If I’m going to write reports on whatever short I see at the Ghibli museum – and I fully intend to – it only makes sense to write about the Shrek short seen as part of the ‘Far Far Away’ world at Universal Studios,
(also screened in every other Universal park. After cute theming based on the
puns and deadpan delivery of silly fairytail ideas that characterise the Shrek
films and go entirely over the heads of most of the audience at Singapore,
the audience is shown into a pre-show featuring the set-up of several minor
characters having been captured by the ghost of Lord Farquaad – which largely
involved people who don’t speak English, or don’t speak English well enough to
understand the exaggerated accents of Shrek, to shuffle, walk out, or in
the case of large groups of mainland Chinese, elbow their way forward when they
realised they would be going through some doors to the movie theatre proper. There,
a surprisingly long, rollicking tale of Shrek and Donkey once again rescuing
Fiona from Farquaad (whose voice made me crave Third Rock from the Sun episodes),
and somehow ghosts being susceptible to a puff of dragonfire (eh, with fantasy
you can make up the rules), it is inelegant but likeable enough. An update with
Puss in Boots and other characters from the sequels might be welcome.
Being ‘4-D’, the film came with the usual gimmicks that justify claiming that step above 3D – sneezes and droplets of a waterfall being rendered by little sprays of water, chairs clunkily thundering along in a way that made me miss the comforts of D-Box technology, ghosts causing a little chill of cold air about the nape…and rather better than those, a silly little prop fairy crash-landed into a speaker and thick air about the ankles for creepy spiders. Having been released back in 2003, before the 3-D gimmick went into full swing, this seems to have been a little ahead of its time in terms of polarizing for each eye and avoiding too much ghosting, but now suffers from the oversaturation of the effects and the obvious use of its gimmicks – no longer special enough to warrant having attention drawn to them in such a way.
The film has apparently been released on DVD, both in 3-D and 2-D, but both would seem to me likely to suffer from how blatantly several moments exist purely to make use of the gimmicks of the 4-D theatre. It unashamedly exaggerates these moments, and without the accompanying effect, I can see them coming over as pointless or even bewildering.
There have now been numerous Shrek shorts and if I ever write impressions of them, it’ll probably be all together. But purely for being in the context of the park, I felt this one should have an entry.