Saturday, May 22, 2010

Jim Hill’s Young Age Shrek

Jim Hill’s back with even more answers to your Disney related questions. This time around, he talks about all the struggles that the “Shrek Forever After,” “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and “Pinocchio” story teams went through.

The idea of giving moviegoers a taste of teen-aged Shrek’s life in the fourth film of this series was to reveal how closely the ogre & Princess Fiona’s lives were intertwined. That long before the storyline of the first “Shrek” had officially gotten underway these two characters had actually crossed paths.

Shrek has reached the age when ogre parents traditionally kick their children out of the house. And almost immediately after he’s left home, this teenage ogre finds himself being pursued by an angry mob. And as Shrek racing down the street, trying to evade capture, he’s almost run down by a royal procession.

The idea that Mike was trying to get across here was that if it hadn’t been for that royal procession coming along the mob would probably have caught this teenaged ogre and killed him. So in a way Fiona rescued Shrek long before Donkey & this ogre came along and rescued the princess from the Dragon’s Keep.

But in the end, Mitchell and the “Shrek Forever After” story team dropped this particular flashback. Well, as fun as it may have been to stage a sequence in this film where young Princess Fiona and teenage Shrek almost meet. In the end, this interesting tangent didn’t really service the movie’s story. If anything, this flashback and along with another one that was supposed to have touched on Puss in Boot’s origins. Which occurring to Mike was at least a half hour long and had too many dark touches. “This would have been the ‘Schindler's List’ of animation,”. “There’s a reason that we didn’t put that version of Puss in Boots’ back-story into production. It was way too depressing” slowed down the story that DreamWorks Animation wanted to tell with the fourth installment of this popular film franchise, which is sort of a Shrek-ish version of that holiday perennial, “It's a Wonderful Life.”

Now where this gets interesting is the very idea that Mike Mitchell described to me (i.e. Shrek being forced to leave home at a young age by his parents. He and Fiona then meeting on the road as she’s taken to the Dragon’s Keep) wound up being the opening number of “Shrek the Musical,” which FYI begins its National Tour at Chicago’s Cadillac Palace Theater on July 13th.


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