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A traditional fairy tale usually start’s with “Once upon a time… ” and nearly all the time consists of a courageous, handsome prince with a quest to save a beautiful, stereotypical princess who is in some sort of predicament, generally being held captive to a hideous beast, a dragon or an ogre and ends with the phrase” … and they lived happily ever after. ” We are brought up with this view of fairy tales as all fairy tale stories we are read when we are young follow this basic layout. Shrek therefore must have come as a big surprise to everyone.
The traditional view of a courageous, handsome prince is shattered when we are first introduced to Lord Farquaad torturing the gingerbread man. Shrek on the other hand is supposed to be a man-eating beast but instead is portrayed as a comical, loveable monster with a soft Scottish accent. When the film opens we are lulled into a false sense of security by the slow, romantic music and a soft Scottish voice reading from a old style book with a ancient writing style gives the impression that the film is going to be a traditional tale.
This image is shattered just a minute later when a loud ripping sound is heard the Scottish voice becomes more crude and says “like that’s ever going to happen,” a toilet is flushed, the romantic music cuts off and is quickly replaced by modern, rock music. The ogre then bursts onto the scene in an array of comical sequences with squash his reputation as a hideous beast. His entertaining, well-known voice of Mick Myers and the colours of greens and brown let the audience know Shrek is not going to be a typical fairy tale creature.
When the people from the village set out to catch the ogre with pitchforks and torches, low lighting is used throughout the scene making it seem scarier. Although Shrek tries to be scary in this scene he follows his actions with a comical farce, for example he says an ogre would “squeeze the jelly their eyes,” but then adds “actually it’s quite good on toast. ” This makes shrek seem less fearsome. When Donkey first meets Shrek he is running away from guards. Shrek scares away the guards and starts walking away. Donkey follows him and starts talking to him. Donkey’s voice is recognised to be Eddie Murphy’s
which for people who have seen his other films then know Donkey is going to be a comical character. Shrek roars at Donkey and tries to intimidate him, which fails to succeed. Donkey carries on talking to Shrek, which surprises him. Shrek asks Donkey what he thinks of him, and a high angle shot is used to make Donkey seem a lot smaller than Shrek. Shrek and Donkey then proceed to Shrek’s swamp and when we see the swamp the soft lighting makes it seem homely. Even though it is the expected home for an ogre with green and brown colours associated with slime and dirt, it still seems more welcoming than Lord Farquaad’s castle.
Donkey is forced to sleep outside while Shrek stays inside. As Shrek sits down for a meal, the dark lighting and soft music give the scene a feeling of loneliness, which makes the audience feel sad for Shrek. When the fairy tale creatures turn up in the swamp, Shrek tries to scare them away by shouting loudly. The camera then does a close up of Shrek’s mouth to make it look scarier. Shrek asks does anyone know where Lord Farquaad lives? All the fairy tale creatures are too scared to tell him which shows Lord Farquaad to be a fearsome Lord whom people are terrified of.
Shrek then threatens to go to Lord Farquaad and have the creatures sent back to where they came from and even though Shrek meant it as a threat the creatures applaud him. This sets out the quest of the story involving Shrek and Donkey as the good guys trying to get the swamp back off the evil Lord Farquaad. Lord Farquaad is then introduced walking down a corridor in a castle to loud, scary marching music. He then enters the torture chamber surrounded by hooded figures with dark lighting used to make the scene scarier.
Lord Farquaad is then shown as being a really ugly diminutive figure as opposed to the traditional tall, handsome prince. He then starts to taunt the Gingerbread man and threatens to rip off the Gingerbread man’s gumdrop buttons. After losing patience Lord Farquaad throws the Gingerbread man into a bin. These scenes show Lord Farquaad as being a heartless, evil man. Lord Farquaad dreams of being king, so with purely evil intentions he strives to save the princess, but unlike traditional tales instead of rescuing her himself sends Shrek to do his evil deed.