When I created a poll on Instagram last night asking my friends “Which Shrek is the best Shrek?” I had never expected to start a war. What soon followed was me being awoken in the early hours of the morning to cries of “How could you think Shrek one is the best one?!?!?!” and “Shrek Two is obviously superior!” Needless to say, this has now been a debate lasting all day and ruining more friendships than a game of monopoly. So, I am here to settle the argument once and for all and justify why Shrek one is the best film in the Shrek franchise.
1. It is original and fresh
Shrek was released during a time where Disney completely ruled the animated fairy-tale genre. For years, children’s film had followed the same boring tropes and conventions. The damsel in distress… The handsome prince that comes to save her… boring. Shrek put a complete twist on the genre by giving us an original hero who didn’t even want to be a hero. It completely rebels against tradition and started a whole new post-modern genre. All the Shrek films to follow were just copying the ideas started by the first film.
2. It is THE most quotable film
Take a breath. Close your eyes. Think of all the best quotes from Shrek. What comes to mind? “I like that boulder, that is a nice boulder!”? “You think he’s compensating for something?”? “In the morning I’m making waffles!”? Okay… now try to think of as many iconic quotes from any of the other Shrek films… Oh, you can’t? Well, isn’t that funny?
3. Lord Farquaad was based on the former CEO of Disney
It’s widely speculated that Lord Farquaad was based on Michael Eisner, the former CEO of Disney. One of Shrek’s producers, Jeffrey Katzenberg, has made it well known how much he hated his former boss and the resemblance between Eisner and Lord Farquaad is truly uncanny. Not to mention that Lord Farquaad’s name, when said out loud, sounds like something very rude and insulting…
4. The first Shrek gave us some of the best memes
I dare you to hear someone sing “some” and not want to break out in to “BODY once told me-“! Shrek also brought us the more controversial ‘Shrek is love, Shrek is life.’ Absurd as it is, it’s still near impossible to watch that video without bursting into hysterics. Because of the memes created in Shrek, we can bask in the beauty that is Neil Cicierega’s album “Mouth Sounds”, where every song is a remix of ‘All Star’. Check out one of his songs, you won’t regret it!
5. The film has a much better story
Shrek told the classic tale of beauty and the beast but with a gigantic twist. The other movies just didn’t bring the same kind of shock value in plot, I mean, the most shocking thing in Shrek 2 was that Prince Charming was the Fairy Godmother’s son and that didn’t really change much. The songs in Shrek are so fitting and perfect in moving the narrative along and the inner turmoils and insecurities of Shrek are so vital to the film. The other Shreks just didn’t share the same level of introspection.
With all this being said, I want to make it clear that I like all of the films in the Shrek franchise (Except the fourth one because I prefer to pretend that never existed) but to me it is clear, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the first Shrek is just so superior to its sequels.