Contest: DreamWorks Holiday Collection With Shrek, Po, Madagascar, and Dragons!

Posted on November 23, 2013 at 3:59 pm

dreamworks holiday collectionAll your favorite DreamWorks animation characters are included in the fabulous Dreamworks Holiday Collection, and I have two to give away!

* Shrek the Halls (2007) – Shrek promises Fiona a special Christmas surprise, but as usual, Donkey gets involved, and things get hilariously out of control.

* Merry Madagascar (2009) – Alex, Marty, Melman, and Gloria try to escape from Africa and return to the zoo in New York in a hot air balloon. In an unlikely turn of events, Alex unintentionally shoots down Santa Claus while he’s delivering Christmas gifts. The would-be escapees come up with a plan to deliver Santa’s gifts and get themselves back to New York.

* Gift of the Night Fury (2011) – In the middle of preparing for the Viking winter holiday. Hiccup and the other Vikings of Berk from “How to Train Your Dragon” make a remarkable discovery about their dragons.

* Kung Fu Panda Holiday (2010) – Master Shifu assigns Po to host the annual Winter Feast at the Jade Palace, a very formal occasion where all the Kung Fu masters of China attend. Will Po’s father be able to help with the cooking?

To win the box set, send me an email with “DreamWorks” in the subject line and tell me which of these characters you’d like to have come to your family’s holiday celebration. Don’t forget your address! (US addresses only) I’ll pick a winner at random on December 1. Good luck!

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Giveaway: Shrek the Musical on Blu-Ray/DVD!

Posted on October 16, 2013 at 11:46 am

shrekbluShrek the Musical, the live Broadway show, is now available on a gorgeous Blu-Ray/DVD with all kinds of great behind-the-scenes extras, and I have copies to give away!  The cast features Broadway superstars Brian d’Arcy James as the title ogre, two-time Tony winner Sutton Foster as Fiona, Daniel Breaker as Donkey, and Christopher Sieber as the silly villain Lord Farquaad.  This is a perfect family delight, sure to be watched over and over.  And I have copies to give away!  Send me an email at moviemom@moviemom.com with Shrek! in the subject line and tell me your favorite fairy tale character.  Don’t forget your address!!!  (US addresses only)  I’ll pick the winners at random on October 26.  Good luck!

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Puss In Boots

Posted on October 27, 2011 at 6:00 pm

The popular feline bandit of the “Shrek” series gets his own feature film, one that is less of a fractured fairy tale and more of a swashbuckler.  Antonio Banderas returns as the voice of Puss in Boots, the cat with the heart of a lion — and the eyes of a cute little kitty.

This is a prequel, set in a fanciful Spanish countryside, showing us Puss’ life as an orphan, his early friendship with Humpty Dumpty, the betrayal that led him to become an outlaw, and his efforts to find redemption.

“What can I say?  I was a bad kitty,” he tells us as he bids farewell to a pretty feline whose name he can’t quite remember.  He is “a fugitive from the law, searching for a way to clear my name.”  He walks into a bar and silences the snickering caballeros, telling them, “You don’t want to make the cat angry.”  He is looking for a way to score but he has his own set of values: no stealing from churches or orphans.

Magic beans, on the other hand, are another story, especially if they have already been stolen.  And it turns out that the magic beans have special significance to Puss and to his old friend.

Puss makes a new friend, too, a hooded fellow thief who wants the same beans.  At first, in a charmingly designed cat hide-out, they compete against each other with an hilarious dance-off.  But then the thief removes the hood and is revealed to be the notorious Softpaw, a brilliant and beautiful female thief (voice of Banderas’ “Desperado” co-star Salma Heyek).  And they are joined by Humpty, though their history makes it difficult for Puss to trust him.

The beans are magic, and the beanstalk takes them to a cloud-land where they find the goose that lays golden eggs.  Or, as Softpaw puts it, “It’s a gold pooper; we’re taking it.”  Will this be a chance for Puss to right past wrongs?  Or will it just make him an even badder kitty?

Less visually striking, less funny, and less heart-warming than the Shrek movies and with completely unnecessary 3D, it is a step down for the series.  The kitty hide-out and dance-off are well handled and there are some funny moments, but the death of a major character is too jarring for younger children.  Puss is a better supporting player than a star.

(more…)

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Shrek the Third

Posted on November 15, 2007 at 10:48 am

Did you ever wonder what happens to the villains while the hero and heroine are living happily ever after? We get to find out in this third chapter in the saga of Shrek. In the previous episode, Prince Charming failed in his attempt to marry Princess Fiona (voice of Cameron Diaz) and take over the Kingdom of Far Far Away. Now he has been consigned to the vile dust from whence he sprung, unwept, unhonor’d, and unsung. In other words, he’s doing dinner theater.


Meanwhile, over in Far Far Away, Shrek (voice of Michael Meyers) and Fiona are a few happilys short of an ever after themselves. Fiona’s father, the king (voice of John Cleese), transformed back into a frog at the end of the second film, is very ill. And after he, uh, croaks, Shrek and Fiona will have to take over, unless they can find the next in line for the throne, cousin Arthur (voice of Justin Timberlake). And just as the journey to find Arthur begins, Shrek is presented with an even more terrifying new responsibility. He’s going to be a father.


Shrek, Donkey (voice of Eddie Murphy), and Puss in Boots (voice of Antonio Banderas) find Arthur in a terrifying environment filled with pain beyond measure — high school. Meanwhile, Prince Charming and all the other villains decide that they are entitled to some happily ever after, too. Captain Hook, the Wicked Witch, the Cyclops, some enchanted trees, and the rest of the baddies take over Far Far Away capture Fiona and the Queen (voice of Julie Andrews) along with the princesses who are visiting for a baby shower, Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Rapunzel (voices of Amy Poehler, Amy Sedaris, Maya Rudolph, and Cheri Oteri). And Prince Charming gets ready to settle things with Shrek once and for all — in front of an audience.


It’s still funny and even a little heartwarming, but it isn’t fresh anymore and — it has to be said — the character of Arthur isn’t very interesting. Because he is at the center of much of the story, for the first time the Shrek saga drags. The new voices and characters add very little. When Regis Philbin joins Larry King as the voice of the ugly step-sisters, there’s a joke about Merlin’s robe not quite covering all it is supposed to, and Donkey and Puss switch bodies, it feels like they’re running out of ideas.


The animation continues to get better and better and the faces are marvelously expressive, especially Arthur’s dimple and the frog king’s…croaking. The fairy-tale high school is a hoot, it is fun to see the princesses learn to rescue themselves, and it is a treat to see how cleverly the film avoids much of the predictable violence. The po-mo humor sensibility continues to stay on the safe side of snarky, though one has to wonder in the midst of all this grrrl power why it is that no one ever thinks of making Fiona the ruler after her father’s death. But by the time Shrek and Arthur are learning that it is okay for them to be themselves, it is starting have that “very special episode” feeling that even a kickin’ rendition of “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” can’t make work and we’re wondering if Shrek wasn’t a little more fun when he was a little more ogre-ish.

Parents should know that, like the earlier films, this one has some mildly mature material, including some schoolyard crude humor (the gingerbread man poops a gumdrop), some potty humor, and a mild drug joke (reference to puffing on “frankincense and myrrh”). There is some cartoon violence and some drinking (scenes in a bar, references to alcoholic drinks). Parents should also know that while the Shrek character is being used by the Department of Health and Human Services to promote healthy eating and exercise, he has also been licensed to promote more than seventy different products, including many different kinds of candy and junk food.

Families who see this movie should talk about why some people might think it is scary to be a parent. Why did Arthur change his mind about Shrek? Do you ever feel that people want you to be something different from what you are?

Families who enjoy this film will also enjoy Shrek and Shrek 2, as well as Ella Enchanted, Hoodwinked, and The Best of Fractured Fairy Tales, Vol. 1 (1961). They will also enjoy books like Outspoken Princess and the Gentle Knight, Tatterhood and Other Tales: Stories of Magic and Adventure, and the original book by William Steig that inspired the series, though its Shrek is not as cuddly.

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