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Sat, Jan. 18

Big kids, little kids will enjoy 'Shrek'

"Shrek" is a little gem of a movie that's as funny as its trailer.

A magnificently computer-generated animation, Shrek, brings a new look to cartoons, along with the old-fashioned fun we all loved as kids and still enjoy as adults.

Be ready to be wowed by the new "softer" animation with grass blades that wave in the wind and fur on Donkey that looks quite believable.

PDI Animation produced "Shrek." Their previous credits include "Toy Story" and "Antz." These new characters are equally as convincing.

Shrek himself is a big lovable buffoon of an ogre. Mike Myers lends a wonderful Scottish accent to the "mean, green, fighting machine." (Donkey's description of Shrek).

Chris Farley was to have voiced Shrek initially, but when Farley unexpectedly died, his friend, Mike Myers, stepped in.

Donkey is more fun to watch than a barrel of monkeys. The cocky, over-verbose critter is very much like his real-life voice person, Eddie Murphy.

When Disney's fairytale creatures are rounded up by the evil Lord Farquaad and exiled to Shrek's swamp, the ogre has no choice but to bargain for the return of his territory.

At the bidding of Lord Farquar, Shrek and Disney characters set off to save a fair princess from a fire-breathing dragon.

John Lithgow is tremendous as the diminutive FarQuaad, who suffers from a definite case of short man syndrome.

"I think he's hiding something…," remarks the smart-mouthed Donkey upon seeing Farquaad's gigantic and suggestively towered castle.

Cameron Diaz is the voice of the lovely Princess Fiona.

The foxy red-headed Fiona hides an ominous secret that becomes the pivotal point of the movie.

Not to be forgotten was Farquaad's magic mirror. (Why is it the bad hero/heroine is always the one with a magic mirror?)

This magic mirror is endowed with a male face and a very clever one at that.

Most entrancing was his presentation of Farquar's marriage options by acting as a talk show host who introduces four bachelorettes in hilarious Dating Game style.

As with most cartoons, the bulk of the jokes are aimed at adults. Children won't notice the gags and if they do, won't have a clue as to their meaning.

The movie is also gently obscene in places. It seems animation fairytales are not as tasteful as when I was young – no one would have burped or expressed flatulence in "Sleeping Beauty" or "Snow White."

But regardless, "Shrek" is truly a fairytale cartoon for adults that children will enjoy, too.

It is a directorial debut by both Andrew Adamson and Victoria Jenson, released last week by Dreamworks Pictures.

"Shrek" is rated PG for mild language and some crude humor.

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