‘Reboot’ has become such a divisive word in Hollywood, especially when it comes to classic franchises. Given this, it was probably of little surprise to anyone that when news broke about Shrek getting rebooted, many were quick to judge and may have “ogre”-reacted to the news. However, some may have missed the onion that this situation is, and when one pulls back the many layers that led to this decision, it becomes clear that this reboot is actually a good idea since it sounds like it wouldn’t fully wipe the slate clean.
It’s important to note that the current plan for Shrek doesn’t seem to be a full-scale reboot. Chris Meledandri has stated he’d like to keep Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and other members of the original cast all on board. That’s a big plus for those unwilling to accept another Shrek than Myers, even though he wasn’t the first option for the role to begin with.
The overall goal of this reboot, according to Meledandri, is to find a way to introduce this franchise to a new audience. That audience, of course, is not the folks who saw the first film in theaters back in 2001, but a new generation of children. To do this effectively, Chris Meledandri believes he needs to find a meaningful story to bring these characters into children’s lives and not just something that feels like, as he put it, “another sequel.”
Of course, some may think another sequel would be fine, especially considering Meledandri appears to want to retain the movies’s original cast. That makes sense until one takes into account 2010’s Shrek Forever After, and it’s possible the children of today (and even some Shrek fans) may not have seen the team go toe to toe with Rumpelstiltskin. It would probably even confuse adults who have seen it, as it’s not like it was the crown jewel of the franchise.
While this certainly isn’t the case for everybody, Rotten Tomatoes approval rating shows audiences, by and large, enjoy the Shrek franchise less and less as the franchise went on. Shrek and even Shrek 2 received solid praise from critics, but things took a sharp turn downward with Shrek The Third. Reception for Shrek Forever After was slightly better, but still nowhere close to the acclaim the first two films received.
Dreamworks seemed to know the franchise was done and promoted Shrek Forever After as“The Final Chapter.” Given that tagline, it doesn’t seem like the best decision to try and build off of a film series that was meant to end. Are audiences really that invested in what comes next in Shrek’s time as a father? Universal doesn’t seem to think so, which is probably why we heard last year Shrek 5 was going to be “way different.”
It may sound crazy, but Shrek could probably get its groove back using the same method Danny McBride and David Gordon Green used for Halloween. Start things back up after Shrek or Shrek 2, and pretend the rest didn’t happen. It would allow for a story that’s more an introduction to the main cast, without having to service the wilder characters the franchise brought in down the stretch.
Hell, even a straight-up retelling of the original story wouldn’t be so bad, and might even look better with modern CGI. Imagine the castle sequence with the dragon using today’s technology, or even that wrestling scene. Shrek still looks great for the time it was created, but with it having been so long since a new movie was made, it would be neat to see how the character could change with new tech.
Of course, none of these arguments do much of anything for those who don’t think Shrek should be rebooted, period. Some on Twitter have feared Chris Meledandri’s revision will turn the franchise into a twisted version similar to Despicable Me, or even Minions. Both of those films have their fans of course, but there’s a community who would rather not see a classic film from their childhood redone by the same people who created the irritating Minions.
It’s understandable, although on the same token, it’s possibly these internet fans and their bizarre love that may be what convinced Hollywood rebooting the character was the best option. Shrek has transformed into this weird thing on the internet over the years, with fans making memes with the character that have spread like wildfire. Those unaware of this trend may want to read up on “Shrek is love, Shrek is life”… or not if they don’t want to be scarred.
Beyond possibly erasing erotic fan-fiction, a Shrek reboot could finally give the band Smash Mouth peace. The rock group has also fallen victim to the Shrek fandom, and have been taunted on social media by those who believe their only fame came from their songs contributed to the film. Of course, the evidence against that is pretty easy to disprove, but that hasn’t stopped folks from hounding the group with jeers about how they peaked with Shrek.
Put simply, there’s a lot about the current state of Shrek that the internet may move on from once a reboot gets rolling. It could also have the reverse effect and create memes that are weirder than ever, which would be a win for those who enjoy internet drama. We’re hoping not, and that as plans continue to move forward, folks may see the light and realize that reboots, especially in this case, may not always be a bad thing.
Really, the most logical thing to do in this situation, as with most situations, is to wait and see what happens. The Shrek reboot may end up better than some may expect, or just as bad or worse than anyone could’ve imagined. We’re, of course, choosing to remain optimistic, and think there’s a lot of potential in a fresh set of eyes taking on the character, but we can only wait to see if that will be the case.
The Shrek reboot is currently in the works, and Puss In Boots is looking to get a reboot as well. Those bummed out about the news can, of course, still find physical copies of the film wherever they may be sold.