A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Intended to entertain rather than educate.
Staying true to yourself, looking beyond appearances, and the power of friendship are big themes. (But there's also a fair bit of bodily function humor.)
Positive Role Models
Princess Fiona is a strong character who challenges the prim 'n' proper princess stereotype. Shrek seems cantankerous and rude, but he has a tender heart and is ultimately trustworthy, loyal, and brave. Donkey is a dedicated friend. Many characters demonstrate the qualities of curiosity, integrity, perseverance, and teamwork.
Violence & Scariness
Characters in peril; ogre hunters wave pitchforks and torches; a bird explodes; scary fire-breathing dragon (who is much less scary when she gets a crush on Donkey); one character is eaten in one gulp by the dragon.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Mild sexual humor. Some innuendo that will go over kids' head (for example, when Shrek sees the big tower that is Farquaad's castle and says to Donkey, "Gee, think he's compensating for something?").
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Strong language for a kids' movie, including "damn," "ass," and "crap."
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Products & Purchases
Lots of tie-in products available in real life.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Shrek includes some edgy humor directed at teens and adults. The jokes that teens and adults snicker at (like when Shrek wonders whether the small Lord Farquaad is compensating for something with his very tall castle) will be over the head of most younger kids, but parents should be ready for some questions. There's also plenty of potty humor and gross-out jokes directed at kids – mostly based on the appalling personal habits of ogres. Scary scenes for young ones include fights with guards, villagers coming after Shrek with pitchforks, and a fire-breathing dragon (who turns nice when she falls for Donkey). A bird explodes, and its eggs are eaten, and a character is eaten in one gulp by the dragon, but it's not graphic. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The movie is a marvelous fairy tale, with a thrilling quest and a happily-ever-after ending. Shrek has the great themes of enduring myths, about believing in yourself, being loved for the person you really are, and good triumphing over evil. It is also a delicious satire, tweaking all of our assumptions about ogres, princesses, rescues, and even fire-breathing dragons. The voice talents of Mike Myers (as the Scottish-burred Shrek), Eddie Murphy (as Donkey the talking donkey), Cameron Diaz (as Princess Fiona), and John Lithgow (as Farquaad) are all perfect.
The computer animation is breathtaking for its time, like nothing seen before it. The textures are stunning. The glass, fire, clouds, and water seem three-dimensional, and you will feel that Donkey's fur almost brushes your hand. The animation has wonderful warmth and depth, but it also has a great deal of character and wit. The facial expressions and body language are such a treat that the audience can't help thinking that if ogres and donkeys and don't really look like that, they should.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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