“Oh man… I can’t feel my toes! I don’t have any toes! I think I need a hug.”Donkey
After talking about it for years, the Munch crew finally sat down and watched the BAFTA-nominated, Oscar-winning, “greatest fairy tale never told”: Shrek. Why now? We’ve already waited 19 years since it came out (can you believe how time continues on spiting our mortal husks?), why not just wait until Shrek 5 comes out? We don’t have a good reason. We just wanted to watch it to see if it held up all these years later…and we wanted to make a layered menu.
If you happen to be in demographic known as Gen Z and somehow found our blog and have read this far but you don’t have any clue who Shrek is (bless you) or why anyone cares about it, I’ll let these plot keywords from IMDB speak for themselves:
We didn’t even bother to click on the link to see what the other 173 keywords are, so don’t ask.
Let’s start with why we wanted to watch it. This was a movie we had all seen before, and we all remembered liking it too. Shrek felt novel and new when it came out. Despite being unorthodox in many ways, it was predictable and familiar in others. For parents, it was something entertaining and tolerable to take their kids to, and for kids, it was hilarious and quotable.
And the comedy really held up! There is something particularly charming about Shrek because the voice actors and animators really perfected their timing. The delivery of each aside, zinger, or witty remark is impeccable and made all three of us laugh 19 years later. Ben could barely (read: did not) stop himself from quoting every line in the movie which just goes to show how memorable and effective the writing was.
But let’s talk about what did not hold up: the animation. My friends, 2019 may have given us original Sonic and also Cats, but have you ever looked into the depths of Shrek’s mouth? Don’t do it! It is a nightmare of edges and forms that should not be seen by humans let alone exist. Don’t look into Shrek’s eyes either – that place is also cursed. And just try to ignore the hair altogether? We’re fully convinced that the reason they picked Fiona’s signature ponytail + braid hairstyle was that it was easier to animate. And the movement was all so mechanical! It’s almost like you could see the skeletal points beneath each form lurching along on a predefined path.
Fortunately, the voice acting in this movie could really transport you past the animation. John Lithgow as Lord Farquaad is perfect. As the annoying and pompous antagonist, they could have easily gone with a more nasally, goofy approach to this voice. John Lithgow adds just the right amount of notoriety and prestige to fit the wannabe king, and he still nails all the lines that make Farquaad so loathsome and irredeemable. Cameron Diaz does not have the sweet, sing-song voice of your typical princess, but then again Fiona isn’t exactly your typical princess anyway. And even though he wasn’t the original choice for Shrek, Mike Meyers really made the character his own.
But then there is Eddie Murphy. And let us tell you, Eddie Murphy is a gift. It should come as no surprise to you that many of the most iconic jokes in the movie are the result of Murphy’s improvisations… which we all suspected as we were watching but also Googled just to be sure, and unexpectedly the first result we found confirming our suspicion was from Modern Farmer of all places… I guess because he’s a donkey?
Which finally brings us to our food. We knew we wanted to pay homage to one of the most quoted exchanged between Shrek and Donkey, and we accidentally ended up cooking up their entire conversation (full disclosure: a few of us forgot about the cake, so we got lucky there).
We started with an onion blossom, which was dangerously easy to make and even easier to accidentally eat the whole thing in just a few minutes.
Shrek: For your information, there’s a lot more to ogres than people think.
Shrek: Example… Uh… Ogres are like onions!
Donkey: They stink?
Shrek: Yes… No!
Donkey: Oh, they make you cry?
Donkey: Oh, you leave ’em out in the sun, they get all brown, start sproutin’ little white hairs…
Shrek: NO! Layers. Onions have layers. Ogres have layers… You get it? We both have layers.
Speaking of things we’ve been talking about doing for a long time, we decided Shrek was the right movie for our first attempt at a crepe cake. We made matcha crepes for obvious reasons, and after a few failed crepes, we hit our stride. Delightful to look at and to eat, the matcha crepes balanced nicely with the sweetened whipped cream between each layer.
Donkey: Oh, you both have LAYERS. Oh. You know, not everybody like onions. CAKE! Everybody loves cake! Cakes have layers!
Shrek: I don’t care what everyone likes! Ogres are not like cakes.
And you know we had to make a parfait. Because we already ate dessert, we decided to make a savory parfait with beets, garlic yogurt, and spiced quinoa. The warm veggies and quinoa gave the parfait an overall swampy look which was surprisingly appropriate.
Donkey: You know what ELSE everybody likes? Parfaits! Have you ever met a person, you say, “Let’s get some parfait,” they say, “Hell no, I don’t like no parfait.” Parfaits are delicious!
Shrek: NO! You dense, irritating, miniature beast of burden! Ogres are like onions! End of story! Bye-bye! Seeyalater.
Donkey: Parfait’s may be the most delicious thing on the whole damn planet!
Our drink didn’t have anything to do with the quotes above. We just made a green drink for Shrek that he might like to enjoy while he eats something he suffocated with self-made poisonous gas. Shrek is nothing if not resourceful – just look where he gets his candles (But how did he get a wick in there? HOW DID HE GET A WICK?).
Do we close this out and dare say it was the most influential movie of our collective youths? No, we can’t, that would be an admission too raw and truth-filled and not everyone is ready for that kind of damaging information. But Shrek is perhaps the most influential movie for Millennials. Just look at the popularity of Smash Mouth’s “All Star.” Whether enjoyed ironically or not, it resonates. And that is Shrek‘s impact.