After finding out why Shrek was initially seen as a punishment for the animators at Dreamworks one has to shake their head and keep shaking it since it’s pretty obvious why big studios don’t like sticking their necks out and taking risks. But the reason for that is so asinine that trying to figure out the why and whole dynamic of it is bound to give people a headache since it kind of goes against the whole idea of what people figure the movie industry is all about. If not for taking a chance on Shrek it’s possible that 3D animation would have taken a bit longer to really become popular, or maybe it would have been up to another property to make things start to happen. But the point here is that Shrek was at one time seen as a punishment for those that worked a Dreamworks since it was the unwanted and unloved project that started up in 1996 and wasn’t really given a one-in-a-million shot until it was finally finished and pushed to the public. And most people should know what happened then. Once people were given a look at Shrek they found that they absolutely loved the guy and were heard to break into such huge gales of laughter that it was hard to stop once the hilarity had started. And things only got better as Shrek 2 and then 3 came along since the progression of the big ogre’s life continued to get more and more complicated as he was married, then had kids, and then had to deal with the doldrums of being married and a father and had to take care of his home while not having any real downtime for himself which is something that a lot of parents can understand. But somewhere along the way, possibly after the success of the first movie, Shrek became less of a burden and more of a blockbuster.
One has to wonder though if this would have happened in the same manner had Chris Farley been around to take on the role as he was supposed to initially. He was the actor that was selected to take on the voice of Shrek initially, but when he died Mike Myers had to take over, and he embodied the big ogre in a way that people couldn’t help but love since his accent was great and his ability to play the character was second to none. Add in Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, and a host of other actors and it only got better since Antonio Banderas joined the cast in the second movie and Julie Andrews was around for quite a while as well. Justin Timberlake came in for the third movie, while Rupert Everett took on the role of the villainous Prince Charming for the second and third movies. There were so many talented voice actors at work on this movie that’s hard to name them all considering that Shrek managed to pull together quite a few legends and fairy tale creatures that made the movies what they were since that’s kind of how the story really started out. But to think that this was a punishment might have been easy to see if one was working at Dreamworks, but otherwise, it feels as though the company was resisting the chance to do something big and was thinking that 2D projects were where it was at since Prince of Egypt was a well-told story, but it was also something that was keeping things behind the times as Toy Story had already shown that 3D was possible and that people actually enjoyed it.
It’s a fair bet that a lot of people that worked on this project are looking back now and thinking that they did something great, even if it was difficult along the way. There’s no doubt at all that dragging Shrek out of the mothballs and really making something out of it was a bit of a struggle, but getting people to laugh at the movie and enjoy it immensely was something that appeared to happen overnight, even if it did take a little bit of time to really give the ogre his due. But once the idea was rolling it was evident that people were enamored of the story and didn’t want it to end. It does feel as though Shrek might have been taken overboard just a bit simply because after a while he was one of the biggest names that was seen everywhere, but things have calmed down gradually over the years, and while Shrek is still a family favorite, he’s definitely seen more successful days. But the legacy of this movie is something that won’t fade that quickly since Shrek is still by far one of the favorite animated movies of a lot of people, and for good reason.