and Lithgow is coolly menacing as the evil Lord. It's visually stunning, garnering a screening at this year's Cannes Film Festival - the first animated feature to be shown there in almost fifty years. Good clean fun with lots of humour and the odd joke that kids won't get thrown in.