Adaptation Displacement: You probably won't find a lot of people who have even heard of Shrek! by William Steig (and if they did, it's likely they first heard of it by watching the credits of a Shrek film). So much was added to this little story that about the only thing it and the movies have in common is...a grumpy ogre named Shrek, a donkey (who is quickly forgotten about), a brief obstacle of a dragon, and an ugly princess.
Animation Age Ghetto: Like The Flintstones and The Muppet Show did back in their day, the first Shrek was meant to appeal to both children and adults without seemingly favoring one group over the other, with its edgy humor and pop-culture references giving it a grittier vibe than other animated movies at the time - especially the Disney Animated Canon, which had a reputation for being "squeaky-clean". However, as time went on and Shrek became a Cash Cow Franchise, marketing for the movies became more kid-focused even as the content of the movies was only slightly toned down. This caused the series to eventually gain a reputation of being "for kids", just like what happened to the Flintstones and Muppets. This is reflected in the evolution of the franchise's toyline: the first movie had a line of highly detailed collectibles by McFarlane Toysnote yes, by Todd McFarlane of Spawn fame that could be appreciated by both kids and adults (just like the movie), while the toylines for the sequels (by Hasbro and MGA) were far cheaper and more gimmicky, and no longer targeted the Periphery Demographic of action figure collectors.
One can't disregard the franchise's main theme Fairytale, a hauntingly beautiful leitmotif that still manages to fit with the series' tongue-in-cheek tone. Added bonus for that basically becoming the unofficial opening song of all the Dreamworks films to come after- whenever they do their Dreamworks Logo Gag, expect to hear some variation of it.
Both covers of "I'm a Believer" (Eddie Murphy's in the movie, Smash Mouth's on the soundtrack) are awesome, but Donkey belting it out at the end of the first movie with a crowd of fairy tales backing him up deserves special mention. For a typical kid watching this movie back in the summer of 2001, that whole sequence was the epitome of cool.
Aside from the overly high note, Fiona singing with the bird is pretty nice to hear, especially with the music that plays with it. It almost sounds like something out of Disney and makes you wish the song wasn't cut so short.
Badass Decay: Fiona goes from being able to take down Robin Hood's entire band of outlaws...to being helpless against one guard and Lord Farquaad wielding only a small dagger, in the space of half a movie.
Donkey. He's either hilarious, lovable, and part of the charm and soul of the series, or just plain annoying to the point of being The Load at times, especially in the sequels where his annoying tendencies are flanderized. Overall, the fanbase's opinion of Donkey is much like Shrek's own.
Fiona's human form. Some find her design to be adorable, beautiful, sexy, and more conventionally attractive than her ogre form, and wish that Human!Fiona would make a reappearance of some sort.note For instance, some fans were baffled by her exclusion fromShrek Forever After, due to the fact that AU!Fiona was still cursed, and would have wanted to see what Human!Fiona looked like as a warrior. Others find Human!Fiona to be unnecessarily uncanny due to dated CGI, and not as unique, iconic or endearing as Ogre!Fiona.
Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The random appearance of Robin Hood and his Merry Men about halfway through the first movie. Highly entertaining, to be sure, and they fit well with the overall tone of the movie, but they still have almost no relevance to the plot - short of establishing Fiona's Action Girl skills that (at least in this movie) she never actually uses again - aren't foreshadowed at all, and are never referenced again.
The announcement of a fifth Shrek movie has been met with highly mixed reactions. Some fans are overjoyed, especially ones who grew up with the series, and believe that DreamWorks Animation's beard-growing will lead to another good sequel. Others think that any further sequels would be detrimental, pointing to the sequelitis seen in the third and fourth movies, and believe that the franchise should quit while it's ahead with Puss in Boots. Furthermore, there are those who are afraid that the fifth movie may be an alienating reboot (a la Ghostbusters (2016) or The Mummy (2017)) and/or try to capitalize on kids' trends such as the Minions. Others still find the announcement hard to take seriously due to the franchise's Memetic Mutation and believe that a fifth Shrek movie will be seen as a big joke.
How the films should be regarded for their quality and influence, especially over time. There's little doubt that Shrek was far more universally beloved in its heyday, and that most people consider more emotional and story-based animated moviesnote such as the Pixar canon, the higher points of the Disney Animated Canon, and even DreamWorks' own How to Train Your Dragon to be superior. That said, there are those who consider the movies (especially the first two) to be just as fun and lovable as they were in the day, those who consider the series So Okay, It's Average, and those who find the series to be overrated and unendearing. The latter two camps generally consider the unanimous praise of the first two Shrek movies to be a product of circumstance, due to the fact that the Disney Animated Canon was running dry at the time. Members of all three camps (even those who enjoy Shrek on its own merits) bemoan how the series killed traditional animation and caused animated movies to become more crass and gag-based, but whether it retroactively ruins the series itself is a matter of debate.
Although it's never actually confirmed, much of the Shrek fandom believes Fairy Godmother was the "witch" who cursed Fiona.
Some fans consider Shrek's, Donkey's and Fiona's signature songs to be "All Star", "I'm a Believer" and "It is You (I Have Loved)", respectively.
Brogre memes frequently feature Drek, a blueEvil Knockoff of Shrek, as their equivalent of Satan. Because Lord Farquaad is also an antagonistic figure in Brogre "mythology", his relationship with Drek varies Depending on the Writer, from Drek being a disguise for Farquaad to Farquaad being The Dragon to Drek.
In Mulan, Eddie Murphy's character was a dragon. In Shrek, Eddie Murphy's character marries a dragon.
By sheer coincidence, Farquaad's emblem has an uncanny resemblence to the Facebook logo.
One of the first things Shrek said to Fiona was "You were expecting Prince Charming?" And then...
One of the jokes MAD made about the first movie was Donkey and Dragon having half-donkey, half-dragon babies...which is exactly what happened in the second movie.
Game of Thrones fans can't help but chuckle at how Jaime Lannister is a dead ringer for Prince Charming. The fun doesn't end there - Tyrion is an eccentric, red-clad Deadpan Snarker dwarf lord just like Farquaad and has a similar voice, Sansa is a redheaded princess like Fiona and even has a similar green dress and hair braid in Season 7, Syrio is a Fantasy Counterpart Culture Spaniardnote actually Greek, but his accent sounds heavily Spanish who's proficient with a sword like Puss and compares his style to a cat...
In the Japanese dub of the films, Kōichi Yamadera voiced Donkey. The hilarity came with the fact in the very first film, the villain Lord Farquaad was voiced by Masato Ibu, who voiced the original Dessler and Shrek and Donkey has to defeat him. A few years later, Yamadera himself ends voicing Dessler as well.
Lord Farquaad, who was designed after Michael Eisner, came four years after Hades in Hercules, who was designed off of Jeffrey Katzenberg. Bonus points for John Lithgow nearly becoming the voice of Hades, even recording a few lines, before James Woods took the role.
Hollywood Homely: Fiona as an ogress. Repeatedly told to be ugly, repulsive, disgusting, every synonym imaginable, in the first movie as well as the sequels. While she certainly looks a bit plump and more frightening, most fans think she does look pretty cute even by ogre standards, and Forever After depicts her as a borderline Amazonian Beauty.
It Was His Sled: If you've seen the other movies or other adaptations after the first film, you'd know Fiona is also an ogre and she marries Shrek.
Jerkass Woobie: Shrek himself makes a pretty solid case for this trope. Especially in the first two films.
Love to Hate: Lord Farquaad is possibly the most beloved villain in the series for his cool voice and for being Laughably Evil, which is only helped by his omnipresence as Shrek's antithesis in Brogre memes.
Memetic Badass: Brogre memes depict Shrek as a bizarre supreme deity who is able to kill and maim bullies and non-believers with ease.
Memetic Molester: In the Brogres' copypasta stories, many of Shrek's blessings and powers are activated through intercourse of some sort, which is depicted as immensely pleasurable for his followers and painful for his enemies. By proxy, Donkey, Fiona and Puss have seen their share of this when they appear.
Lord Farquaad gets a fair share of this as well. Considering that he's all but straight-up stated to be jacking off to Fiona's image on the magic mirror in the bed scene, it's not exactly an unreasonable interpretation.
Memetic Psychopath: Some "Shrek is Love Shrek is Life" variants depict Shrek as a blood thirsty slaughterer, almost always depicted in a positive light and pseudo-serious religious tone for Black Comedy purposes.
One-Scene Wonder: Robin Hood and his merry men get a lot of attention from fans despite their very brief screen time.
Periphery Demographic: But of course. All four films were written with family audiences in mind, meaning lots of slapstick humor for the kids and pop-culture references and Getting Crap Past the Radar for adults. And then you have the Brogres, who jokingly worship the franchise and treat it as a form of higher art (and even a religion).
Popularity Polynomial: At its peak, Shrek was a franchise as big as the green ogre himself. The original Shrek won the first Oscar for Best Animated Feature, and Shrek 2 became one of the highest-grossing films at the time. After that, the franchise's formula quickly grew stale as it spawned a host of mediocre imitators, which seeped back into Shrek itself with the poor reviews of Shrek the Third. This led to the downfall of Shrek-style "snarky" animated movies and the rise of more drama-based animated movies such as How to Train Your Dragon and Frozen. However, Memetic Mutation led to an upsurge of ironic popularity for the Shrek series, which eventually grew into unironic popularity as its fans grew up and revisited the movies, and were able to appreciate them anew due to their wittiness and 2000s nostalgia. As of the late new tens, while not to the level of the early noughties, the first two Shrek movies are well-liked and appreciated as modern classics, and Shrek Forever After has quite a few fans and defenders as well.
One of the sources for fuel for the Shrek series, the general disdain directed towards Michael Eisner, was effectively cut off when Eisner was removed from Disney the year after the second Shrek movie hit theaters, along with other studios including Disney trying and failing at the Fractured Fairy Tale trend; Kung Fu Panda's critical and commercial success along with Disney Animation making another comeback sounded the death knell for this idea (the final Shrek film actually took itself more seriously with Rumpelstiltskin alone, and the Puss in Boots spinoff took on more of a high fantasy and adventure tone).
Sequelitis: This is the general consensus for Third. Fans are divided between whether Forever After is just as bad as Third or better. Reception has been much warmer for Forever After than for Third, however.
So Okay, It's Average: Third and Forever After are considered this by fans and critics, with Forever After as the slightly better one of the two.
Superlative Dubbing: The Polish version is arguably funnier than the original, at least to Poles.
Same applies to the Hungarian version, with an extremely clever choice of voice actors and well-adapted cultural references.
Banderas does the Spanish version too - with an Andalusian accent.
The Dutch version was also pretty good with the Woolseyism.
The Latin American localization, however, is largely a subversion, as it sports heavy Mexican accents, idioms, and at times jokes a little too localized, which made the movies right down unbearable for many of the non-Mexicans.
The same problem occurred with the French version; while very well-localized for the French, it was considered incomprehensible by people in Quebec and some parts of France (to the point that one Québécois politician attempted to pass a bill requiring Quebec French dubbing for all movies after seeing Shrek the Third in French).
Suspiciously Similar Song: "Welcome to Duloc" has the same rhythm as "It's a Small World After All", fitting for a song welcoming you to a Disneyland pastiche.
Strawman Has a Point: Shrek is made out to be a jerk for getting angry at the fairy tale creatures for showing up at his swamp. But the creatures were the ones who forcibly invited themselves without clarifying it with Shrek first. Shrek had every right to get angry.
Human!Fiona and her parents, one of the many reasons some people prefer Fiona's ogre form over her human form. The CGI for her human character model hasn't aged well, especially when you see it again in the sequel, which featured much more cartoony looking humans. This carries over to Harold and Lillian when they appear in subsequent sequels. This is downplayed in that most fans still find all three characters to be likable and endearing. Conversely, Ogre!Fiona can evoke this reaction in the first movie, especially in first-time viewers, due to some people being so accustomed to Fiona as a human.
Ugly Cute: Shrek, Donkey and most of the other characters follow this design philosophy, with grotesque, exaggerated features but enough charm and personality to make them lovable. Taken Up to Eleven with Ogre!Fiona, who's less conventionally attractive than Human!Fiona but looks even cuter in spite of that fact.
What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: All four movies have this to some extent, with occasional mild cursing and direct references to adult situations such as drunkenness.
In Name Only: Saying that the 2001 game is accurate to the film is like saying the sky is brown.
It's Easy, So It Sucks!: Frequently the case with these games. A shame, because in Shrek The Third at least, there actually was a decent amount of effort put into the enemy design and variety, but it goes to naught because of overly powerful Regenerating Health and enemies not dealing sufficient amount of damage.
Polished Port: The Gamecube port of the 2001 game, Shrek: Extra Large, ironed out a number of the kinks in the Xbox original.
The Problem with Licensed Games: Many of the games have received consistently tepid reviews in the territory between low 50's and high 60's on Metacritic. Some of the earlier games, such as Shrek: Fairy Tale Freakdown (which got an abysmal 0.5/10), Shrek: Super Party, Shrek: Swamp Kart Speedway and even the very first licensed game, are considered absolutely horrid.
The rare Shrek games that aren't considered absolutely terrible are usually considered fun licensed games in their own right. Notable examples include Shrek 2 and Shrek SuperSlam.
The pinball machine has also been received pretty well, being ranked 93rd overall on the Internet Pinball Database with a 7.8 average rating out of 10 and earns a good amount of money in public. It may have been a Palette Swap of Family Guy, but it had better sales too.
So Bad, It's Good: Because Shrek is so egregious in meme culture, watching and playing the games, even - or especially - the really bad ones can be a riot.
Uncanny Valley: The characters' mugshots in "Fairy Tale Freakdown" try too hard to emulate the CGI of the film, and while it could work in other consoles such as the GBA, it was released on the 8-bit Game Boy Color.