DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

Shrek – The Musical, Blu-ray (2012/2013)

Not as hilarious as the animated feature, but lots of family fun nevertheless.

Published on November 22, 2013

Shrek – The Musical, Blu-ray (2012/2013)

Shrek – The Musical, Blu-ray (2012/2013)

Performers: Original Cast – Brian d’Arcy James, Sutton Foster, Daniel Breaker, others
Music: David Lindsay-Abaire, Jeanine Tesori
Studio: DreamWorks 2-disc set [10/15/13]
Video: 1.78:1 for 16:9 1080i HD (Blu-ray)
Audio: English DTS-HD MA
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Extras: “Shrek The Musical,” “Shrek The Musical Song Book,” “From Swamp to Stage” (Making of…), Digital copy
Length: 130 minutes
Rating: ****½ 

Broadway musical versions of hit animated feature films aren’t always a success, but this one is a kick, though not in my estimation as much fun as the original film. The satirization of things Disney is continued here, plus humorous references to lots of other Broadway musicals and fairy tales. The music is nothing special; about the only tune you might be humming after seeing the musical is the closing number where the entire cast swings into action on The Monkees’ “I’m a Believer.”

This was the original Broadway cast, which is unusual for a DVD of this sort, and actually filmed onstage with ten cameras during a production last year. The musical got nine Tony nominations (no wins, though), and has 17 songs in it, all delivered with a lot a enthusiasm. The dance numbers are not bad either. While there’s still plenty of references that the adults will enjoy immensely, the general approach of the musical will captivate the youngsters too with its frenzy. There is one song and some references to flatulence, but it seems to fit in with the portrayal of Shrek and Fiona and is not so bad. While Daniel Breaker went all out with his role as the Donkey sidekick of Shrek, nobody could equal the hilarious Eddie Murphy’s voice in the original animated feature. The plot line is different from the animated film, with the lovable ogre and his Donkey pal going on a quest to rescue a maiden to supposedly become the bride of the king. Sutton Foster as the maiden is a whiz at everything she does, which is a lot, and Christopher Sieber as the very short Lord Farquaad is not only funny, but to be commended for spending the whole musical performing on his knees with stuffed short legs in front. He does come back to his normal height during the Monkees’ tune at the end, which is quite a surprise.

In general, the silliness and mostly enjoyableness of this musical reminded me of the Monty Python musical Spamalot. The extras are of some interest too. The making-of featurette is about what you’d expect, and the Sing-Along displays seven songs from the musical along with the lyrics at the bottom of the screen. By the way, I had to turn on the English SDH subtitles in a few places in order to understand what they were singing in some of the massed-group numbers, with all the different Disney characters.

—John Sunier




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