Remember Shrek? It’s Been 20 Years. Feel Old Yet? | The Daily Star
12:12 PM, June 09, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:31 PM, June 09, 2021

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Remember Shrek? It’s Been 20 Years. Feel Old Yet?

Twenty years ago, the world was graced with the most lovably atypical fairy tale character.

Shrek is a character like no other. He first appeared in a 1990 fairy tale picture book of the same name by William Steig. However, when he was reimagined and reintroduced to the world in 2001, he took the world by storm. Voiced by Mike Myers, who sported a Scottish accent, Shrek's voice and dialogues were memorable.

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Shrek, as we all know, is an ogre who lives in a swamp all by himself. Locals are terrified of him because of his large stature and overall appearance. However, Shrek likes it that way. He lives by himself, enjoys his mud showers and eats to his heart's content. His solitude is disrupted when the comically tiny Lord Farquaad exiles a vast number of fairy tale creatures into his swamp. Annoyed by this invasion, Shrek goes on a quest to reclaim his swamp. In his journey, he befriends the legendary Donkey, voiced by Eddie Murphy, who sticks by his side as his "noble steed".

Princess Fiona, played by Cameron Diaz, also has a secret. After the sun goes down, Fiona transforms into her true form every day, which is an ogress. When we reach the climax of the movie during Farquaad and Fiona's wedding, Shrek heroically crashes the scene and declares his love for her. They kiss after sundown, which breaks her curse, permanently changing her into an ogress.

Why is this story loved by so many people? Well, this movie is not like any other fairy tale that we grew up loving. Shrek and Fiona love each other only because of their characters; she does not care that he is an ogre who is feared by so many people. Shrek still loves Fiona even after knowing her secret. It also reflects on how people misunderstand Shrek and get scared by him because he is an ogre. As Shrek puts it, "Onions have layers. I have layers."

This movie taught me the power of sweet, loyal friendship. Donkey befriends Shrek even when other creatures are terrified of him. He sticks by him when no one else would.

Shrek is the perfect anti-fairy tale. It pokes fun at Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Peter Pan, Beauty and the Beast and many others, and puts a realistic spin on the concepts of those stories. Shrek is so full of references to pop culture, you find a new one with every re-watch. It slyly refers to The Matrix, Babe, Justin Timberlake, police violence (blink and you'll miss it), and so many others.

Children might not have gotten many of the jokes in Shrek, but that is the beauty of this story – it gets better with every re-watch. This movie made us love an ogre, a creature that is, by definition, ugly, brutal and unlovable. We witnessed the love story between two souls who do not care what the world thinks of them. Shrek's legacy lives on even after 20 years, garnering more fans every day, and rightfully so.

Durdana Kamal likes to do things which mostly have no purpose whatsoever. Contact: kamal.durdana@gmail.com

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