Shrek is the fourth motion picture from DreamWorks Animation It is released to cienmas on May 18, 2001 as released on VHS and DVD on September 4, 2001. On May 19, 2004, Shrek 2 was released. On May 18, 2007, Shrek the Third was released. On May 21, 2010, Shrek Forever After, the final Shrek film was released.
Shrek, a green Ogre that has always enjoyed living in peaceful solitude in his swamp, finds his life disrupted when numerous fairytale beings, including Pinocchio, the Three Little Pigs, and Donkey, are forced into the swamp by order of the obsessive Lord Farquaad.
Shrek leaves the swamp to ask Farquaad for the return of his privacy, with Donkey tagging along. Meanwhile, Farquaad tortures the Gingerbread Man into revealing the whereabouts of the remaining fairytale creatures until his guards rush in with an object Farquaad has been searching for: the Magic Mirror. The Mirror tells him that Farquaad can only become a real king by marrying a princess. The Mirror gives him three princesses to choose from including Cinderella, Snow White, and Princess Fiona. Farquaad chooses Fiona and silences the Mirror before he can mention "the little thing that happens at night".
Shrek and Donkey arrive at Farquaad's palace in Duloc, where they find themselves in the midst of a tournament; the winner will have the "privilege" of attempting to rescue Fiona from a castle surrounded by lava and protected by a fire-breathing dragon so that Farquaad may marry her. Shrek (with some help from Donkey) easily beats the other knights in a fashion that resembles a wrestling match and Farquaad agrees to remove the fairytale creatures from the swamp if Shrek rescues Fiona.
Shrek and Donkey travel to the castle and split up to find Fiona. Donkey encounters the dragon and sweet-talks the beast to save himself before discovering that the dragon is female. Dragon takes a liking to Donkey and carries him to her chambers. When Shrek finds Fiona, she is appalled at his lack of romanticism. As they are leaving, Shrek manages to save Donkey, caught in Dragon's tender clutches, and causing her to become irate, chasing Shrek, Fiona, and Donkey out of the castle. At first, Fiona is thrilled to be rescued but quickly becomes disappointed when she finds out that Shrek is an ogre. The three make their return journey to Farquaad's palace, with Shrek and Fiona finding they have more in common with each other along the way, and falling in love. However, at night, Fiona refuses to camp with them, taking shelter in a nearby cave until morning. Shrek and Donkey stay awake and watch the stars while Shrek informs Donkey that he plans to build a wall around his swamp when he returns. When Donkey persists as to why Shrek would do this, Shrek tells him that everyone judges him before they know him, therefore he is better off alone.
The next night, Fiona takes shelter in a nearby windmill. When Donkey hears strange noises coming from the windmill, he finds Fiona has turned into an ogre. Fiona explains she was cursed as a child and turns into an ogre every night, which is why she was locked away in the castle, and that only a kiss from her true love will return her to her proper form. Shrek, about to confess his feelings for Fiona, overhears part of their conversation, and is heartbroken as he misinterprets her disgust at her transformation into an "ugly beast" as being disgusted with him. Fiona makes Donkey promise not to tell Shrek about the spell, vowing to do it herself, but when the next morning comes, Shrek has brought Lord Farquaad to Fiona. The two return to the castle, while a hurt Shrek returns to the now-vacated swamp.
Shrek finds that despite his privacy, he is miserable and misses Fiona. Donkey shows up to tell him that Fiona will be getting married shortly, urging Shrek into action to gain Fiona's true love. They are able to travel to Duloc quickly thanks to Dragon, who had escaped her confines and followed Donkey. They interrupt the wedding before Farquaad can kiss Fiona, but not before the sun sets, which causes Fiona to turn into an ogre in front of everyone. While her transformation causes Shrek to fully understand what he overheard at the windmill, Farquaad, disgusted over the change, orders Shrek killed and Fiona imprisoned, but Dragon bursts in and devours Farquaad. Shrek and Fiona admit their love for each other and share a kiss; Fiona is bathed in light as her curse is broken, but is surprised to find that she has remained an ogre. Shrek calms her by assuring her that she is still beautiful. The two of them get married in the swamp and depart on their honeymoon while the rest celebrate by singing "I'm a Believer"
Robin Williams, who had worked for Jeffrey Katzenberg before on Aladdin and had a bitter falling out with him and The Walt Disney Company over marketing agreements, has hinted in an interview that he refused a role in Shrek, because it would mean working for Katzenberg again. He would not state which role he had refused.
Chris Farley was originally going to do the voice for Shrek and recorded at least half of the dialogue for the character, but died before the project was completed. Dreamworks then re-cast the voice role to Mike Myers. After Myers had completed providing the voice for the character, and the film was well into production, he asked to re-record all of his lines in a Scottish accent similar to the one his mother had used when she told him bedtime stories. Myers had also employed a Scottish accent for a Saturday Night Live skit, and also for the characters Stuart MacKenzie in the motion picture So I Married an Axe Murderer, and Fat Bastard in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and Austin Powers in Goldmember.
Donkey was modeled after Pericles, a real miniature donkey from Barron Park, Palo Alto, California.
Shrek received generally positive reviews. Review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes reports that 89% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 173 reviews, with an average score of 7.7/10. The critical consensus is: While simultaneously embracing and subverting fairy tales, the irreverent Shrek also manages to tweak Disney's nose, provide a moral message to children, and offer viewers a funny, fast-paced ride.
Roger Ebert praised the film, giving it four stars and describing it as "jolly and wicked, filled with sly in-jokes and yet somehow possessing a heart."
The film first made $11 million on its first day, and then $42,347,760 during an opening weekend, averaging $11,805 per theater, making it the highest-grossing film that week, beating The Mummy Returns on its third week with $20 million. The film stayed in cinemas for more than 29 weeks (roughly over 206 days), exceeding Shrek 2 at 21 weeks and Shrek the Third at 12 weeks. It made $267,665,011 in the United States and Canada as well as $216,744,207 internationally, for a worldwide total of $484 million, making it the second-highest-grossing animated film of the year behind Monsters, Inc. It is the fourth-highest-grossing film of 2001 behind Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and Monsters Inc.
At the Oscars, Shrek won the first ever Academy Award For Best Animated Feature, beating Monsters, Inc. and Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. Entertainment Weekly put it on its end-of-the-decade, "best-of" list, saying, "Prince Charming? So last millennium. This decade, fairy-tale fans--and Princess Fiona--fell for a fat and flatulent orge. Now, that's progress." Eddie Murphy became the first actor to ever receive a BAFTA nomination for a voice-over performance.