"SHREK THE HALLS"
by Kevin Carr
|| MOVIE: **** (out of 5 stars)
DVD EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5 stars)
Mike Myers as SHREK
Eddie Murphy as DONKEY
Cameron Diaz as PRINCESS FIONA
Antonio Banderas as PUSS IN BOOTS
Studio: DreamWorks Animation
Directed by: Gary Trousdale
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I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Shrek. While I thought the first film was cute, it wasn’t the best animated film around. On the flip side, I thought “Shrek 2” was particularly enjoyable. Then came “Shrek 3,” which made tons of money but was something that I could have done without.
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“Shrek the Halls” was made for television broadcast last year in the traditional half-hour holiday special. It takes place between “Shrek 2” and “Shrek 3,” and it shows how Shrek learned to enjoy his family – and extended family – during the holidays.
We open up with Shrek and Donkey talking about Christmas. Shrek’s not a big fan of the season because before meeting Fiona, he was a lone ogre with no need of celebration. However, now that he has children, he wants to give them a good Christmas. However, when he makes an effort, Donkey (and all the other members of the Shrek Rogue’s Gallery) crash the party and make a mess.
I was pleasantly surprised to see the tone and flavor of this “Shrek” misadventure to be more in line with the first and second movie than the third one. One of the things that made it work was that it didn’t try to be too big. As a half-hour holiday special, “Shrek the Halls” needed to only give us a few laughs and a warm feeling. There was no need for a major villain or a huge action sequence.
Consequently, “Shrek the Halls” relied on gross humor and slapstick to make the film fun, and with all the characters in the forest (including the blind mice, the three German pigs, the mildly inappropriate Gingerbread Man, the hilarious Puss in Boots and the cross-dressing Pinocchio), this worked out well.
The DVD comes with a nice selection of special features, especially considering the feature is only 22 minutes long. There’s sing-along of “12 Days of Christmas” and “Deck the Halls” featuring the “Madagascar” penguins, a dunking game, the DreamWorks Animation video jukebox and a video game demo.
“Shrek the Halls” reminds me of the Christmas specials I watched when I was a kid, like “It’s Christmastime, Charlie Brown” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” It’s a lot of fun to watch with the whole family, and it can have a place in your holiday collection each year.