Who would have thought the world would fall in love with a grumpy green ogre? That’s exactly what happened when Shrek was released in 2001, launching three sequels, a spin-off film and TV series about Puss in Boots, and several shorts.
2010’s Shrek Forever After seemed to mark the end of the saga, but now DreamWorks Animation has confirmed that Shrek 5 is in the works.
The uncanny success of Shrek
In 1990, Shrek was merely a crudely drawn children’s story in William Steig’s picture book Shrek! It wasn’t until a decade later that Shrek got a computer-animated facelift and a Scottish accent courtesy of Mike Myers. The ogre who never wanted to leave his swamp quickly became a mass media phenomenon.
Shrek was a hit. It grossed £484 million worldwide and won the first ever Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. He can be rude and crude at times, but Shrek says all the right things to children.
The heart of Shrek lies in his own grotesqueness. He shows that it’s OK to be different, that you don’t have to be the stereotypical Prince Charming, that Princess Fiona can kick butt and that donkeys and dragons can fall in love and have little mutant babies. Shrek broke the fairytale mould.
“Shrek is not handsome but he isn’t as ugly as he thinks,” critic Roger Ebert wrote in his 2001 review. “He’s a guy we want as our friend, and he doesn’t frighten us but stir our sympathy.”
The details of Shrek’s fifth instalment are scarce – the film doesn’t yet have a title and won’t be released until 2019. We can only speculate what’s in store for our favourite band of misfit heroes, but we’re definitely waiting with bated ogre breath.