Directed By: Gary Trousdale
Starring: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas
Shrek and Fiona have adjusted well to parenthood. Wiling the seasons away in bliss with their three precious children, but a storm cloud gathers in the near future that threatens to turn their perfect world upside down. Yes Christmas is coming and life in the swamp will never be the same.
Donkey, a devotee of Christmas tries several times throughout the year to infect Shrek with a little Christmas cheer. Now in the middle of the summer and in the early fall it’s perfectly normal for Shrek to brush Donkey off, but when Donkey visits on the day before Christmas Eve and Shrek is still not showing the slightest interest in Christmas it’s easy to question his wisdom. Especially when Fiona bursts out the door and exclaims how excited she is that they will have a white Christmas. Shrek’s not all that sure about the whole idea of Christmas, but if it’s something Fiona wants he’ll give her and the babies a Christmas. Shrek braves driving snow, sheer cliffs, and impossible peaks as he sprints to town to pickup some clue about Christmas. In town a helpful store clerk sells him a copy of Christmas for the Village Idiot. The next morning Fiona is awakened by Shrek decorating the house in typical ogre fashion. Donkey shows up and offers some constructive criticism which Shrek doesn’t take to well. Afterward while Fiona is patching things up with Donkey, she tells Donkey that Shrek is looking forward to a family Christmas. Donkey sees the light and trots off. Shrek and Fiona spend the rest of Christmas Eve getting ready for Christmas and are having a nice time back at the house that evening when Donkey shows up with the wife and kids, the Three Little Pigs, Pinocchio, Gingy, The Big Bad Wolf and Puss and Boots. Turns out Donkey’s idea of family is a little bit more expansive than Shrek’s.
Yes it is that time of year. The Halloween junk is coming off the store shelves and the Christmas junk is going up. If your Christmas cheer circuits are needing a jump start Shrek, Donkey and the gang aren’t a bad way to do it. The story is a charming enough secular Christmas story, if formulaic and shallow, but the animation is marvelous. It still amazes me the detail and realism that today’s technology and animators can accomplish. The twenty seven minute video is full of the types of gags your used to in Shrek tales and multiple viewings are rewarded with the richness and detail of the world the animators have created. The soundtrack is a notch or two better than par including tunes from Seals & Crofts, The Waitresses, Journey, eels and The Donnas. All an all it’s a sweet and funny bit of Christmas cheer that kids and parents can enjoy.
The video is presented in wide and full screen formats. It looks simply astounding. The colors and blacks are deep and rich. Every shot would make a decent poster. The only artifacts I noticed were just a minimum of aliasing. Even the white text against the black back ground of the credits is crisp and sharp.
The audio presented in your choice of Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound or Stereo. There are English, French and Spanish subtitles. The audio is mixed well, the dialog is always clear and never covered up by the score or foley. I never noticed any distortion or other problems that would interfere with the enjoyment of the disc.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The DVD comes in a white Amaray case which is fitting for a Christmas DVD and a nice contrast to the usual black. The artwork is fun and imaginative with descriptive copy that is clear and easy to read. The bonus materials include a couple of videos for Christmas songs performed by DreamWorks characters. There is a game starring Gingy the gingerbread man that you can play in the DVD and a demo for Shrek Carnival Craze that you’ll have to pop into your PC to play. There are a bunch of what are basically DreamWorks Animation previews that are presented as songs in a video jukebox, which is a nice twist. There are no commentary tracks or making of featurettes, but only a bonus feature addict, like me, would expect such things on an under thirty minute Christmas DVD.
I kind of dreaded popping a Christmas DVD in the player this early, but this little story has kind of grown on me. If your just a nut for Christmas programming or a big Shrek fan I would imagine you’ll want to pick this up. The only real knock against the DVD is it’s length. You just start to get comfortable and it’s over.
Overall (Not an Average) 7/10
The Movie 7/10
The Video 8/10
The Audio 7/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 6/10
Overall (Not an Average) 7/10