Film Review: Shrek (2001), A Hero's Journey

Fig 1. Shrek (2001)

Directed by Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson, Shrek (2001) is an American computer animated fantasy comedy film. The film is based partly on the books by William Steig, Shrek! (1990), which were about repugnant and monstrous ogre. Shrek is somewhat of a parody film, as it has included characters fairy tales (of which have been adapted)within the story, such as Sleeping Beauty, the wolf from Little Red Riding Hood, Pinocchio and the Three Little Pigs.

The four main characters are;

  • Shrek: a lonely misjudged ogre who lives in a swamp and is feared by everyone but Donkey. Shrek is care free with no worries, but a bad temper. In the film Shrek's world is the swamp, which provides him with his survival needs.  
  • Donkey: an optimistic talking donkey, who just wants a friend.
  • Lord Farquad: the short, greedy lord of Dulock who wants to become King, and get rid of all the fairy tale creatures.
  • Princess Fiona: a princess that is locked up in a tower and guarded by a dragon, due to her mysterious curse.

*Warning Spoilers Alert*

The call to adventure:
After saving Donkey, due to him almost being sold by his owner to Lord Farquad's guards, Shrek finds all the fairy tale creatures in his swamp. Shrek is furious by this invasion of privacy, so decides to go and see this Lord Farquad for himself and get back his swamp.

The refusal of the call:
When arriving at the city of Dulock, Shrek and Donkey find a tournament going on to see which knight will be sent to save Princess Fiona. When Shrek appears Lord Farquad insults and sets his knights on him and offers the price of saving Princess Fiona for whoever saves him . Once defeating them, Lord Farquad give him the title of champion and gives the quest to Shrek. However Shrek "refuses the call call" as hes on a quest to his swamp back. Lord Farquad offers Shrek a deal to save Princess Fiona and he will get his swamp back good as new.

Supernatural Aid:
While Shrek is on this journey he is accompanied by Donkey, who may not have super powers like flying or magic, but he can talk. which would be the supernatural element of the story. Donkey could also be known as 'Meeting the mentor' as Shrek will learn how to become more human to others.

Crossing the Threshold:
The tournament scene could also be known as crossing the threshold, as Shrek is going from his ordinary home (the swamp) to Lord Farquads castle/ Dulock.

The Belly of the Whale:
once again this could also be referring to the tournament as he was going into Lard Farqard's territory.

Road of Trials:
Once set out on their quest they walk day and night to reach the castle of where Princess Fiona has been locked away, but to get there they must go over the rickety bridge which over hangs a mote of larva and battle a dragon.

Meeting the Goddess:
After finding the princess in her tower, she turns out to be a little stubborn in how the knight should be or have done things. But when Shrek reveals himself, she is upset that her true prince charming didn't rescue her.

Woman as Temptress:
This could be the Dragon and Donkey. Due to how Dragon behaves after Donkey has complimented her and shown some affection.

Atonement With the Father:
Shrek is talking to Donkey and reveals that he is sad and wants to be alone as every one judges him before they get to know him. Donkey sees past his ogre in Shrek and sees some one who need some friendship in his life.

Road of Trials - part 2:
When Shrek, Donkey and Princess Fiona come across Monsieur Hood and his Merry Men. In which Monsieur Hood thinks Fiona is in danger and therefore tries to harm Shrek and Donkey through song and dance. Fiona then shows of her kung-fu skills against the Merry Men.

Apotheosis:
The films of apotheosis is through the form of knowledge, and this happens when Donkey finds out the Fiona is an ogre by nigh and princess by day.

The Ultimate Boon:
After hearing a misleading discussion between Donkey and Fiona, Shrek hands over the princes to Lord Farquad and gets the deed to his swamp.

Refusal of the Return:
Even though he has feelings for Fiona, Shrek returns to his empty swamp alone. And he is truly miserable, as all he can think of is how Fiona will be marrying Lord Farquad.

Magic Flight:
After Donkey has talked him into going back to declare his love for Fiona, but is it too late to tell her how he feels before the wedding. Donkey has the answer, he brings his new love the dragon and they fly off to stop the wedding.

Crossing the Return Threshold:
Shrek runs into the church to stop the wedding and declare his love for Fiona.

Rescue from Without:
Shrek calls for Dragon who smashes through the window and eats Lord Farquad after threatening Shrek and Fiona.

Master of the Two Worlds:
Shrek and Fiona kiss and her spell is broken. Fiona doesn't understand why she is still ugly ogre, until Shrek tells her that she is beautiful to him.

Freedom to live:
Shrek and Fiona get married and are back at the swamp, and then get whisked away on there honey moon.

Illustration List:

Figure 1. Shrek (2001) [Film Poster] At: http://www.traileraddict.com/shrek/poster/1 (Accessed on 05.10.16)

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