Shrek is a hilarious computer-animated film about a green ogre named “Shrek“ (derived from the Yiddish/German word "Schreck“, meaning "fright“). Loosely based on William Steig’s 1990 fairy tale picture book Shrek!, the film is directed by Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson and establishes DreamWorks Animation as a prime competitor to Pixar.
Characters of the witty fairy tale are voiced by actors such as Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, and John Lithgow. When Mike Myers is brought in to work for the lead character, he decides to record his voice in a Scottish accent.
The rights to the books are originally bought by executive producer Steven Spielberg in 1991. At the time, he plans to make a traditionally animated film. When Spielberg brings the film to the newly founded DreamWorks SKG in 1994, Jeffrey Katzenberg quickly puts Shrek into development. The film adaptation leans heavily on pop culture references and parody, often targeting animated Disney films (Katzenberg’s previous employer).
Shrek’s references to other films include The Wizard of Oz (1939), Dumbo (1941), Cinderella (1950), Peter Pan (1953), Vertigo (1958), West Side Story (1961), Star Trek (1966), The Godfather (1972), Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), The Blues Brothers (1980), Poltergeist (1982), Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), Beetlejuice (1988), Pulp Fiction (1994), Mulan (1998), and Gladiator (2000).
Originally, Shrek is conceived to be motion-captured, but after poor results, the studio decides to assign Pacific Data Images (PDI), a company sold to DreamWorks in 2000, with the task of providing Shrek’s computer-animated look.
Grossing $484.4 million worldwide, the film is a critical and commercial success. Shrek wins the first ever Academy Award for Best Animated Feature (beating Pixar’s Monsters, Inc) and is nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Due to the film’s huge success DreamWorks creates three sequels, Shrek 2 (2004), Shrek the Third (2007), and Shrek Forever After (2010), as well as other merchandise, such as video games, a stage musical and a comic book.