The Shrek movies are an example of a very successful franchise that pulls you back in over and over and keeps you interested through all four films, and a fifth movie is set to release in 2022.
In the past, most princess movies revolved around the idea that the beautiful princess ends up with the gorgeous prince and lives happily ever after, but the Shrek franchise breaks these preconceived notions.
The original Shrek tells the story of a seemingly tough and unlovable ogre who encounters numerous fairytale characters who are banished to his swamp. In order to get his land back, Shrek makes a deal with the prince stating he will rescue the princess from the tower if it means he can get his old life back. However, against typical fairytale fashion, the gorgeous princess– who turns into an ogre from dusk to dawn– falls for the ogre and they change each other for the better. By choosing Shrek, the princess permanently turns into an ogre, showing that true love matters more than appearances.
Even Beauty and the Beast, the story of a beautiful princess falling for a beast, follows a predictable trope: once the princess falls in love with the beast, the curse that turned him into a monster breaks and he becomes a handsome prince once again.
Shrek, on the other hand, falls for Fiona regardless of the fact that she is an ogre, and Fiona falls for Shrek over the handsome prince. When she is given the option to be with Shrek or become typically beautiful, she chooses love and happiness over exterior beauty.
Another way Shrek differs from conventional norms is in the way that princess Fiona is written. Unlike many earlier iterations of princesses, Fiona is strong and outspoken, and she stands her ground and does not back down from a fight. Although she had been taught that she needed a prince to fight for her, she wants to be the hero of her own story and does not need a prince to protect her.
Shrek teaches people to value true love over outer appearances and not be afraid to show the world who you really are.
Copyright Ava Leonardo 2020