Writing as Inquiry 10803
29 October 2016
Children movies are meant to present a moral message for children in a fun and easy way to understand. In some cases, a negative message can unintentionally be discovered throughout the movies as well. Specifically, the movie Shrek explores the importance how things are more than they appear on the surface. This message is conveyed throughout Shrek’s quest to rescue the princess Fiona from a castle. Lord Farquaad believes that he cannot be king without a princess, which leads him to demand for her rescue. In exchange for Shrek’s swamp Lord Farquaad requests that Shrek is the one who will rescue Fiona from the dragon-infested castle. Shrek is portrayed as an ugly, violent, grumpy and aggressive Oger who refuses to let anyone in his life. He prefers to be alone because he is use to scaring everyone in his path away. When Shrek meets donkey, a funny, caring and loving friend, he starts to allow his true colors to be shown. He cannot fathom the fact that someone would actually chose to be his friend. No matter how much Shrek pushes donkey away, donkey never leaves Shrek’s side and stands by him through every obstacle. Although the positive message is portrayed throughout the movie there is also a negative message that judging people by their appearance is acceptable. There are multiple jokes toward the characters regarding their appearance that might convince the younger crowd that they can judge people by their looks.
The positive message being conveyed in Shrek is that sometimes things do not always appear they way they are. Shrek is convinced that he is too ugly for anyone to want to be his friend. He lives alone on his swamp and wishes no one bother him. In multiple scenes, Shrek uses his intimidating demeanor to scare off people when in reality he knows he is a friendly Oger. In one scene, Shrek even admits to donkey, “Sometimes things are more than they appear.” This is the moment that the positive message is truly shown. Shrek is beginning to realize that he deserves to be treated for his personality rather than his appearance. Another example includes the dragon that is holding Fiona hostage in the castle. At first the dragon is portrayed to be violent, aggressive and even out to kill Shrek and donkey. Once donkey treats the dragon with respect it was obvious that the dragon would never hurt them and even helped Shrek reach Fiona in time. Lastly, Fiona is first shown as a beautiful princess but throughout their journey her true self comes out. For example when they come across a man in the woods and Fiona is the one to fight them and Shrek and donkey stand there in awe. Eventually at the end of the movie Fiona is expressed as her real self, an Oger. Fiona was frightened to show her real side because she thought she would not find love. When Shrek ignores how Fiona looks like she realizes that choosing her real side is more important and will not hold her back. This is a good message for young children because they might believe that putting out this fake persona is better because it can make them more friends but Shrek shows them that being themselves is always a better idea.
Although the positive message in Shrek is very distinct the negative message is still present. The negative message that children can receive from watching Shrek includes that judging people by their appearance is an acceptable thing to do. Throughout the whole movie there were unlimited inappropriate jokes about the character’s appearance. The most obvious one were the comments toward Shrek about his unfortunate appearance as an Oger. Lord Farquaad, Fiona and even donkey all refer to Shrek as hideous, ugly, and even violent. Even when Shrek rescues Fiona from the castle she is disappointed to see who her prince charming is. Several inappropriate jokes were made about Lord Farquaad size. The most noticeable joke includes the time that Shrek and donkey reach Lord Farquaad castle and see how big it is, wondering if he is compensating for something. There are multiple referrals Shrek would be poking fun to that children would notice. In the wedding scene, Lord Farquaad is about to marry Fiona when it become dark outside and she transforms to an oger. He immediately refuses to marry her and even threatens to put her back into the castle. This tells young children especially young girls that appearance is everything when trying to find love.
In conclusion, the negative message is more powerful because the judgment of characters started from the beginning of the movie all the way to the wedding at the end. Even in the last scenes, rude jokes were being made about Shrek and even Fiona’s appearance. The positive message is still distinct but young children would have to put the pieces together regarding the message. It might be difficult for them to realize how the characters change throughout the movie. The children might not catch the positive message because the inappropriate jokes were still being made to the very end. Young kids would have to make the conclusion that Shrek, the dragon and Fiona all appeared different from who they really are. The negative message of judging people is easier for children to see because it is present throughout the whole movie and is easy to catch on to.