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Trivia / Shrek

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The First Chapter

  • Accent Depundent: An interesting inversion occurs with Lord Farquaad. that is, "fuckwad" In a rhotic American accent (or indeed, the Scottish one put on by Mike Myers), his name sounds perfectly innocent.
  • Actor-Inspired Element: Mike Myers originally voiced Shrek with a roughed-up version of his real Canadian accent (which can be heard in some of the outtakes included on the DVD and Blu-ray). However, he was unsatisfied with the finished performance and asked to rerecord the whole thing. This time he based the ogre's voice on his parents' Scottish accents- and thus Shrek became the Scotsogre we all know and love.
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  • Approval of God: Despite its many liberties from William Steig's original book, he loved the movie. Reportedly, his reaction was something along the lines of, "It's vulgar, it's disgusting — and I love it!"
  • Celebrity Voice Actor:
    • The four main characters were played by Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, and John Lithgow - all of whom were Billed Above the Title. Jim Cummings, who has a relatively prominent role as the Captain of the Guard, is the only voice actor by profession to appear in the film.
    • The series' Japanese dub is practically a who's who of Japanese voice acting: Masatoshi Hamada as Shrek, Kōichi Yamadera as Donkey, Norika Fujiwara as Princess Fiona, Masato Ibu as Lord Farquaad, Nobuo Tobita as Pinocchio, Kenji Utsumi as the Big Bad Wolf, Hiro Yuki as Gingy, Unshō Ishizuka as Prince Charming, Takeshi Aono as King Harold, Toshiko Sawada as Queen Lillian, Wataru Takagi as the Three Blind Mice, Tessho Genda as Mabel and Brogan, plus many other voice actors who voice minor roles.
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    • In the Brazilian dub, comedian Bussunda was Shrek. When he died in 2006, The Other Darrin was also The Other Marty: professional dubber Mauro Ramos, whose already recorded track for the first movie served as reference for Bussunda's performance, took over the role in the movies and specials that followed.
    • The Mexican dub features Eugenio Derbez, who goes through Billing Displacement as the only actor credited, as Donkey.
  • The Character Ice Cream Bar: Blue Bunny released an ice of Shrek's face featuring purple gumball eyes.
  • Colbert Bump: The film gave a huge amount of renewed attention to Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" as a result of featuring John Cale's cover (and Rufus Wainwright's on the soundtrack album), resulting in the track accelerating in popularity and becoming Cohen's Signature Song in the public eye.
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  • Creator Killer: Not to DreamWorks itself, but one of the franchise's sources of fuel was all the snark directed towards Disney boss and Jeffrey Katzenberg's former superior Michael Eisner, including having Farquaad be a caricature of him; this movie was one of the multiple punches that eventually knocked Eisner out of the Mouse House in 2005 (nearly losing Pixar was the final punch to send him to the floor).
  • Deleted Scene:
    • One has Fiona meeting a Gypsy woman named Bib Fortuna (a reference to the Star Wars character of the same name), who would eventually become the Fairy Godmother. In this version Fiona is always an ogre, and Bib Fortuna gives her a potion that would make her beautiful, but tells her that she will alternate between her human and ogress forms until she finds true love. After that, she is whisked away by her dragon guardian and returned to the tower.
    • There was going to be a scene shortly after Shrek and Donkey get Fiona out of the dragon's keep that would involve them riding a mine cart like a roller coaster, complete with at least three references to Disneyland via the talking skull from Pirates of the Caribbean, the yeti from Matterhorn Bobsleds, and the Country Bears. The storyboards for this scene are included in the DVD.
    • After Shrek won the tournament in the first film, there was to be a scene where Farquaad explains the quest to Shrek and they're standing side-by-side to show their size comparison (explaining Shrek and Donkey's size jokes to Fiona later in the film). Several ideas for that scene include them walking by a garden or having dinner. One was storyboard in which Farquaad shows Shrek and Donkey his desire to turn Duloc into a more modern city with convenient stores and mini-malls, and it shows Farquaad holding the deed to the swamp to entice Shrek to accept.
  • Descended Creator:
    • Director Andrew Adamson also appears as Duloc's local mascot.
    • Besides producing the film, Aron Warner voices the Big Bad Wolf.
  • Duelling Movies: With Monsters, Inc., another monster themed CGI buddy comedy.
  • Follow the Leader:
    • Several other fractured fairytale-based films, such as Hoodwinked!, Chicken Little and Happily N'Ever After, were made following the success of Shrek.
    • It's difficult to imagine just how influential and popular Shrek was when it first came out, as just about every western animated feature has been influenced by its humor and style, not to mention "proving" that computer animation was the only way to go in the 21st century. In a nutshell, the trend was for such a film to star talking animals voiced by celebrities and featuring pop-culture references and body/toilet humor, i.e. Ice Age, Open Season, etc.
  • Genre-Killer: This film basically ended two genres that were popularized by Disney in the 1990s:
    • After the first film became a roaring success, it would take nearly a decade for non-ironic fairy tale movies, especially ones made by Disney, to be taken seriously again. It didn't help that, in the decade preceding Shrek, Disney had done nothing but blockbuster musicals, mostly with princesses and princes, following the box office underperformance of The Rescuers Down Under (which Katzenberg oversaw) and some of Disney's staff were losing interest in it at that point themselves, as evidenced by The Emperor's New Groove being a full-blown comedy and Atlantis: The Lost Empire being an action-adventure film.
    • Along with Blue Sky Studios' Ice Age, another hugely successful non-Disney CGI film that was released a year laternote , it wound up being the final nail in the coffin for hand-drawn feature film animation in America, which had been on a slow decent in popularity for the later half of the 90s. Dreamworks would close its 2D animation unit in 2003 and Disney would follow suit a year later, allowing the last few 2D movies they'd produced to die a quick, painless death at the box office so they could jump on the CGI bandwagon as quickly as possible. Despite some conceited efforts to keep the art form alive since then, CGI has remained the standard for all American animated features to this day.
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  • Meaningful Release Date: Fathom Events and Universal brought the film back into theatres for its 20th anniversary on April 23, 25, and 28, 2021, the former being a day after it premiered in Cannes in 2001. Universal brought the movie out in 4K on May 11, one week before the 20th anniversary of its theatrical release.
  • Missing Trailer Scene: The Magic Mirror was originally going to say "Technically, it's not perfect".
  • Non-Singing Voice: Any time Fiona sings it's another actress and not Cameron Diaz. For the gag where she sings with a bird, a professional singer was hired who could deliberately sing off-key.
  • The Other Marty: Chris Farley was originally cast as Shrek, and even recorded some dialogue. When Farley died, fellow SNL cast member Mike Myers got his part. Initial reports were that the script was radically reworked after Farley's death and Myers was basically voicing a different character. Unearthed animatics featuring Farley's Shrek show some differences, but not as many as originally thought; the scene is very similar to one in the final film. Myers himself was initially hesitant about accepting the role, because he was friends with Farley, and didn't want to disrespect his memory. He changed his mind after thinking it over.
  • Permanent Placeholder: According to Word of God, the use of the Smash Mouth song "All Star" at the beginning of the first movie was only intended as test footage track to get the timing of the opening down - they planned to use an original composition for the final product. However, "All Star" worked so well that they not only kept it in, but even hired Smash Mouth to record a new song for the ending (a cover of The Monkees' "I'm A Believer").
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  • Relationship Voice Actor: In a cross-language example, this is the second time Eddie Murphy and Mexican actor Eugenio Derbez, who voice Donkey, share characters, after Mushu.
  • Serendipity Writes the Plot: You'll notice that both times we visit the city of Duloc, the streets are completely empty and deserted. The crowd scenes were specifically written to take place indoors or in another confined location to save on rendering costs for large groups of characters all moving independently of one another.
  • Talking to Himself: One of the Three Blind Mice, who bites Shrek's ear after he fails to catch him, is voiced by Mike Myers doing a John Lennon impression.
  • Throw It In:
    • The line "You're on your way to a smacked bottom" was improvised by Mike Myers after he got annoyed at one of the directors.
    • The line "Can't we just settle this over a pint?" was something the producers actually said to Myers to convince him to join the film. They threw it into the script after he agreed.
    • The scene where Princess Fiona burps was written after Cameron Diaz burped during a recording session after drinking Coca-Cola. Donkey's quip, "She's just as nasty as you are!" was what Eddie Murphy actually said to Myers in response.
  • Uncredited Role: Steven Spielberg served as the film's uncredited executive producer.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The film was originally going to be produced by Steven Spielberg, be hand-drawn (and later on, motion-captured), and star Bill Murray as Shrek and Steve Martin as Donkey. Spielberg did still serve as the executive producer for the film, but went uncredited.
    • The original script had Princess Fiona born an ogre to the late King and Queen of Duloc. They had her locked in the tower under the lie that she was "of such rare beauty" she was kidnapped. They died, and the kingdom was left under the rule of an ambitious regent (implied to be Farquaad). When she "became of age" to ascend to the throne, she escaped the tower and encountered a witch named Bib Fortuna (a reference to the Star Wars character of the same name) - who narrated the entire sequence through her tarot cards. She gave Fiona a potion which would make her beautiful, but Fortuna warned her of the potion's side effect - she would change between her human and ogress form until she found her true love. Later she was whisked away by her dragon guardian and returned to the tower. This storyline was not adapted to keep the story simple, but is mentioned through the "witch" Fiona tells Donkey about.
    • Chris Farley was cast as Shrek and even recorded dialogue, but his untimely death meant that he had to be recast. Early storyboards of Farley as Shrek show that he was originally a "Well Done, Son!" Guy with overprotective parents; he'd recently moved out of his parents' house, and his motivation for rescuing Fiona was that Farquaad would give him his own swamp, allowing him to finally become independent and make his parents proud. In the final film, no mention is made of Shrek's parents, and his motivation is simply to take back his own land. Apparently, this was partially spurred by Mike Myers himself, who wanted to distance his role from Farley's Shrek.
    • Originally, Shrek was driven out of his swamp by Farquaad's guards who burned his house down. The filmmakers thought, although it was dramatic, it wasn't funny (like the scene we got in the finished film).
    • Janeane Garofalo was originally going to voice Fiona, but with the recasting of Shrek's voice actor, Fiona's voice and character were changed so she could contrast with Shrek better.
    • Supposedly, Robin Williams was approached for a role, but because of the bitter falling out he had with Jeffrey Katzenberg after the latter breached Williams's contract stipulations for Aladdin, he refused to work on this or any DreamWorks film.
    • An IMAX 3-D version that would have added an alternate ending was also planned to be released in either December 2001 or summer 2002, but was cancelled.
    • In the first movie, they wanted the crescent moon on Shrek's outhouse to be the DreamWorks logo moon. But the studio said no.
    • Shrek originally looked quite goofy (it's the picture on the right), likely while Chris Farley was still involved.
    • Nicolas Cage was approached to voice Shrek, but he turned the role down, as he felt being cast as a scary ogre would make a bad impression on children.
    • Alan Rickman was originally offered the role of Farquaad, but he turned it down to portray Severus Snape in the Harry Potter film series instead.
  • Writer Revolt: Well, producer revolt. Former Disney CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg made this film as a great big "Screw you!" to his previous company and especially his former partner Michael Eisner, whom he loathed, after Eisner shot down many of Katzenberg's idea and later beat him out of the studio head position. It worked, seeing as how this film put DreamWorks on the map and ended up indirectly contributing to Eisner being let go by Disney.

Franchise-wide

The video game

Other games

  • What Could Have Been: The Pocket Shrek app was meant to have Fiona as an interactable character alongside Shrek, Donkey and Puss and even got advertised in-game, but she was cancelled when the app went offline and stopped receiving support.

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