Blu-Ray Review: ‘Shrek: The Whole Story’ Offers Entire Franchise in One Set

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CHICAGO – With “Shrek Forever After” also being billed as “Shrek: The Final Chapter” and being pitched as the final film in the “Shrek” franchise, it only makes sense that DreamWorks has put together a lavish box set of this billion-dollar franchise that captures the entire saga of Shrek, Donkey, Fiona, and the rest of the lovable creatures of arguably the most influential series of films of the last decade. Blu-Ray Rating: 3.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 3.5/5.0

Naturally, there are two reviews in one here. The 2010 film that ends the franchise and forces this box set into existence is a massive disappointment, easily the worst of the four movies and one of the bigger pieces of junk from this past summer. Of course, the first two “Shrek” movies off-set the mediocrity of the third and failure of the fourth and when one factors in the excellence of DreamWorks HD capabilities and interesting special features on all four discs, “Shrek: The Whole Story” becomes a pretty excellent release. While we can’t recommend “Shrek Forever After” on its own, “Shrek: The Whole Story” is still pretty cool.

Shrek: The Whole Story was released on Blu-ray on December 7th, 2010
Shrek: The Whole Story was released on Blu-ray on December 7th, 2010
Photo credit: DreamWorks

2001’s “Shrek” is still my favorite film in the franchise and arguably one of the most important movies of the last decade. With its near-$500 million worldwide gross, it not only proved that someone other than Disney could be a major player in the animation game but that computers would soon replace hand-drawn animation entirely. The remarkable proliferation of CGI animation in today’s market can be directly traced to two films — “Toy Story” and “Shrek.”

Ignoring the film’s cultural importance, it’s also still damn funny. The movie has held up and we shouldn’t let how much these jokes got pounded into the ground with repetition over the franchise diminish the first film. It’s funny stuff and the special features on the Blu-ray are also impressive, especially picture-in-picture behind-the-scenes details about the making of the film called “The Animators’ Corner,” which plays on all four films. The other exclusive new Blu-ray feature to the first three films is “Shrek’s Interactive Journey,” a map that displays concept art, storyboards, sketches, etc. It’s interesting archival material but somewhat-annoyingly organized.

2004’s “Shrek 2” was such a massive success that the figures still have the ability to drop the jaw. It made $920 million worldwide. It’s the NUMBER FIVE film of all time between “Star Wars” and “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.” People don’t just like “Shrek 2.” They love and adore it. And it’s easy to see why. The film followed the “Toy Story 2” model and expanded on the universe of the first film instead of falling prey to the common pitfall of animated sequels.

Wondering what that pitfall is? Look no further than “Shrek the Third” and “Shrek Forever After,” two films that merely take what worked about the first two movies and hammer them like a kid playing Whack-a-Mole. “Shrek the Third” is disappointing and “Shrek Forever After” is bad. Even those films have been given respectable HD treatments with interesting special features and great transfers.

Two excellent films, one okay one, and one bad movie is a better batting average than a lot of box sets and the copious special features combined with DreamWorks excellent skill at HD video and audio make for a great holiday season gift.

Special Features:
o Commentary: Filmmakers’ Commentary
o Interview: Conversation With The Cast
o Other: The Tech Of Shrek Forever After
o Other: Blu-ray Exclusives
o Other: Previews
o Music Videos: Shrek, Rattle & Roll
o Music Videos: DreamWorks Animaton Music Video Jukebox
o Music Videos: Merry Music
o Games: Deck The Swamp
o Featurette: Donkey’s Caroling Christmas-tacular
o Additional Scenes: Special Features

“Shrek: The Whole Story” stars Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, and Cameron Diaz. The box set was released on December 7th, 2010 by DreamWorks. content director Brian Tallerico

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