Friday, July 16, 2010

Shrek: Book to Film #1

Author: William Steig
Illustrator: William Steig
Year Published: 1990
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, Giroux
Awards: N/A

What did you like/dislike about the book?
William Steig's book, Shrek, is a tale of a disgusting ogre and his journey to a princess.  Shrek is happy to be foul.  His adventures take him to a witch, a peasant, a dragon, a donkey, a knight, and a castle.

The rhythmic tones each characters uses is delightful.  I did not expect Shrek to speak in poetic phrases.  Having seen the movies before reading this book, it was fun to note the similarities and differences.

While young readers will love Shrek's vile nature, the word "jackass" is used in relation to the donkey.  This is inappropriate for young readers.

Movie TitleShrek (series)
Director: Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson
Year Produced: 2001
Starring: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz
Awards: Academy Award for Best Animated Feature (2002)

What did you like/dislike about the movie?
Shrek, surprisingly, comes off as a likable character in the film version of this story.  Although he tries to be surly and standoffish, his endearing qualities make him relatable.  As he journeys to rescue Princess Fiona (for the sake of his swamp and nothing more), he is joined by the loquacious Donkey.  This movie has a high number of jokes that will likely go over the heads of children, but amuse adults.

This movie is rated PG and is appropriate for most viewers.  There are some instances of bathroom humor, but they are handled appropriately.  Other titles in the series are: Shrek 2, Shrek the Third, and Shrek Forever After.

How do the book and movie versions of this title compare?
The main character in both versions is an ugly ogre.  He sets out on an adventure to get to the princess.  In the book, readers are given more of Shrek's backstory, including his parents' role.  He talks in poetic verse and does not interact with other characters beyond intimidating them.  In the movie, Shrek has more of a relationship with Donkey and has a different motive for saving the princess.

In both versions, Shrek is on an adventure across the countryside.  However, the book does not give much motivation behind Shrek finding the princess.  He seems so angry and off-putting, yet wants to find his love.  This was a disconnect to me.  In the movie, he wants his swamp to be free of annoying creatures, which was quite the motivation for an introverted ogre.

Overall, the book was a noble precursor to the movie version.  While the movie took many original creative licenses, the stories line up enough to be comparable.  I would recommend both versions to readers and viewers.


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