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June 13, 2001
Deconstructing Shrek

Rotten Dot Com - At The Movies
"FOUR STARS" - Roger Ebert

Shrek ................ Mike Myers
Donkey ............... Eddie Murphy
Princess Fiona ....... Cameron Diaz
Lord Farquaad ........ John Lithgow
Produced by .......... DreamWorks SKG
Directed by .......... Who Cares
Before Bill Budge came along with Pinball Construction Set in 1985, the majority of software pinball games shared a peculiar flaw. Just before your ball rolled down the exit ramp, you could jam the flipper up and seize it cold. You could trap it right there, pausing long enough to regain composure like you might in the real world. On the Apple ][, however, something was wrong. The ball's internal logic seemed to be getting in the way. I am a heavy metal sphere, it declared. I'm on a slick, inclined plane and I'm affected by gravity.
The pinball should have remained at rest, but it never stopped moving. It twiddled back and forth by a margin of one or two pixels. It was stuck in a most unfortunate region of space: the inverted apex of opposing diagonals, each with conflicting directional assignment.

Sometimes it twiddled fast, sometimes it twiddled slow. Either way, the end result was a complete disintegration of the implied understanding that normal, natural physics were somehow at play. And when the illusion ended, so did the game.

Disgusted, you threw the beige paddles down on the kitchen table and stormed off, another adolescent casualty of untalented, thoughtless programming.

twiddle n : a series of small (usu. idle) twists or turns v 1: turn in a twisting or spinning motion; "The leaves twiddled in the autumn wind" [syn: twirl, swirl, whirl] 2: manipulate, as in a nervous or unconscious manner [syn: fiddle with] - Webster's New World Dictionary

ixteen years later, in the form of DreamWorks' Shrek, nothing has been learned from Budge's pioneering treatise on the benefits of realistic non-animation. Here is a ragtag assortment of plot, character, music and form so completely retarded, so profoundly awful and repellent that audiences for decades to come will be forced to acknowledge time and again to their children that yes indeed, this piece of shit was created by human beings on a computer.
Over the course of an hour and a half, whimsical creatures wink, blink and roll their eyes. They scratch their chins and furrow their brows. Their arms dangle to and fro, sometimes refusing to arrive anywhere near a full stop. Shrek and his entourage can be seen in every frame twitching, scratching, smirking, jerking, bobbling their idiotic heads from side to side. They squinch up their facial expressions like autistic, constipated children. Why? Pretty much for no reason other than software development has enabled them to do so.
"GRRR! Dig my texture-mapped angry face."

ave we all died and gone to Chuck E. Cheese? Is this our punishment for remaining alive on planet Earth? These filmmakers have retained none of the morals laid forth in Jurassic Park. Just because they could doesn't mean they should. Dating Game parodies, Matrix-style fight scenes and bland musical numbers sproing from nowhere, screaming the same message over and over: WE'RE HACKS.

Let the record reflect that Shrek contains no memorable story, no conflict, nor cinematic narrative device of any value. Vague themes are cobbled together from The Princess Bride, Rapunzel, and numerous other forgettable scraps of Disney-branded folklore, distilled into a four word Onion headline from the Dark ages. Damsel in Distress Rescued.
Cameron Diaz (Feeling Minnesota) supplies the voice of this damsel, Princess Fiona. Once and for all, Diaz confirms she is unable to act her way out of a grocery bag, regardless of whether or not her tits are displayed onscreen. Fiona walks, talks, and combs her hair with all the inspired realism of a Honey Nut Cheerios bee.

One experiences little more than palpable discomfort when exposed to Diaz's shrill, hyperactive vocal gymnastics. Viewers can feel her sitting in the studio, shifting in her chair, stumbling over complicated blocks of text. Fiona's words are violently expelled, as though encouraged by sharp, painful blows to the abdomen.
Casting Diaz was a risky decision which didn't pay off. If producers afforded her the opportunity to improvise, her inane self-styled comedy squawkings did nothing to shield our delicate ears from one of the most appalling aspects of Shrek: the musical score.

-- what's the deal with airplane food? And TV commercials? Have you seen these things? OH GOD I'M SINKING --

THE BAHA MEN wording it up, obeying their thirst.

andy Newman's “You've Got A Friend In Me” didn't flush Toy Story down the crapper until at least a full half-hour had elapsed. Less than thirty seconds into Shrek, ridiculous and inappropriate music engages the audience with unmitigated anal assault and battery.

DreamWorks has slopped together a limpwristed showcase of the shittiest music ever recorded inside an MTV breakroom. Present and accounted for are Smash Mouth, The Baha Men (Who Let The Dogs Out?), The Eels, Leslie Carter, Halfcocked, Self, and many others not worth mentioning.

It's not a spoiler to reveal this music is primarily youth-focused window dressing for insipid, unnecessary montage sequences during which the entire audience sits silent, motionless, goggle-eared with anger and disbelief.
Yes, montage sequences! In an animated film released this year. Each is a loud, prolonged fart in your face. Why didn't the audio engineers just master these tracks directly onto a length of toilet paper? You endure this movie like a McDonald's drive-through and you exit the same way: feeling sleazy, gross, ashamed, obese. If you must put a cock in your mouth and suck on it, just stay home and dial an escort service.

Third Rock was canceled! Oh joyous rapture, I'm finally free to return to my first love - animated feature films!

I'll write some poems! And a novel! And record a delightful children's holiday alb-- *HURMPH* HEART ATTACK

ddie Murphy (Harlem Nights) is a fucking donkey - a blubbering, tiresome sidekick from the Jar Jar school of method acting. He follows Disney's family movie blueprint to the letter: mincing and miming, prancing and jiving like there's no tomorrow. Every time you see this character, you whisper the same silent prayer. Please dear God, let Donkey fall down a hole and break his neck. Of course, he never does.

He is a mosquito of unlimited energy, buzzing in your ear one minute, flying up your ass the next. Donkey's exhausting one-liners are presented the same way children in John Hughes movies speak; like smart mouthed, fresh-faced miniature adults attempting to crack wise. From start to finish, Donkey's verbal and physical mannerisms are exactly what you might expect from Sinbad, James Brown, Martin Lawrence - indeed anyone with unrestricted access to 64-ounce cans of malt liquor.
Can our journey involve a transvestite prostitute? Please? Huh? Please? Can it? Please? Huh?

--See, y'allz know women be different than men! Men be all hoggin' the remote control and shit! Am I right? --


The movie poster wants this to be “the greatest story never told,” which turns out to be the same old story ticketholders are tired of paying for and quite happy remaining oblivious to. It's what's inside that counts, blows the press kit. Didja hear that everyone?? Let's all look beyond the surface of people's skins and appreciate individuals for who they really are!! GEE WHIZ, I'VE NEVER HEARD THAT BEFORE.
Possibly, the press kit is alluding to the threadbare love story between Shrek and Fiona, a gimmick which only further suffocates viewers. Hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of tedious animation so this guy can sit in a dew-dappled meadow and talk about his fucking feelings? PLEASE CHOKE ON SOMETHING.

Worse yet, there is but one line in the movie directly addressing this love. The pinnacle of Shrek's romantic exposition is dispensed thusly:
You love her, don't you?

If Shrek is subjected to the same moral criteria preached by the press kit - or other DreamWorks productions like Mouse Hunt, Meet The Parents, American Beauty, Evolution - how many unique treasures of the human heart will we find just beneath the surface? Hint: ZERO.
Perhaps you've heard this film makes a series of wry, winking jokes at Disney's expense, and the thought of Disney and DreamWorks somehow “fighting” with one another tickles your fancy like a brand new issue of Entertainment Weekly.

You can rest assured any references to Snow White, Cinderella, or Pinnochio in Shrek provide no more amusement than overhearing a rich, white Michael Eisner chuckling on his cel phone with a rich, white Steven Spielberg.
Two utterly indistinguishable pieces of shit.
Not many people are likely to give Shrek the time of day. It's the cinematic equivalent of a noisy, repetitive banner ad made with Macromedia Flash. You can click on it if you want, but everything you're curious about has already been given away.

Whether they meant to or not, DreamWorks has constructed a movie designed for an isolated group of computer illiterates who possess a limited awareness of what technology is capable of. If you've never played Quake, if you've never seen Dance Dance Revolution, if you're unable to send mail without AOL, you will probably give this film four big, huge stars.

Good or bad, this is a segment of the population whose numbers are dwindling moment by moment.

ids with half a brain
don't fall into that demographic, only adults. Only old people stranded on an island of death and their grandmothers will ever be bamboozled by the likes of Shrek - and only fat, scraggly gamers or quality assurance oafs like those familiar with Bill Budge or Pinball Construction Set will devote the rest of their lives to collecting all the merchandise.

( Posted by Rotten Staff )

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