Celebrating its 20th Anniversary, Shrek remains just as funny as ever with hilarious allusions to various fairy tales and charmingly witty characters. The animated comedy classic finds true love's kiss on Ultra HD with a great-looking 4K presentation, an enchantingly amusing DTS:X track and a wealth of bonuses, making the three-disc package Recommended for the family.
Setting aside its box-office success and the three sequels that followed, the last couple of decades have clearly cemented Shrek's cultural impact. In that time, and soon pretty after its theatrical release, the animated comedy classic from DreamWorks has amassed such a phenomenal cult following that we instantly imagine the voice of Mike Myers as the lovable, swamp-dwelling, anti-social Ogre and Eddie Murphy as his equally lovable, wisecracking, always-chipper sidekick.
We can also immediately quote various lines with the most minimal effort: "Ogres are like onions," "I'm making waffles," "You're going the right way for a smack bottom," "It’s getting him to shut up that’s the trick" and "I'm a donkey on the edge!" And we all have our personal favorite moments from the movie, like Princess Fiona's (Cameron Diaz) Matrix-like martial arts skills against Robin Hood's merry men, Donkey's romance with the Dragon or the Magic Mirror's parody of The Dating Game. No matter how many times I watch Shrek, I still laugh every time at Lord Farquaad (John Lithgow) torturing Gingerbread Man as he screams about his gumdrop buttons and the "Welcome to Duloc" song parodying Disneyland's It's a Small World attraction.
After two decades and numerous watches, Shrek continues to make us laugh!
Vital Disc Stats: The Ultra HD Blu-ray
Universal Studios Home Entertainment brings Shrek to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray as a three-disc package with a Digital Copy code. When redeeming said code via Universal's website or Movies Anywhere, users have access to the 4K HDR10 version with Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 audio. The triple-layered UHD100 disc sits comfortably opposite a Region Free, BD50 disc on a center spindle while a second BD50 disc with special features sits on the opposing panel. All three are housed inside a black, eco-elite case with a glossy, lightly-embossed slipcover. At startup, the disc goes straight to a static screen with the usual options along the left side and music.
A big lovable Ogre finds true love's kiss on Ultra HD with a great-looking and largely satisfying HEVC H.265 encode, celebrating twenty years of fairy-tale laughs with a welcomed upgrade. Coming from a lower-rez digital source, the upscaled transfer does not immediately manifest a night and day difference in terms of overall definition, but there is nonetheless a perceptible uptick in the hairs of various characters and the threading in the clothing while the pores and freckles of Shrek and Fiona are quite striking. Background details are a tad sharper, the architectural features of Farquar's castle are plainer to make out, and the surrounding foliage is a bit more distinct. Compared to other releases from that same era and earlier, several moments fall on the softer side of things, but for the most part, the video is decently sharper than its HD predecessors. Added to that, there are the tiniest little hints of banding that occasionally rear their ugly heads, and several instances of aliasing along the sharpest lines are also evident from time to time.
Nevertheless, the biggest and most substantial improvement is the overall contrast and brightness, displaying very dynamic, punchy whites and rich, midnight blacks throughout. While shadow delineation remains outstanding with excellent visibility in the darkest corners of the 1.85:1 frame, specular highlights are radiant and resplendent, providing a dazzling sparkle to a character's eyes, a glistening shine to the metal armor, a lustrous pop to the clouds in the sky and a tight crispness to the hottest spots of Dragon's fire breath. The HDR10 presentation also comes a fuller, more sumptuous array of colors, like the glossier green of Shrek, the more arctic shade of the blue sky and the animated crimson red of Farquar outfit. Likewise, secondary hues are livelier and more vivid, like the deep magenta of Dragon, the golden yellow glow of the sun, the cotton candy pink of the afternoon sky and fiery reddish flames of the fire. (HDR10 Video Rating: 78/100)
The animated fantasy comedy crashes the party with an excellent and enchantingly amusing DTS:X soundtrack that'll charm the heck out of home theaters with its bubbly selection of pop music. A superbly detailed mid-range complements the wild visuals with a great deal of warmth and clean distinction between each note while lightly bleeding into the sides and top heights to create a highly engaging sense of space. The design is also layered with plenty of background activity fluidly and convincingly bouncing between the channels and into the off-screen space, generating a broad and expansive soundstage. Dialogue reproduction is precise and very well-prioritized so that every joke and hilarious reference lands with clarity. The low-end could be a bit stronger and more aggressive to match the visuals, but overall, it's adequate with a sturdy enough punch to provide some weight and presence. The surrounds and heights are occasionally employed to enhance the soundfield with decently satisfying effectiveness, but sound effects are used somewhat sporadically and tend to be easily localized. Ultimately, the lossless track doesn't offer much of an immersive experience, but it's nonetheless rib-tickling fun and delightful. (DTS:X Audio Rating: 82/100)
For this UHD edition, Universal ports over several of the same supplements from previous releases and throws in a few new bonuses, all of which are spread across all three discs.
Ultra HD Disc 1
Blu-ray Disc 2
Blu-ray Disc 3
Twenty years later, Shrek remains just as funny as ever, thanks largely to the hilarious camaraderie and witty back-and-forth of Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy. Of course, the boundless allusions and parodies of various fairy tales adds to the non-stop humor, making the animated fantasy comedy a dearly beloved cult classic that younger generations continue to enjoy. Celebrating its 20th Anniversary, the movie finds true love's kiss on Ultra HD with a great-looking 4K HDR10 presentation and an enchantingly amusing DTS:X soundtrack, giving fans a worthy upgrade over previous Blu-ray releases. Mixing a few new bonuses with some familiar favorites, the three-disc package is recommended.