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  Directed by
    None Listed
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.78:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Full FramePan&Scan
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • English: DTS 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    English - Hearing Impaired
  Extras
  • Teaser trailer
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Audio commentary - Presented by directors Vicky Jenson and Andrew Adamson and producer Aron Warner
  • Cast/crew biographies
  • Featurette
  • Production notes
  • Animated menus
  • 2 Music video
  • Behind the scenes footage
  • DVD-ROM features
  • Interviews
  • Awards/Nominations
  • Storyboards
  • Film highlights
  • Filmographies
  • Interactive film trivia
  • Interactive game
  • Trivia track

Shrek: SE

Dreamworks/Universal . R4 . COLOR . 86 mins . PG . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Shrek has been discussed to such an extent since it was released that it is hard to think of anything new to add to the argument of how good it is. The largest benefit it has is the scope of the audience that it attracts. It is a lot like The Simpsons in this respect – there are many sight gags to entertain the children, but there are also many masterfully implemented witticisms for more mature viewers to catch on to and enjoy.

The story is simple enough for the children to easily follow. Shrek (voiced by Mike Myers) is an ogre who is having big problems. His beloved swamp is being overrun by many fairy tale creatures that have been evicted from their native lands by the tyrannical Lord Farquaad (John Lithgow). Shrek is of course none too pleased with this situation, and he travels to see Farquaad to try and sort the problem out. The two strike a bargain whereby Shrek must journey to a castle that is guarded by a dragon, rescue a princess, and return her to Farquaad. When this is done he will get his swamp back. Off travels Shrek with his new tag-along friend, Donkey (Eddie Murphy).

"I'm a donkey on the edge!"

Along the way the the company comes across many interesting characters and situations. Eventually Princess Fiona is returned to Farquaad by Shrek and Donkey, but there is a twist. The story is well designed and laid out, and the characters are all loveable and nearly all are very memorable.

The voice cast seems to suit the characters so well it is almost scary. After watching this, it just seems to make sense that all ogres have Scottish accents. Cameron Diaz gives the beautiful Princess Fiona a fittingly beautiful voice. John Lithgow is tremendously evil as the narcissistic Farquaad. Eddie Murphy brings such humour to the character of Donkey that he becomes one of the funniest characters in recent animation history.

By the way, in case you were not aware there is a Shrek 2 scheduled for release in 2004 (and John Cleese is one of the voices).

  Video
Contract

Just like the original version of Shrek on DVD, this video transfer is of a supremely high standard. There are two versions of the film presented in this release: a 1.33:1 full frame pan & scan version for the kiddies on disc one and a 1.78:1 16x9 enhanced version on disc two.

Of course the main reason that the video transfer is so good is because its source is entirely digital, much like the Star Wars Episode II release. The sharpness of the image is extraordinary and detail is impeccable all the way through the film. Colours are very rich and vibrant whilst still being very easy on the eyes. Of course another benefit of the totally digital transfer is the total absence of film artefacts. Naturally there is no grain present on the picture at any stage, either.

Shadow detail is wonderfully natural and well constructed. The skin tones look very accurate and true to life. I picked up on a couple of instances of very, very minor aliasing, but this is really only a small quibble.

The disc is RSDL formatted with the layer change occurring at 51:11. The placement of the change is good, but as in most cases it is noticeable. The only subtitles available are English for the hearing impaired, they are very accurate and unabridged.

  Audio
Contract

There are two audio tracks available in this release, and they are a Dolby Digital 5.1 and a DTS 5.1. Both are in English. The 1.78:1 version of the film has access to both tracks, whereas the full frame version only has the Dolby track. The audio transfer is nearly as good as the video.

The only small problem with the transfer is the audio synch, which seems to be a little more common in the DTS track. Of course, being an animated film, it is exceedingly difficult to wipe out this problem all together. Overall however, it is hard to notice if you aren’t looking out for it.

Aside from this quite small hitch, there is not really anything wrong with the audio transfer. Dialogue is very crisp and easy to understand. At no stage is anything that's said incomprehensible, or even slightly difficult to grasp. There are no dropouts to disturb the aural experience.

The surrounds are used very skilfully, but not excessively. The DTS track seems to be a little more aggressive with their use than the Dolby Digital. Directional use is limited, but the score really uses the surrounds to their fullest extent. In addition, a wonderful ambience is created by proficient use of the rear speakers.

Like the surrounds, the subwoofer is not used forcefully, but it adds to the audio brilliantly when it is employed. Also like the surrounds, the subwoofer adds wonderfully to the power of the score and action sequences within the film. Don’t expect a window shattering bass experience… but then again that isn’t what good subwoofer employment is all about. It is accurate, and that is all you can ask for.

The score itself is set by John Powell and Harry Gregson-Williams, and it is one of the best scores to an animated film in the last few years. It suits the mood of the film well. It is mostly comprised of orchestral compositions, though there are a few contemporary songs thrown into the mix.

  Extras
Contract

My God these animated releases sure do like to show off in the extras department, and Shrek: SE is no exception. Probably the most extensive set of extras on any DVD release is up for your perusal here. Some of the extras are available on the original Shrek DVD release, and thus I have colour coded this section. The extras with headings in green are available in the original version, and the extras with headings in blue are new additions included in the special edition.

Disc 1

Shrek in the Swamp Karaoke Dance Party - Running for 2:45, this is a short animated piece where the characters from the film perform karaoke songs. There are some very funny moments in this, and it's definitely worth a look. This will automatically play after the end of the credits, or you can select it from the special features section. Presented in Dolby Digital 2.0, and an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, it is also 16x9 enhanced.

Cast and Crew Bios - This is possibly the most extensive listing of cast and crew information on any DVD release. There is a veritable plethora of information to digest here, much of it very relevant. There are interviews with the cast that are behind the main characters as well.

Production Notes - A few pages dedicated to information regarding the inspiration behind the story.

Dreamworks Kids - A selection of extras obviously designed for the kiddies. They are: Favourite Scenes - Five categories are in this section. They are: 'Laugh Out Loud', 'Action', 'Gross Out', 'Isn’t that Romantic?' and 'Weird nimal Incidents'. When you select a category, you are taken to snippets from the film that are relevant.
Shrek’s Music Room - There are two music videos available here: the first is I’m A Believer by Smash Mouth and the second is Best Years of Our Lives by the Baha Men. Both clips are presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 and are in full frame. Also in this section is a short featurette on the making-of of the Best Days of Our Lives clip.
The Game Swamp - A selection of interactive games that are playable from the DVD player. They include:

  • Shrektacular Trivia - A selection of questions relating to the film.
  • Character Morph - A little game where you are able to switch body parts of the characters.
  • Dress Up The Gingerbread Man - Allows you to put the gingerbread man in various costumes. Good for a giggle.
  • Rescue the Princess - A progressive game where you must answer a given question right in order to proceed.
  • Mirror Mirror on the Wall - Ask the mirror a question and see what the magic mirror has to say on the matter.

DVD-ROM Games - There are 13 DVD-ROM games available, 12 of which are new. Kids will get much more entertainment from these than adults. Here they are:

  • Shrek’s ReVoice Studio - This allows you to record your own voices and place them in certain scenes in the film. The computer will then try to match up what you recorded to the scene and try to audio synch it as close as it is able. The kids will love it, and it is good for a laugh for adults.
  • Soup Slam - A fun game where you use Shrek’s spoon to try and push many disgusting things in his soup to the bottom of the bowl.
  • Gingerbread Hangman - A fun version of the old game, but with a twist – instead of adding lines to draw a hanged man, the gingerbread mean is gradually pulled apart and eaten by Lord Farquaad.
  • Learn to Draw Shrek - A very complete guide on how to draw Shrek.
  • Bugs and Slugs - A game of noughts and crosses, except bugs and slugs are used as a substitute.
  • Colour a Scene - A selection of four stationary scenes where you are able to click to paint various sections. You are also able to print your masterpieces once they are completed.
  • Colouring Pages - A number of line drawings of characters from the film. You are able to print them and colour them in.
  • Fairy Tale Lanes - A fun bowling game where gnomes are used as pins and an eyeball is used as the bowling ball.
  • Fire Donkey - The dragon is attempting to burn down the bridge than stands over the moat of lava. You must control donkey and try to stomp out the fires as they sprout up. Be quick though, because if a fire burns too long the bridge will fall.
  • Pin the Tail on the Donkey - This is a large image of Donkey that, when printed, takes up four A4 sheets of paper. Stick them together with sticky tape, print out Donkey’s tail, and have the kiddies try to pin it on the donkey.
  • Shrek Pinball - A simple game of pinball with a Shrek pinball table.
  • Charming Dragon - You control the dragon, and you must catch as many falling charms as you can in her love heart.
  • Ogre Masks - A number of Shrek masks that you can print and cut out for the kids to wear.

HBO First Look – The Making of Shrek - Running for 24:33, this is a somewhat informative featurette. It contains interviews with the stars and some behind the scenes info. It is presented in full frame and Dolby Digital 2.0.

Sneak Peek - A trailer for the recent Dreamworks film Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. It is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, is 16x9 enhanced, and has a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack.

Shrek Fun Facts - Presented as an Easter egg, this is accessible by clicking the Gingerbread Man’s buttons. There is a large collection of trivia, and a different one is displayed each time you click one of his buttons.

Disc 2

Audio Commentary - This feature-length audio commentary is presented by Vicky Jenson, Andrew Adamson (the directors), and producer Aron Warner. This is definitely one of the better DVD commentaries out there at the moment. It is the same commentary that is on the original Shrek release. There are virtually no quiet sections during the entire presentation, and it makes for very entertaining listening. The trio go into a lot of detail, covering topics such as the actors, a little about the technical side of the production and the animation techniques. Very worthwhile.

The Tech of Shrek - Running for a little over 22 minutes, this is a more indepth look at the technical side of Shrek than the HBO offering gives us. It's much more interesting, and definitely worth a look. It is presented in full frame with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.

International Dubbing - A short segment where the techniques of choosing the international voices to replace the English speaking cast is explained.

Cast and Crew Bios - The same bios that are on Disc 1.

Production Notes - The same notes that are on Disc 1.

Shrek in the Swamp Karaoke Dance Party - Yep, the same as on disc 1...

Storyboard Pitch of Deleted Scenes - Three storyboards are shown with the artist talking the producers through the scene as they imagine it to be. Very interesting and worth a viewing.

Technical Goofs - Running for almost three minutes, this is a collection of animation errors. Some are quite amusing.

X-Box Game Playing Hints - A couple of pages containing hints and tips on how to play the X-Box version of the Shrek game.

Progression Reel - A selection of still images of different characters that shows their progression from early design to completion.

Shrek Fun Facts - Presented as an Easter egg, this is the same extra that is on the first disc.

Theatrical Trailer - The original theatrical trailer, this runs for two minutes. It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, is 16x9 enhanced and has Dolby Digital 5.1 sound.

PHEW!

  Overall  
Contract

Without a doubt this is one of, if not the best, animated films of the past decade. The often subtle humour works wonderfully well and appeals to a vast audience. If you need more incentive to buy this, then the superb all-digital video transfer and very good audio transfer, combined with the HUGE number of extras, should put the decision firmly in the no-brainer category.


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=2044
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  •  DVD NET Gold Review List 
      And I quote...
    "If you don’t own the original version of Shrek yet (why not??), then this is a must buy..."
    - Robert Mack
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Sony DVP-NS300
    • TV:
          Sony 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Sony STR-DE475
    • Speakers:
          Sony
    • Centre Speaker:
          Sony
    • Surrounds:
          Sony
    • Subwoofer:
          Sony Active Superwoofer
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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