Shrek – 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

Shrek

It might be easy to dismiss Shrek as just another animated family film that features non-stop pop culture references, but this film is much more than that. Shrek is a satirical fairy tale where a lot of the humor pokes fun at fairy tale tropes of Disney princess films. The film never forgets what it is, and as a result, the laughs are constant and consistent throughout. Yet Shrek isn’t just a laugh-a-minute animated film. There is a natural heart and a feel-good message about acceptance that makes the film truly special. 

Unfortunately, many modern-day animated features rely a bit too much on juvenile gags and pop-culture references that were relevant at the time. Shrek follows that same formula, and 20-years later, much of it feels dated. Yes, this includes the animation too. Although it looked great at the time, the CG animation looks prehistoric to the work DreamWorks Animation creates nowadays. 

Yet there’s still a lot to enjoy. For one thing, the performances from the cast are great all-around. Featuring the talents of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, and John Lithgow, their performances are a perfect storm of talent. Each actor is distinctive and provides a sentimentally charming, good-natured performance. Even characters you’d expect to be a weak link turn out to be hilarious. 

Though imperfect, Shrek offers enough memorable and nostalgic moments to overcome these dated elements. The humor appeals to all ages, and the characters are well-developed, which is why Shrek captivates both children and adults. It’s just unfortunate to see it turn into a cash-grabbing franchise with the lackluster third and fourth installments. Despite that, Shrek still stands as one of the best-animated films of the ’00s. After all, there’s a reason why the film became the first recipient of the Academy’s Best Animated Feature award.

Movie Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

Shrek - Mike Myers

Video

Shrek hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with an HDR transfer and a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. One of the most important to note here is that Shrek dates back two decades. So by today’s standards, the animation looks very dated. As a result, the video presentation is full of aliasing. It’s consistent throughout, but it is the only issue in this new 4K presentation. The white levels are fantastic, and the highlights shine through. For example, it adds a lot of gloss to Shrek and Dragon’s shiny skin. The shadows are a deep dark black that, at times, can lead to several crushed areas. It’s especially true for scenes set in Farquaad’s dungeon and the dragon’s castle. When it comes to the HDR, it gives colors a slight uptick of saturation to the color palette. Overall, this is still a good presentation despite the aged look of the animation.

Video Rating: 4/5 atoms

Shrek - Eddie Murphy and Mike Myers

Audio

Shrek hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with a DTS:X and a core 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. This review will reflect Shrek‘s DTS:X track. The DTS:X mix of Shrek is fantastic. Sound effects move across the soundstage like a smooth ocean wave. You can hear it at the 21:00 mark when Farquaad’s mascot runs away from Shrek in the velvet rope line. At the same time, the sounds effects, Harry Gregson-Williams and John Powell’s score, and the film’s soundtrack are loud and can shake the room as it envelops you like a dragon’s fire engulfing you in flames. Not to mention, the atmospheric effects are distinct and livens up a scene. The dialogue is clear and well-prioritized. 

Audio Rating: 5/5 atoms

Shrek - Cameron Diaz

Special Features

Shrek has the following special features on the Ultra HD Blu-ray disc:

  • Shrek’s Interactive Journey
  • Spotlight on Donkey
  • Secrets of Shrek
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Shrek in the Swamp Karaoke Dance Party
  • Baha Men “Best Years of Our Lives”
  • Smash Mouth “I’m a Believer”
  • Shrek the Musical “What’s Up Duloc?”
  • Feature Commentary with Directors Andrew Adamson & Vicky Jenson and Producer Aron Warner

Unfortunately, there aren’t any new features to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the film. Most of the features in this release come from the 2010’s Shrek: The Whole Story collection. “Interactive Journey” is a legacy feature from the olden days when interactive experiences were a big thing in home releases. This slow and clunky feature is simply a fancy way of showing the film’s concept art. “Spotlight on Donkey” takes a deep dive look at Donkey throughout the years from the people who helped bring him to life. “Secrets” is a feature that highlights all of the Easter eggs and secrets in the film.

The deleted scenes aren’t like your conventional bonus feature. Instead, producer Aron Warner explains why these scenes weren’t in the film. Afterward, various artists go through the storyboard presentation of the scenes. In other words, the deleted scenes are also a behind-the-scenes look into the film’s production.

The rest of the special features (apart from the feature commentary) are skippable musical features from the film. “Karaoke Dance Party” is a cute piece where various characters from Shrek sing random pop songs, karaoke-style. As you can imagine, “Best Years of Our Lives” and “I’m a Believer” are the music videos created for the film. If you couldn’t tell from the title, “What’s Up Duloc” is a clip from the musical stage play of Shrek. The feature commentary is pretty drab, but the technical aspect of their annotation makes up for the monotone and reserved tone of it. 

Special Features Rating: 3/5 atoms


Overall, Shrek is an animated classic that features sharp humor and a really big heart. The video presentation suffers from its dated animation, but fortunately, the audio mix is stellar. It’s unfortunate that this 20th anniversary release of Shrek doesn’t come with a retrospective for such a momentous anniversary.

Overall Rating: 4/5 atoms

Shrek hits stores on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray on May 11th.

This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1639 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.

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