Every week the local elementary school sends a bag of ten books home with the kids, to borrow for that week. Imagine my surprise when last week we found, among those books, a short story about an ogre, named Shrek!
Shrek, of Shrek!, is green, and has weird suction-cup ears. He meets a donkey on his travels and marries an ugly princess.
I haven’t actually seen the movies of that name, but one can’t help knowing all about something that Disney (or Dreamworks or whatever) want you to know all about. They beam it into your brain at night using cosmic rays, or something.
Anyway, I haven’t actually seen the movie of that name, but I’m pretty sure (thanks to the cosmic rays) that the resemblance ends there. And that’s too bad, because Shrek! is an awesome book about a perfectly horrible monster. So horrible that snakes which bite him go into convulsions and die, and he can handily dispatch a dragon with a puff of “putrid blue flame.” Mike Meyers would be an utterly unsuitable casting choice for this Shrek. I’d cast an angry five year old and pitch-bend his voice down three octaves.
But I’m not sure a five year old could deliver the poetry. Shrek! is full of interesting language and clever verse. Writer William Steig is very good.
The thing is, Shrek! would actually make a great animation. Not a blockbuster CGI animation, or even a deluxe Disneylike animation — an old fashioned, low budget animation where the character of the drawings in the original was preserved.
I don’t imagine that can happen now. Steig has passed away; I hope he died very rich and comfortable on the proceeds of selling out his awful ogre. No biggie for him. His imagination was full of more, I’m sure.
Anyway, now that I’ve read the real Shrek!, I’m pretty sure the animated one would just make me sad.