A CGI-animated tetralogy by Dreamworks Animation loosely based on a 1990 book about an ogre in a fairy tale land who just wants to live in his swamp undisturbed, but is dragged against his will into fighting for the fate of entire kingdoms.In the first movie (2001), Shrek (Mike Myers) is driven into conflict with Lord Farquaad, who banishes all magical creatures from his kingdom, forcing them to seek refuge in Shrek's swamp. He teams up with an annoying talking donkey named Donkey (Eddie Murphy), and is forced to rescue Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) for him so Farquaad would give him the swamp back. However, Fiona's previously-unknown curse, and Shrek falling in love with her, disrupt Farquaad's entire plan to marry a princess and become a king.In Shrek 2 (2004), Fiona, now an ogress and Shrek's wife, travels with him to the kingdom of Far Far Away, ruled by her parents. Meanwhile, Prince Charming, who was supposed to rescue Fiona instead of Shrek, desires the kingdom for himself, helped by his mother, the Fairy Godmother. He first tries to dispose of Shrek by deploying Puss-in-Boots (Antonio Banderas), a famous ogre hunter, but the cat ends up becoming friends with Shrek and Donkey. After Shrek drinks a potion that temporarily makes him and Fiona human, the Fairy Godmother makes Charming pose as the human Shrek.In Shrek the Third (2007), King Harold dies, leaving the ogre couple as his successors, and Shrek, unable to accept this fate, leaves Far Far Away to search for another heir to the throne, a teenage loser named Arthur Pendragon (Justin Timberlake). Meanwhile, Prince Charming rallies various fairy tale villains and organizes a coup, taking over Far Far Away, and Fiona (pregnant with Shrek's kids) assembles her own team of fairy tale princesses to confront him.In Shrek Forever After (2010), Shrek, now a domesticated family man, longs for the days when he felt like a "real ogre" and is duped into signing a pact with the smooth-talking dealmaker Rumpelstiltskin. Shrek suddenly finds himself in a twisted, alternate version of Far Far Away, where ogres are hunted, Rumpelstiltskin is king and Shrek and Fiona have never met. Now, it's up to Shrek to undo all he's done in the hopes of saving his friends, restoring his world and reclaiming his one True Love.Notorious for its humor, both witty and slapstick, for turning everything we knew from fairy tales upside-down, and for a ridiculously modern feel of its medieval fantasy setting. The first film's huge success (combined with it easily outdrawing the Disney Animated Canon entry Atlantis The Lost Empire, which opened a month later) convinced Dreamworks that 2D is dead, and scrapped their 2D films all together, "apologized" for them, and even convinced other executives in the same idea, paving the way for all films thereafter — it is unclear if 2D films will regain top priority again. Shrek was the first film to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Shrek and its sequels are Dreamworks' defining hits, "Fiona's Theme" plays during the studio's Vanity Plate in all their animated films now, and the character of Shrek is now their unofficial mascot.Adapted into The Musical, which opened on Broadway in 2008 and has since closed and launched a United States tour. There is also a Christmas Special, Shrek the Halls, and a Halloween Special, Scared Shrekless. Another film, entitled Puss in Boots was released in 2011. It is set before the events of Shrek 2, and chronicles the backstory of Puss in Boots. It's worth to note that the film is "ogre-less". Guillermo Del Toro is the executive producer. Universal Studios features Shrek 4D (titled as The Ghost of Lord Farquaad on some video releases), which is set immediately after Shrek and Fiona's wedding and details a ghostly Lord Farquaad's attempt to get Fiona back. Finally, there's an extensive series of tie-in games of varyingquality.A fifth film is being planned according to Jeffrey Katzenberg, as the series was originally planned to be a Pentalogy. The company has yet to officially announce what it will be about or who will be involved.Now has a fledgling character sheet and a Fanfic recs page.
The Spanish dub substitutes Puss' generic Spanish accent for a thick Malaga accent (Banderas is from Malaga). Banderas voices Puss in the English, Spanish, and Italian versions.
Acrofatic: Shrek — and all ogres — are exceptionally nimble and agile for their size.
Adaptation Expansion: Really, when you're adapting a short children's book into even a single feature-length movie, let alone an entire franchise, this is inevitable.
Adaptational Villainy: Played straight and inverted for different characters. The Big Bad Wolf is one of the heroes (and, in the third film, so is one of the Ugly Stepsisters) while some traditionally malevolent fairytale creatures like Dragon and the ogres are for the most part sympathetic. On the other hand, Red Riding Hood is a thief while Lancelot and Guenivere are both Jerkasses who mistreat a young King Arthur, and Geppetto, far from the benevolent father figure he is usually depicted as, is seen turning in Pinocchio. Prince Charming and the Fairy Godmother are also major antagonists.
Ascended Extra: Many of the fairy tale characters from the first film get gradually more important as the films go on. They are specifically the Gingerbread Man, Big Bad Wolf, the Three Little Pigs, and Pinocchio. Dragon also becomes more important, and Mavis the Ugly Sister in the second film becomes quite important in the third.
This even occurs for the villains. Captain Hook makes an appearance playing piano in the Villain Bar in the second film, before making a more prominent appearance in the third. And Rumpelstiltskin briefly featured in the third (albeit with a completely difference appearance), before going on to be the Big Bad of the fourth.
Action Girl: Princess Fiona. She gets it from her mother, who is now a Retired Badass (she can smash through a wall with her head with no problem even in her old age.)
Arbitrary Skepticism: Several instances. For example, In Scared Shrekless, Donkey refuses to believe that Farquaad's ghost haunts Duloc castle. Even though he has in fact seen and interacted with Farquaad's ghost.
Babies Ever After: The ogrelings, whom the fourth film reveals to be named Fergus, Farkle and Felicia.
Badass: Most notably Fiona and Puss in Boots, and especially Shrek himself.
Bad-Guy Bar: The second and third movies have a straight example featuring fairy tale bad guys. "The Poison Apple Bar" features Captain Hook on piano. It also has signs saying "Unhappy Hour" and "We Reserve the Right to Behead Anyone".
Big Little Man: Our first glimpse of Lord Farquaad involves him striding dramatically along a corridor, camera focused on his face or body at a strange angle, then when the camera and scenery go still, he's revealed to be maybe half the height of the guards.
Rumpelstiltskin in Shrek the Third and Rumpelstiltskin in Shrek Forever After.
There's a similar case in the original Shrek. Who's that right at the end turning the onion and mice into a carriage? Hint: It's the Fairy Godmother.
Maybe the fourth movie's Rumpelstiltskin was the actual trickster from the fairy tale and the third movie-version was simply some random guy who played on everyone's assumption of Rumpelstiltskin's appearance?
One might guess that they just forgot what they did in the previous movie only 4 years ago, but comments in the DVD special features of Shrek Forever After indicate that it's more likely they hoped the audience did.
Cat Stereotype: Puss-in-Boots is a swashbuckling, wisecracking orange cat.
Cheated Angle: When Puss in Boots is introduced in Shrek 2, his upper and lower halves are separated. The scene is dark enough that you can't see it, but they wanted the head and boots farther apart than they would actually be.
Chekhov's Gunman: The Muffin Man. First mentioned briefly by Gingy in the first movie, then is enlisted in first sequel to help Shrek stop Fiona from kissing Prince Charming in time by baking a giant version of the Gingerbread Man. And shows up in the last sequel baking the birthday cake for the Shreklings.
Cultural Translation: The Polish dub of the Shrek movies are full of Polish pop-culture references. For example Donkey sings the theme song of a Polish TV drama when Shrek decides to go to the Potion Factory in Shrek 2. Donkey also generates much Actor Allusion to the known actor voicing him.
Dance Party Ending: All the Shrek films love this trope. Taken to even greater levels in the DVD releases, which include bonus 'dance party' epilogues such as the first film's 'Swamp Karaoke Party' and the second's parody of American Idol.
The running gag in the first movie — "Do you think maybe he's compensating for something?" Kids think it refers to his height. Adults think it refers to his... length.
The constant use of the word "ass" to mean a literal donkey but in phrases where it usually means the human buttocks. "Nobody likes a kissass." "I have to save my ass." "You still look like an ass to me."
Dragon Hoard: Dragon sleeps on-top of a mountain of treasure. She doesn't seem that bothered by the collection of treasure in the sequels, though.
Dub Species Change: In some languages that don't have an equivalent for the word "ogre", Shrek is a "troll" instead. Curiously averted in the Dutch version, where "ogre" became "oger".
Grandma, What Massive Hotness You Have: Fiona's mother looks pretty good for being in, presumably, her sixties. And if the we go off what the Fairy Godmother looks like now, one can only imagine how attractive she must have looked in her younger years
Gratuitous French: Robin Hood, who ,despite being a British folklore character, speaks with a French accent for no particular reason.
Half Empty Two Shot: Used twice to show how alone Shrek and Fiona feel after their big fight. Fiona is shown sitting at an otherwise unoccupied table, with the table in the center of the shot. This is immediately followed by Shrek sitting at his table, on the opposite side (from the camera's perspective).
Happily Married: It's not always smooth sailing, but Shrek and Fiona definitely love each other. The same goes for Donkey and Dragon.
Headless Horseman: One of the patrons of the Poisoned Apple in the second film, and part of Charming's army of villains in the third.
He also got a DUI during the second movie. Shrek and Co. plow into him while he's taking a field sobriety test. Touching the nose he doesn't have.
The Hermit: Shrek in the first film, due to society's views of ogres.
Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Shrek & human!Fiona in the first film and inverted with Dragon & Donkey, Fiona & Farquaad. The second has Charming and his mum, inverted with Harold and Lillian even BEFORE he's changed back...
Still as both ogres or humans, Fiona is quite petite compared to Shrek.
Knight in Sour Armor: Shrek is crude, hot-tempered and cynical, but nearly always manages to do the right thing, especially for people (and donkeys) that have proven they're able to see past the idea of "big, stupid, ugly ogres".
Lord Farquaad and Prince Charming also have their moments (Charming especially during the climax of Shrek the Third: "With soft and bouncy haaaaaaaaiiiiiiir!")
Puss in Boots has his moments. Witness this immortal line from the fourth movie: "Feed Me...if you dare!"
A non-talking example in Shrek 2: As a troupe of trumpeters from Far Far Away make their grand entrance into Shrek and Fiona's swamp, concluding their performance as they reach Shrek's hut, one of the trumpeters within the troupe decides to continue on, giving an over-the-top, show-stopping performance that sounds like the Hawaii Five-O theme that leaves Shrek, Fiona and Donkey confused and the herald that has an invitation for the two quite clearly annoyed.
"Shrek" is the Yiddish word for "monster", derived from the German word "shreck", meaning "terror" or "fright".
Also, "Farquaad" is a slightly-slurred mispronunciation of an obscene term for an unpleasant person.
This one gets a lampshade in a FoxTrot comic, where Paige tries to convince Peter (who works at the theater) to let her into the movie for free. She starts describing the cast ("Shrek and Fiona and the evil Prince..."); Peter interrupts, saying there's no way he'll let her do that, and in the last panel she finishes her sentence ("...Farquaad.") while shooting him a death glare.
Farquaad was actually named after one of the quadrangles in Notre Dame University, where many of the filmmakers graduated - allusions to it can be found throughout the movies. The quadrangle was situated far away, i.e. a "far quad".
Lord Farquaad was widely rumoured to be modelled on Disney's then-CEO Michael Eisner as a Take That on the part of the film's executive producer (and former Disney executive) Jeffrey Katzenberg. His kingdom is a parody of Walt Disney World.
Sequel Reset: The first movie ended with Happily Ever After, but the sequels have been putting that off ever since. The second film reveals there was in fact an actual Prince Charming that was supposed to break the curse on Fiona, and that her royal parents are still around; the action picks up after the lovers' honeymoon as they're forced to meet her parents, causing another go-round of problems regarding Shrek's self-esteem. The amusing new characters as well as ones who got expanded roles helped mitigate this for audiences, but reaction to the third film (where Shrek now has to get out of being king if he ever hopes to live out his life in the swamp, and the loose end of 2 involving Prince Charming's fate is brought up) suggests the formula is wearing thin. And the fourth movie does a total reset with time travel.
Shout-Out: Lots of them, mostly to Disney, though the giant gingerbread man is named "Mongo" as a tribute to Blazing Saddles and there's a lot to other fantasy stories and films.
Left the Background Music On: This happens 3 times in Shrek the Third. The first is when the music during the king's funeral turns out to be singing frogs. The second is when Shrek and Artie are about to have a heart-to-heart talk, and Merlin turns on the music for mood. Finally, the dramatic music during a fight scene is actually Captain Hook playing on the piano.
Inverted, kinda, in Shrek 2. The Fairy Godmother starts singing "Holding Out for a Hero", then the dramatic rescue begins, with the song as BGM. But she's still singing throughout as it switches between dance and rescue.
The Christmas SpecialShrek the Halls does with a sound effect: the "squealing kettle" noise that accompanies Shrek losing his temper is revealed to be an actual squealing kettle.
It even shows up in the original film: When Shrek's rescued Fiona and the group is journeying back to Lord Farquaad's castle, they get waylaid by Robin Hood. Cue fight scene. A lively accordion piece quickly starts up, holds a note during a Matrix-style Orbital Shot (where (mostly) everything stops in place), and stops again as Fiona knocks out Friar Tuck, who was playing the instrument.
The first film also has Fiona's Theme playing while Farquaad is admiring Fiona's image. It then turns out the music is coming from the Magic Mirror itself.
Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: King Harold in Shrek 2 has a good example of a non-death Heroic Sacrifice, as he throws himself in the path of the Fairy Godmother's wand to save Shrek and Fiona. The result is that his previous 'happy ending' is removed and he is turned back to the frog he was. But he's still alive at the end of the movie, and his wife doesn't mind his being a frog at all. Unfortunately, within the first act of Shrek the Third, King Harold, well, croaks.
Shrek: I'm an ogre! You know, 'Grab your torch and pitchfork!' Doesn't that bother you?
Also lampshaded in the sequel, when Shrek and Fiona step out of their carriage in Far Far Away and are revealed to be ogres. Shrek sees some pitchforks in the crowd and gets nervous, commenting "Let's go before they light the torches."
And in the fourth movie, Shrek and family are celebrities, so people mob now to ask him to sign their torches and pitchforks.
Trademark Favorite Food: Donkey loves waffles, which is based on an off-hand comment from the first film. Also, parfaits.
Ugly Hero, Good-Looking Villain: This trope is used in the first two movies: While Lord Farquaad isn't exactly good looking, he does play upon Shrek's ugliness to try to incite villagers against him. The second provides a better example, with the Fairy Godmother and her son Charming as good-looking villains opposing Shrek.
Villain Song: Shrek subverts it every way it can. The main villain of Shrek 2 gets not one, but two songs: The first one is the self-titled "Fairy Godmother Song", a cheerful upbeat ditty about how she wants to help everyone; the second comes complete with an ominous orchestra and backing choir... except the song in question is "Holding Out for a Hero".
Prince Charming also gets a song in Shrek the Third, set to a musical that was set up as an excuse to publicly execute Shrek. Lord Farquaad didn't have a bona fide villain "song" (except in The Musical), but he has a menacing leitmotif in the first movie, played upon his first appearance.
As did Princess Fiona since at the end of the book Shrek meets a princess ogre (Fiona) who is even uglier than he is.
Also, the dragon made a brief appearance under different circumstances, and the role of the Knight from the book and Lord Farquaad from the film are suspiciously similar — both are Jerkass versions of characters who would usually be the good guy in fairy tales, who end up acting as the primary villain.
Broken Aesop: The whole point of the first film is "It doesn't matter what you look like, it's what inside that counts"... which doesn't stop an army of "short" jokes at Farquaad's expense (and suggestions that he may be Compensating for Something), or the fact that in the end Fiona ends up in the shape that will be the most appealing to Shrek.
Fiona's transformation could be viewed as one more physically compatible with Shrek. Fiona's human head would fit in Shrek's mouth (which was pointed out in the DVD commentary during the Almost Kiss). Then again, we have the Donkey and Dragon pair-up... which is equally disturbing and might just qualify for the 'what's inside that counts' to an extreme.
Whatever's inside Farquaad is persecuting all fairy tale creatures and uprooting them from their homes. He's earned the right to be made fun of.
Shrek and Fiona making nearby animals into balloons for each other and then letting them float away, and allowing a tree Donkey is walking on to snap back and fling him away.
In addition to the balloon animals, Fiona also causes a bird to spontaneously combust when it tries to hold a note as long and loud as the one Fiona sings... then, she cooks the birds' eggs.
Notice at the end of the movie, only two of the three bears - Papa Bear, and Baby Bear, specifically - are freed with the other fairy tale creatures... because if you look closely, Farquaad made a rug out of Mama Bear. For some, this would also qualify as an instance of Fridge Horror.
Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: Fiona is this trope for a lot of the first movie. Shrek didn't slay the dragon first. Shrek can't recite a poem. Shrek needs to save his ass. Shrek won't take off his helmet. And the worst part, to Fiona: Shrek was sent to rescue her for someone else.
Constellations: Shrek tells Donkey the names the ogres give to several constellations.
Donkey: I don't get it, Shrek. Why didn't you just pull some of that ogre stuff on him? You know, throttle him, lay siege to his fortress, grind his bones to make your bread? You know, the whole ogre trip. Shrek: Oh, I know. Maybe I could have decapitated an entire village, put their heads on a pike, gotten a knife, cut open their spleens and drink their fluids. Does that sound good to you? Donkey: Uh, no, not really, no.
Double Entendre: Shrek makes this when he remarks on the short Lord Farquaad's tall castle, when saying "Do you think maybe he's compensating for something?"
Fantastic Racism: Farquaad. The trope's name has never been so appropriate: Farquaad hates all "fairy tale creatures" and has them evicted and forced into Shrek's swamp. His "perfect kingdom" would have nobody but humans.
Nobody but Muggles. Some pretty human-looking wizards and a witch are exiled to the swamp too.
Foe-Tossing Charge: Makes an appearance during the wedding scene. The eponymous ogre and Fiona find themselves beset by Mooks; Shrek starts 'wading' through them, throwing them off as necessary. They manage to slow him, but we never get to find out the ending thanks to a Gunship Rescue moment.
French Jerk/Just a Stupid Accent: Although in most retellings, Robin Hood is an English Saxon fighting the tyranny of French-descended Normans, in Shrek he inexplicably has a French accent. And is a jerk to boot.
The aforementioned diminutive lord asking a disgusted magic mirror to show him Princess Fiona... again.
Arguable example: When Dragon has Donkey wrapped in the coils of her tail and flirts with him, she at one point lowers her snout below the level of his waist. Donkey objects to her apparently petting his tail... but her head is placed in front of him, not behind...
The inclusion of the Leonard Cohen song "Hallelujah." The lyrics to that song are highly sexual, and, despite sounding like a love song, it's actually a song that compares the Jews losing their covenant with God with a man breaking up with a woman he really loved.
Laser-Guided Karma: Farquaad gets what he deserves at the wedding and gets eaten by Dragon. Dragon burps out his crown a few seconds later.
Late Arrival Spoiler: Didn't know Fiona was turned into an ogress? Then don't look at the covers of any of the sequels.
Loves Me Not: Fiona does this with a sunflower Shrek left at her doorstop, but to decide whether she should tell Shrek her deep, dark secret: "I tell him, I tell him not..." She plucks the last petal on a "I tell him!" but the sun rises just then and she returns to human form before she can find Shrek.
Mutilation Interrogation: Played for laughs when the Gingerbread Man gets both of his legs broken of and his head dipped into a glass with milk. Lord Farquaad then crushes one of the legs in his hands, but the other leg is later reattached with frosting, making it neccessary for Gingy to walk with a candy cane.
Noodle Incident: When going into hero worship mode of Shrek shortly after Shrek unwittingly saved Donkey's butt from Farquaad's men, Donkey mentions another time before meeting Shrek that he nearly had his nosehairs burned off. However, Shrek tried to muffle his mouth, to no avail. The only thing that was revealed was that it had something to do with eating rotten berries and his undergoing indigestion.
Offscreen Teleportation: Rather subtle because the distances involved were so small, but in the scene where Donkey and Shrek are arguing underneath the moon, Donkey demonstrates an unusual knack for getting in Shrek's face no matter which way the ogre turns.
One Side of the Story: The movie pulled off a two-sided version of this. Shrek half-overhears a conversation between Fiona and Donkey, but misses the most significant part: that Fiona turns into an ogre at night. The next day Shrek and Fiona both assume that Shrek heard the whole conversation and each jump to a false conclusion: Shrek jumps to the conclusion that Fiona was talking about him when she said "who could love a beast so hideous and ugly", and "ugly and princess don't go together", and when Shrek confronts her about this the next morning, Fiona jumps to the conclusion that Shrek is disgusted with the fact that she becomes an ugly ogre at night. This crushes both their romantic feelings for each other, and Fiona goes to Duloc with Farquaad and Shrek goes back to his swamp.
Out-of-Context Eavesdropping: As mentioned under One Side of the Story, Shrek is about to confess his love to Fiona, when he overhears Fiona talking to Donkey, saying that no-one could love a monster like an ogre. Of course, he is unaware that she is talking about the curse that turns her into an ogre, which she conveniently doesn't explicitly mention again until just after Shrek gets disgusted and leaves.
Outrun the Fireball: In the first movie, Shrek, Donkey, and Fiona use this trope as they reach the bridge leading away from the dragon's castle, and the dragon takes one last shot at them with her fiery breath.
Donkey: (to Shrek) You know, with you, it's always "Me, me, me!" Well, guess what?! Now it's my turn! So you just shut up and pay attention! You are mean to me, you insult me, you don't appreciate anything that I do! You're always pushing me around or pushing me away! Shrek: Yeah? Well, if I treated ya' so bad, why did you come back? Donkey: 'Cause that's what friends do. They forgive each other! Shrek: Alright, Donkey, I forgive you... for stabbing me in the back!
Snipe Hunt: Donkey is sent off to find a blue flower with red thorns to keep him from distracting Fiona and Shrek while they dealt with the arrow in Shrek's behind. Taken further as Donkey turns out to be colorblind. Donkey actually finds the flower, too, so it's uncertain Fiona was sending him to find something she expected he'd fail to find. She does say explicitly, though, that the flowers are "for getting rid of Donkey".
He doesn't just find the flower, he wanders through a whole copse of them, complaining that his task would be infinitely easier if he could discern color, and he only brings back the right flower because he grabs one - any one - in a panic when he hears Shrek yell. The other characters don't even react weirdly, making it a relatively subtle sight gag.
Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace: Spoofed in the first movie. Shrek goes to interrupt the wedding of Fiona and Farquaad, but Donkey tells him he has to wait until the priest does his "speak now or forever hold your piece" bit before barging in and shouting "I object!". On further investigation, they find they missed that part, so Shrek barges in anyway, just in time to create an Almost Kiss.
Standard Female Grab Area: After showing impeccable fighting skills early in the movie, Fiona can only call helplessly for Shrek when grabbed this way at her wedding. Granted, Farquaad does eventually put a knife to her throat but only after 20 seconds or so of her doing nothing while Shrek, who is also grabbed, actually fights back.
Taking A Third Option: When Donkey is cut off on a small bridge segment by Dragon, he has two apparent options, neither of them good: He can jump (or fall) off into the lava, or be eaten. Instead, he seduces the dragon.
Tree Buchet: Shrek does this to Donkey in the first movie.
Turn Your Head and Cough: When Donkey learns that Shrek has been hit by an arrow, Donkey panics at the thought of Shrek dying from it and shouts irrelevant medical advice, including "keep your feet elevated", a plea for somebody to perform the Heimlich Maneuver, and "turn your head and cough."
You Monster!: The Gingerbread Man to Farquaad: "You're a monster!"
Farquaad: "I'm not the monster here, you are! You and that fairy tale trash poisoning my perfect world!"
In the Halloween Episode, they go back to Farquaad's kingdom to find it's now a ghost town.
Some of the refugees would reappear in later films (Pinocchio, the Three Little Pigs, Big Bad Wolf, Pied Piper).
You and What Army?: Inverted. Shrek says this to the leader of a group of soldiers, who turns around and sees that the rest of his troops had run away, leaving a lot of their weapons behind.
Ambiguously Gay: Prince Charming. Being voiced by the openly gay Rupert Everett doesn't help. There is a huge Parental Bonus in the scene where he talks to his mother about his reluctance to marry Fiona. Apparently, he is not interested in women at all...
Blooper: When Fiona knocks out Prince Charming with a headbutt, he's seen seconds later perfectly fine throwing the wand to the Fairy Godmother. You could argue that he recovered quickly, but then a few minutes later, he's seen getting up from the headbutt.
Cameo: When Shrek and Fiona are kissing on the beach, a wave washes over them and suddenly Fiona is replaced by a certain red-headed mermaid princess. Fiona promptly tosses her way out to sea where she is attacked by a shark.
A milder example: Immediately following that scene, the newlyweds enjoy a mud bath... lit up by the glow of several fairies trapped in jars. To add insult to injury, Shrek and Fiona playfully begin farting, much to the discomfort of the contained fairies.
Drag Queen: Inverted - in the Poison Apple, the barwoman is an Ugly Sister and she really is technically a woman but her face is effectively a man's and she is even voiced by a man (Larry King in the USA, Johnathan Ross in the UK).
King: Excuse me, I'm looking for the ugly step-sister...? [Doris turns around to show a woman whose face is remarkably male with poorly applied makeup] King: Ah...there you are!
Foreshadowing: The lady-frog in The Poison Apple asking the King of Far Far Away if she's seen him before. And before that, it's mentioned that his and the Queen's first date was a peaceful walk among the lily pads, something that frogs are fond of hopping on.
Funny Background Event: After The Fairy Godmother catches Shrek and co. spying on them, you can see some local Knights giving the Headless Horseman a sobriety test just before Shrek and his pals break past them. What's particularly amusing is that they appear to be giving him the "touch your nose" test. You know, to a man who has no head...
Getting Crap Past the Radar: Probably unintentional, but Far Far Away's postal service and police department being named F.F.A.P.S. and F.F.A.P.D. are hard to miss.
Gilligan Cut: In Shrek 2, after Shrek, Fiona and Donkey are invited to Far Far Away:
Shrek: We're not going, and that's final! Cut to the last of the luggage being loaded
The Reveal: Harold's Disney DeathHeroic Sacrifice at the end of the movie eventually reveals his true form as the Frog Prince. Unlike the original fairytale, neither his wife nor his daughter knew of his true form. This is because Harold gained this form through a deal with the Fairy Godmother instead of Lillian kissing him, and Fiona's Arranged Marriage to Prince Charming was an end result of that.
Donkey: Uh... Why donít you guys go ahead. Iíll park the car.
Separated by a Common Language: The slightly, er- intellectually subnormal giant gingerbread man raises eyebrows in Scotland, where the word "mongo" is an extremely offensive pejorative term for someone who is mentally handicapped. But Mongo was also the name of a guy in Blazing Saddles.
When Shrek is fleeing on Donkey into the forest in a segment of KNIGHTS, there is a helicopter shot of the sequence and a voice is heard saying "We've got a white bronco headed east into the forest. Requesting backup." This is a direct reference to the infamous 1994 California highway chase where cops were chasing OJ Simpson in a white Ford Bronco, a notorious low-speed chase. The montage's camerawork and overall appearance resembles the appearance of COPS.
Took a Shortcut: In a non-video game example, Shrek, Donkey, and Fiona have to travel to the Kingdom of Far, FAR Away, which apparently takes an exceedingly long time. Yet when Shrek is arrested after drinking the Happily Ever After Potion, his whole gang back at The Swamp (where it's already getting dark) witness this on television and get to Far Far Away during the same evening, well before midnight.
Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Given how everyone else reacts when they see Shrek and Fiona (fleeing in terror, attacking in terror, or staring in Stunned Silence), the heralds who deliver them the invitation at the beginning are remarkably unfazed by the sight of their princess-turned-ogre and her similarly-formed husband. And the talking donkey.
White Stallion: Donkey, after drinking the Happily Ever After potion. It doesn't stick.
You Shall Not Pass: Puss-in-Boots holds off a pack of guards as Shrek rushes to stop the Fairy Godmother's evil plot, in payment of his debt to Shrek. He's not honestly in much danger from them, but that makes him holding them all off no less impressive, especially for a normal-sized housecat.
Shrek the Third
Adipose Rex: Shrek and Fiona during their brief stint as monarchs of Far Far Away.
Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Among the things the villains do on their rampage, they loot shops, terrorize citizens, cause general mayhem and destruction and... rip the stamps off of letters before mailing them.
Black Comedy: While rehearsing his lines for the scene in his play where he kills Shrek, Charming (who is going to use a real sword to kill Shrek for real) apparently fatally stabs the guy in the Shrek costume.
Book Ends: The cardboard tower at Charming's dinner theater gig falls and he goes through the window hole. During his staged (and failed) execution of Shrek, the much larger and heavier prop tower falls and actually crushes him.
Cool Old Lady: Queen Lillian. Bashing a solid brick wall with her head Twice!
Drag Queen: Kind of inverted again. Ugly Sister 'Doris' from Shrek 2 is now one of Fiona's girlfriends but is still voiced by Larry King, and her similarly ugly sister 'Mabel' is voiced by another man, Regis Philbin.
Ermine Cape Effect: Parodied in Shrek the Third. Shrek and Fiona are forced to wear ridiculously confining finery for a ceremonial dinner. Shrek has to get some poor servant to scratch his bum for him...and wouldn't you know it, that's when the curtain is raised. To top it off, the buckle on his belt pops, leading to Disaster Dominoes.
Et Tu, Brute?: Rapunzel betrays the Princesses and Fiona due to her crush with Charming.
Freudian Slip: When Shrek is arguing with Arthur about his becoming a king, Shrek tells him, "We're going back to Far Far Away whether you like it or not, and you're gonna be a father!"
Heel-Face Turn: At some point between films Doris the Ugly Sister from Shrek 2 actually turns from a barmaid in a villain's bar to one of Fiona's girlfriends. We don't know how, why or when this happened, just that it's funny because the man in drag is back.
High School: Worcestershire in medieval times and within in a fairy tale world.
Humiliation Conga: What Shrek and Fiona have to endure while being acting rulers of Far Far Away.
Inconvenient Itch: Shrek is trussed up in some very Louis XVI-esque clothing for a royal appearance, and suddenly develops a horrible itch on his rear. He's scratching that itch when the curtains open, giving the waiting crowd a view they really didn't want. Hiliarity Ensues when something breaks, causing Disaster Dominoes.
Poke the Poodle: When the villains attack Far Far Away, there's a montage of them "rearranging" the place. Cut to the cyclops ripping stamps off unsent letters and then cramming them back into the mailbox.
Poor, Predictable Rock: A sponsored commercial for Sierra Mist plays off this trope, having Shrek using paper since he claims Donkey's hoof represents rock.
Proscenium Reveal: The opening sequence begins with Charming supposedly riding his horse triumphantly through a forest.....only for the camera to eventually pull back and reveal that he's miming trotting on the stage at a dinner theater, holding a prop horse head, and the trees going by are actually a continuously moving backdrop reel.
The Power of Rock: When Snow White unleashes the power of Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song", causing the forest animals to attack the Huorns guarding the city gates.
Redemption Demotion: Dragon. While in the first film she is shown to have defeated many knights, and is barely defeated by Shrek, also eating Lord Farquaad at the end, she seems a lot weaker in Shrek the Third, only able to throw one of Prince Charming's mooks away before more of them capture her. They also subdue her easily with spears in the final confrontation.
Still... Dragon does end up supplying the coup de grace against Prince Charming.
Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony: Shrek, performing one of his duties in his day as stand-in king, attempts to christen a newly made ship via the standard shattering of a wine bottle. Unfortunately, he accidentally pushes the ship off (by leaning on it very awkwardly) before he can finish the ceremony. Desperate, Shrek hurls the champagne bottle at the newly-made ship, blowing a hole in it. The ship stops and starts to take on water.....and then somehow manages to burst into flames.
Show Some Leg: ...by one of the Ugly Sisters. Still works, though.
Left the Background Music On: two cases in succession. Merlin's porchlight apparently plays the classic "That's What Friends Are For"; and later on, Shrek and company are attacked by treants while Captain Hook plays mood music on the piano.
Sound Effect Bleep: The third film, twice when Fiona is trying to say she's pregnant, the ship captain toots an airhorn, when Shrek chucks the horn over the side. A different, much deeper tugboat horn is then used to cover up a vulgarity from Puss.
Bad Boss: Rumpelstiltskin. He seems like a good one at first, letting his witches having a rave in his castle and all that. After Shrek escapes however, he drops all the niceness and starts threatening their lives, never mind that he was the one that pushed Shrek too far.
At the beginning of the movie, Rumpelstiltskin tears out pages from a fairytale book in Pinocchio's bookstore. How will he pay? "Maybe we can make a deal for it, little boy." "Oh, I'm not a REAL boy!" Wait for it...wait for it..."...do you WANNA be?"
"My donkey fell in your waffle hole."
Empathy Doll Shot: A varient occurs, where Shrek finds his daughter's favorite doll apparently having fallen from one of his pockets. It has the same "Isolated doll" factor if the circumstances aren't identical to the norm.
Fisher King: Rumpelstiltskin's luxurious palace surrounded by the barren fields and run-down city. This is likely due to simple greed as opposed to a magical connection between the king and the land though.
Kryptonite Factor: The exit clause is hidden inside the contract, revealed not in the small print — which at least some people would be smart enough to read, but by refolding the paper to reveal the hidden words (knowing Rumpelstiltskin's name as per the legend isn't enough, as everyone knows Rumpelstiltskin now he's king, so he had to get clever).
Magic Countdown: Rumpelstiltskin's sand timer, that measures the 'day' Shrek has before he'll vanish away forever if he doesn't get love's true kiss. When it first appears, only a tiny bit of sand has fallen, even though Shrek must have spent a good part of the day scaring villagers, getting captured, and being carried to Far Far Away.
Manly Tears: Shrek sheds a manly tear when he saw one of his triplets doll when he was in the alternate reality and he knew they're not there at all. That is the first time we ever see Shrek cry.
Metaphorgotten: Rumpelstiltskin makes a remark about how it's "time to pay the piper". Nothing happens. He then explains to one of the witches that he means literally pay, as he's a bounty hunter.
Mundane Made Awesome: The Pied Piper teaches some witches a lesson by forcing them to break dance. Later he singlehandedly defeats the Badass Army of Ogres with a full choreography and a conga line straight to Rumpelstiltskin's castle.
The Music Meister: The Pied Piper is a bounty hunter who uses his flute to capture his quarry by forcing them to dance.
A commercial on TV (TV spot) makes it look like Donkey tries showing a trick where he shuts his eyes tight and they POP OUT THROUGH HIS NOSTRILS! He is actually at an ogre dinner, where they eat plates of eyeballs like fruit, and the trick he does actually doesn't involve his own eyes!
The first TV spots that showed in the UK almost made it seem that the fat kid at the party (named Butterpants) was a sort of main character, and also had the roar scene from the party shortened down to:
Butterpants: Do the roar! Shrek: I'd rather not... Butterpants: Do it! Shrek: *Roars*
There was a hint somewhere (the art book, maybe?) that Brogan would be Shrek's rival for Fiona's love, but that never happens.
Nothing Is Scarier: When Shrek bursts through the trunk of the tree that used to contain his home, only to find... nothing but a few scurrying rats. That's when you really get the feeling of "Oh, my God, what has happened to the world?"
Shrek: And the centaur said, 'That's not the half I'm talking about!'
Reset Button: When Shrek and Fiona share True Love's Kiss just as Shrek is fading from existence, the alternate-universe shatters around Rumpelstiltskin as all of the people within it disappear. When Shrek returns to the prime-universe, he was seen mid-roaring at the birthday party.
Rant Inducing Slight: Shrek goes crazy from all the events going on at the triplets' birthday party.
Running Gag: Perhaps it's a coincidence, but Rumpelstiltskin marks the third Shrek villain who is vertically challenged. This carries into Puss in Boots with Humpty Dumpty.
Scenery Gorn: The first view of the alternate-universe land of Far, Far Away— which has been transformed from a Hollywood-like, beautiful (if commercialized) oasis into a desert wasteland with Rumpelstiltskin's palace at the center. The "Far Far Away" Hollywood sign is mostly destroyed, too.
We Want Our Jerk Back: The "jerk" here is the human race. The main theme of the first two movies is how badly Shrek is treated by humans. By the beginning of the fourth film, Shrek becomes annoyed at the humans treating him nicely and longs for the days when he would run about villages scaring them.
Nicely? They ran over his outhouse!
And they treated him like a circus attraction. Can you really blame him for getting tired of performing tricks for annoying kids every single day?
Adaptation Expansion: The extra half-hour that the film didn't have is used to elaborate on the backstories of Shrek, Fiona, and Farquaad, as well as give more focus to the Fairytale Creatures as characters.
All There in the Manual: The Fairytale Creatures get a surprising amount of characterization, sometimes even a little backstory, in the behind-the-scenes webisodes and their individual profiles on the (now defunct) "Shrekster" website, most of which isn't given in the show itself.
Possibly due to it's half-spoken, half-sung nature, "Forever" is left off the soundtrack. The song contains a lot of Dragon's motivations (she's annoyed that she's a glorified babysitter and no one will ever want to rescue her) and the reason Donkey becomes attracted to her (in stating that Fiona's not his type, he declares he "likes a big, big girl").
Ambiguously Gay: From the sassy Donkey, to the prissy Farquaad, to the entire pride-anthem vibe of "Freak Flag", the musical is full of this trope.
Pinocchio: I'm wood. I'm good. Get used to it!
Anthropomorphic Shift: Donkey, being portrayed by a live actor in costume, went from the quadruped Talking Animal he was in the films to an upright biped wearing a vest, at least in early productions. Inverted in later incarnations as the clothes were removed and he began walking in a torso-first fashion with his forelegs held up - a stance more like that of a real quadrupedal animal on it's hind legs.
Ascended Extra: All of the Fairytale Creatures ensemble to an extent, but especially Pinocchio.
Pinocchio: We may be freaks, but we're freaks with teeth and claws and magic wands...and together, we can stand up to Farquaad! Humpty-Dumpty:"We've got magic! We've got power! Who are they to say we're wrong? All the things that make us special Are the things that make us strong!"
Fat Admirer: Donkey, as it turns out, as he sets the record straight during the song "Forever".
Gender Flip: The Three Blind Mice are females in the musical, while in the films there males.
For the Evulz: According to his Ballad (see below), Farquaad plans on total domination "with some torture, just for fun!"
Triumphant Reprise: "Big Bright Beautiful World." The first version is a cynical opening number about how it's awesome being anything but an ogre. The reprise is a tender song about how Shrek's life has become worthwhile.