hrek is a computer animated film made in 2000 by DreamWorks and is a parody of the fairytale genre; this creates a film that appeals to many audiences, especially as there are many levels of humour, including innuendo, puns and slapstick. Shrek is a reclusive ogre who is given a quest to find Lord Farquaad’s ‘love’, Princess Fiona on the condition that the Lord removes all the fairytale creatures currently residing in his swamp. Shrek eventually finds the Princess with the aid of his wisecracking donkey called Donkey.The story concludes with the discovery that Princess Fiona turns into an ogre at night, therefore showing that true beauty is on the inside.
Before we meet Farquaad, we have seen his army attempting to eradicate the fairytale creatures; this automatically makes him a villain as most fairytale creatures are either good or misrepresented characters, so the audience already feels sympathetic to their plight.Farquaad has a large army of knights in suits of armour, which is stereotypical of the portrayal of a medieval lord in a modern film; from the audiences prior knowledge of such films they will expect the Lord to be the clichi?? f ‘dark, tall and handsome. ‘ We are made to feel that the Lord is an all powerful, all knowing ruler who everybody else is frightened of… until we hear Shrek’s flippant remarks, he seems not even remotely frightened, this could be because Shrek feels that, as an ogre, he is invincible, or because he has been living in a rural area and therefore has had no dealings with the lord; either way, this provides a change from the attractive yet evil preconception that we have.
Our first sight of the Lord is that of his shoes, which are very regal, this is accompanied by an orchestral piece reaching a crescendo as we see the Lord’s whole body rapidly dwindles as we pan out and see the Lord is actually rather short, thus ending our impressions of a towering ruler. When we see this, we see that the Lord has been throwing his weight around to make up for his lack of height. Whilst this is happening, the scene cuts to a ‘executioner’ style person who is seen pouring a glass of milk, which, we find out later is used as a torture implement to soften the gingerbread man.In this scene, we are bombarded with references to literature, from Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’ to Kipling’s ‘The Jungle Book. ‘ One reference that I could immediately relate too was of Orwell’s ‘1984,’ where Winston’s greatest fear is of rats and he will do anything, even sell out his friends to not have to be faced with them in Room 101; this is echoed in the Gingerbread Man’s immense fear of having his gumdrop buttons ripped off him.Although there are many slight references, only a few would be obvious to individual viewers, and of these, you could not identify them as immediate references or parodies as they are so quick and manage to blend into the story seamlessly.
As the Gingerbread Man is being tortured and questioned, it is a ‘point of view’ shot, therefore almost forcing the viewer to feel empathy with him. This empathy means that we are again reminded of Lord Farquaad’s power and dominating nature.As we have an upwards tilt, it feels like Lord Farquaad is exerting authority over the audience and this tilt also makes the Lord look taller and more in control, whilst also stressing the state of submission the Gingerbread Man is in.
In conclusion, the Lord is introduced in a very clever way, playing with the audiences’ preconceptions and changing his status in the audiences’ eyes on a regular basis.Music and camera angles play a large part in enforcing the Lord’s status, as does timing and the order in which the cast is introduced. As this film is animated, it is a large endeavour on the animators’ part to try and introduce the characters normally, let alone in the clever and sly way that has been achieved. I feel that it must be said, however that this clever introductive sequence is part of a film hat was made by 275 artists, computer animators, software developers and engineers, taking almost three years to complete.