"The greatest fairy tale never told."
A CGI-animated tetralogy by Dreamworks Animation loosely based on a 1990 book about an ogre in a fairy tale land, who just wants to live in his swamp undisturbed, but is dragged against his will into fighting for the fate of entire kingdoms.
In the first movie (2001), Shrek is driven into conflict with Lord Farquaad, who banishes all magical creatures from his kingdom, forcing them to seek refuge in Shrek's swamp. He teams up with an annoying talking donkey named Donkey, and is forced to rescue Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) for him so Farquaad would give him the swamp back. However, Fiona's previously-unknown curse, and Shrek falling in love with her, disrupt Farquaad's plans to become a king by marrying a princess.
In Shrek 2 (2004), Fiona, now an ogress and Shrek's wife, travels with him to the kingdom of Far Far Away, ruled by her parents. Meanwhile, Prince Charming, who was supposed to rescue Fiona instead of Shrek, desires the kingdom for himself, helped by his mother, the Fairy Godmother. He first tries to dispose of Shrek by deploying Puss-in-Boots, a famous ogre hunter, but the cat ends up becoming friends with Shrek and Donkey. After Shrek drinks a potion that temporarily makes him and Fiona human, the Fairy Godmother makes Charming pose as the human Shrek.
In Shrek the Third (2007), King Harold dies, leaving the ogre couple as his successors, and Shrek, unable to accept this fate, leaves Far Far Away to search for another heir to the throne, a teenage loser named Arthur Pendragon. Meanwhile, Prince Charming rallies various fairy tale villains and organizes a coup, taking over Far Far Away, and Fiona (pregnant with Shrek's kids) assembles her own team of fairy tale princesses to confront him.
In Shrek Forever After (2010), Shrek, now a domesticated family man, longs for the days when he felt like a "real ogre" and is duped into signing a pact with the smooth-talking dealmaker Rumpelstiltskin. Shrek suddenly finds himself in a twisted, alternate version of Far Far Away, where ogres are hunted, Rumpelstiltskin is king and Shrek and Fiona have never met. Now, it's up to Shrek to undo all he's done in the hopes of saving his friends, restoring his world and reclaiming his one True Love.
Notorious for its humor, both witty and slapstick, for turning everything we knew from fairy tales upside-down, and for a ridiculously modern feel of its medieval fantasy setting. The first film's huge success (combined with it easily outdrawing the Disney Animated Canon entry Atlantis the Lost Empire, which opened a month later) convinced Dreamworks that 2D is dead, and scrapped their 2D films all together, "apologized" for them, and even convinced other executives in the same idea, paving the way for all films thereafter—it is unclear if 2D films will regain top priority again. It was the first film to win the Academy Award's Best Animated Feature category. Shrek and its sequels are Dreamworks' defining hits, "Fiona's Theme" plays during the studio's Vanity Plate in all their animated films now, and the character of Shrek is now their unofficial mascot.
Adapted into The Musical, which opened on Broadway in 2008 and has since closed and launched a United States tour. There is also a Christmas Special, Shrek the Halls, and a Halloween Special, Scared Shrekless. Another film, entitled Puss in Boots was released in 2011. It is set before the events of Shrek 2, and chronicles the backstory of Puss in Boots. It's worth to note that the film is "ogre-less". Guillermo del Toro is the executive producer. Universal Studios features Shrek 4D, which is set immediately after Shrek and Fiona's wedding and details a ghostly Lord Farquaad's attempt to get Fiona back.
Now has a fledgling character sheet.
Shrek was named to the National Film Registry in 2020.
For tropes specific to individual installments, visit their respective work pages.
- Accent Adaptation: The Mexican dub rendered Puss's Gratuitous Spanish as Castillian, and Donkey's Ebonics as a Mexico City accent.
- The Spanish dub substitutes Puss' generic Spanish accent for a thick Malaga accent (Banderas is from Malaga). Keep in mind Banderas voices Puss in the English, Spanish, and Mexican versions.
- Acrofatic: Shrek—and all ogres—are exceptionally nimble and agile for their size.
- Action Girl: Princess Fiona.
- She gets it from her mother, who is now a Retired Badass (she can smash through a wall with her head with no problem even in her old age).
- Adaptational Villainy: Played straight and inverted for different characters. The Big Bad Wolf is one of the heroes (and, in the third film, so is one of the Ugly Stepsisters) while some traditionally malevolent fairytale creatures like Dragon and the ogres are for the most part sympathetic. On the other hand, Red Riding Hood is a thief while Lancelot and Guenevere are both Jerkasses who mistreat a young King Arthur, and Geppetto, far from the benevolent father figure he is usually depicted as, is seen turning in Pinocchio.
- Adapted Out: The Musical version had two practical examples:
- The UK version omitted the Magic Mirror, Lord Faraquaad gets all his much needed information from the Gingerbread Man. Plus, some of the fair tale characters were also removed and replaced with ones that are more recognizable to the Uk audiences.
- Community theaters had the Magic Mirror cut, mainly because they cannot afford special effects, like motion capture.
- Ambiguously Gay: Prince Charming.
- Anachronism Stew: Pretty much the defining trait of Shrek's world, ranging from most characters speaking with American accents in medieval Europe, to featuring characters from stories set in different eras, to restaurants and retail outlets suspiciously similar to those in modern times. The list goes on and on.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: Several instances. For example, In Scared Shrekless, Donkey refuses to believe that Farquaad's ghost haunts Duloc castle. Even though he has in fact seen and interacted with Farquaad's ghost.
- Ascended Extra: Many of the fairy tale characters from the first film get gradually more important as the films go on. They are specifically the Gingerbread Man, Big Bad Wolf, the Three Little Pigs, and Pinocchio. Dragon also becomes more important, and Mavis the Ugly Sister in the second film becomes quite important in the third.
- This even occurs for the villains. Captain Hook makes an appearance playing piano in the Villain Bar in the second film, before making a more prominent appearance in the third. And Rumpelstiltskin briefly featured in the third (albeit with a completely difference appearance), before going on to be the Big Bad of the fourth.
- Babies Ever After: The ogrelings, whom the fourth film reveals to be named Fergus, Fearghal and Felicia.
- Badass: Most notably Fiona and Puss in Boots, and especially Shrek himself.
- Bad Guy Bar: The second and third movies have a straight example featuring fairy tale bad guys. "The Poison Apple Bar" features Captain Hook on piano.
- It also has signs saying "Unhappy Hour" and "We Reserve the Right to Behead Anyone".
- Beneath the Mask: Fiona at the beginning of the movie acts like a stereotypical Disney Princess with Shrek. However, she slowly reveals herself as an Action Girl who fights dirty, much like Shrek.
- Beta Couple: Donkey and Dragon.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Prince Charming.
- Big Damn Heroes
- Big Little Man: Our first glimpse of Lord Farquaad involves him striding dramatically along a corridor, camera focused on his face or body at a strange angle, then when the camera and scenery go still, he's revealed to be maybe half the height of the guards.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Fairy Godmother.
- Black Comedy: A few scenes, notably the king's death in Shrek the Third.
- Alternate-universe Puss eating alternate-universe Gingy.
- The exploding bird in the first movie... whose eggs are used for breakfast.
- Bland-Name Product: Aside from the mandatory WcDonald's, you also have "Farbucks Coffee".
- And "Burger Prince" and "Banana Kingdom". And much, much more.
- And Friar's Fat Boy, a play on the family restaurant chain Big Boy. (At the time, Big Boy restaurants were named after the franchisee, such as Bob's Big Boy or Frisch's Big Boy.)
- Bridge Logic
- Broken Ace: Prince Charming parodies this trope. Instead of Knight in Shining Armor on the outside, self-loathing mess on the inside, he's Failure Knight on the outside and pure juvenile mama's boy on the inside.
- You have to admit he's a pretty good stage director, considering he got that entire thing set up in like a day.
- Canon Discontinuity: Rumpelstiltskin in Shrek the Third and Rumpelstiltskin in Shrek Forever After.
- There's a similar case in the original Shrek. Who's that right at the end turning the onion and mice into a carriage?Hint: It's the Fairy Godmother.
- Maybe the fourth movie's Rumpelstiltskin was the actual trickster from the fairy tale and the third movie-version was simply some random guy who played on everyone's assumption of Rumpelstiltskin's appearance?
- One might guess that they just forgot what they did in the previous movie only 4 years ago, but comments in the DVD special features of Shrek Forever After indicate that it's more likely they hoped the audience did.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Any Big Bad in each movie, except Farquaad.
- Literally in the case of Shrek 2.
- Prince Charming does have some sympathetic moments in the third film though, as he is genuinely anguished as to how he doesn't have a Happily Ever After of his own.
- Literally in the case of Shrek 2.
- Cat Stereotype: Puss-in-Boots is a swashbuckling, wisecracking orange cat.
- Cheated Angle: When Puss in Boots is introduced in Shrek 2, his upper and lower halves are separated. The scene is dark enough that you can't see it, but they wanted the head and boots farther apart than they would actually be.
- Chekhov's Gunman: The Muffin Man. First mentioned briefly by Gingy in the first movie, then is enlisted in first sequel to help Shrek stop Fiona from kissing Prince Charming in time by baking a giant version of the Gingerbread Man. And shows up in the last sequel baking the birthday cake for the Shreklings.
- Cultural Translation: The Polish dub of the Shrek movies are full of Polish pop-culture references. For example Donkey sings the theme song of a Polish TV drama when Shrek decides to go to the Potion Factory in Shrek 2. Donkey also generates much Actor Allusion to the known actor voicing him.
- Cute Kitten: Repeatedly Invoked by Puss-In-Boots, using his cute kitten eyes.
- Cute Monster Girl: Fiona. Considering how much she resembles her mother, Felicia looks likely to grow up to be one of these too.
- Damsel in Distress: Subverted with Fiona, lampshaded with the other Fairytale Princesses.
- Dance Party Ending: All the Shrek films love this trope. Taken to even greater levels in the DVD releases, which include bonus 'dance party' epilogues such as the first film's 'Swamp Karaoke Party' and the second's parody of American Idol.
- Dark Reprise: The Duloc puppet song in Scared Shrekless, which manages to be less creepy than the original (though Gingy would say otherwise).
- Deadpan Snarker: Shrek, big time. Often lost on Donkey, much to his irritation.
- Rumpelstiltskin in the fourth movie, soooo much.
- Deconstruction: Of the entire Fairy Tale genre. The Ogre is the hero, the nobleman is a Prince Charmless, and the princess grows out of her dependence on stereotypes and settles happily into the life of an ogress. She also knows martial arts. And that's just from one movie.
- Disney Creatures of the Farce:
- Fiona looks like she'll have a typical 'Snow White' moment... but the bird explodes because she hit a high note (or rather, missed the high note). She then cooks its eggs for breakfast.
- Snow White herself starts to have a 'Snow White' moment in the third movie. She then sends the mob of animals she gathered charging after some guards.
- Dissimile: Shrek's attempted "Ogres are like onions" simile in the first film.
- Double Entendre:
- The running gag in the first movie -- "Do you think maybe he's compensating for something?" Kids think it refers to his height. Adults think it refers to his... length.
- Not to mention the constant use of the word "ass" to mean a literal donkey but in phrases where it usually means the human buttocks. "Nobody likes a kissass." "I have to save my ass." "You still look like an ass to me."
- Everything's Better with Sparkles: The crew called them Disney Sparkles.
- The Evil Prince: Prince Charming in Shrek the Third.
- Face Heel Turn: The whole series is about this - stereotypically bad characters turning into heroes and secondary heroes, dropping their facades of jerkishness and so on.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Modern-day America.
- Fantasy Kitchen Sink
- Flippant Forgiveness: "All right, Donkey. I forgive you...for stabbing me in the back!"
- Fractured Fairy Tale
- Friend to All Living Things: Two of them, both parodied.
- Gasshole: Shrek, Fiona, and to all appearances, all ogres.
- The Genie Knows Jack Nicholson: Explains why Hooters can exist in a pseudo-fairy tale environment, as well as a vast majority of the Schizo-Tech.
- Genre Savvy: "This is the part where you run away."
- Gentle Giant: Shrek.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: All Dreamworks films are fond of this.
- Gratuitous Spanish: Puss in Boots.
- The Grinch: Shrek in Shrek the Halls.
- Groin Attack: Happens to Shrek once a movie.
- Hair Flip: Prince Charming does this on multiple occasions.
- Half-Empty Two-Shot: Used twice to show how alone Shrek and Fiona feel after their big fight. Fiona is shown sitting at an otherwise unoccupied table, with the table in the center of the shot. This is immediately followed by Shrek sitting at his table, on the opposite side (from the camera's perspective).
- Happily Married: It's not always smooth sailing, but Shrek and Fiona definitely love each other. The same goes for Donkey and Dragon.
- Headless Horseman: One of the patrons of the Poisoned Apple in the second film, and part of Charming's army of villains in the third.
- He also got a DUI during the second movie. Shrek and Co. plow into him while he's taking a field sobriety test. Touching the nose he doesn't have.
- Heroes Want Redheads: Fiona.
- High on Catnip: In Shrek 2, guards capture Shrek and friends and one finds a bag of catnip on Puss-In-Boots' person. Puss denies that it's his.
- Hollywood Kiss: Shrek and Fiona.
- Horseback Heroism: Spoofed with Prince Charming.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Shrek & human!Fiona in the first film and inverted with Dragon & Donkey, Fiona & Farquaad. The second has Charming and his mum, inverted with Harold and Lillian even BEFORE he's changed back...
- Improbable Species Compatibility: Donkey and Dragon, which leads to some of the most adorable mutant babies in film history.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: Frequent from Shrek, but Donkey never gets them. Also a lot of the names of shops.
- Informed Attractiveness: Shrek when he becomes a human in the second film. He's definitely handsome, but not quite at the level where every female characters start fawning over him.
- Ink Suit Actor: Although this has become attributed to Dreamworks Animation movies in general. See the picture on the trope page.
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons: Dragon likes to pull the Big Damn Heroics.
- Insult Friendly Fire
- I Taste Delicious: In a recent advertising campaign.
- Jerkass: Lord Farquaad in Shrek and Lancelot as well as his friends in Shrek the Third.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Shrek.
- Killed Off for Real: King Harold in the third film. Mama Bear in the first; note the rug in Farquaad's room (unless the dance along is canon), Lord Farquaad, Fairy Godmother.Prince Charming's fate at the end of the third film is rather unclear, but it's possible he's dead too.
- According to Shrek 3D, Farquaad is still alive in Dragon's belly.
- Knight in Shining Armor: Charming and Lancelot, both subverted.
- Knight in Sour Armor: Shrek is crude, hot-tempered and cynical, but nearly always manages to do the right thing, especially for people (and donkeys) that have proven they're able to see past the idea of "big, stupid, ugly ogres".
- Lady and Knight: Subverted all to hell.
- Large Ham:
- Arthur when he's "angsting". And Shrek lampshades it.
Shrek: Well, well. Would you like some eggs to go with that ham?
- Lord Farquaad and Prince Charming also have their moments (Charming especially during the climax of Shrek the Third: "With soft and bouncy haaaaaaaaiiiiiiir!").
- Puss in Boots has his moments. Witness this immortal line from the fourth movie: "Feed me...if you dare!"
- A non-talking example in Shrek 2: As a troupe of trumpeters from Far Far Away make their grand entrance into Shrek and Fiona's swamp, concluding their performance as they reach Shrek's hut, one of the trumpeters within the troupe decides to continue on, giving an over-the-top, show-stopping performance that leaves Shrek, Fiona and Donkey confused and the herald that has an invitation for the two quite clearly annoyed.
- Larynx Dissonance: Larry King and Regis Philbin as Evil Stepsisters. Yes, these two.
- Lost in Translation: In some versions, like the Norwegian one, Shrek is called a "troll". This is because of there not being an equivalent to the word "ogre" in their vocabularies.
- Magitek: Shrek's magical TV-mirror, among many other examples.
- Man Child: Prince Charming in Shrek 2.
- Massive Multiplayer Crossover
- Match Cut: A number of complex CGI-aided examples.
- Meaningful Name: "Shrek" is the Yiddish word for "monster", derived from the German word "shreck", meaning "terror" or "fright".
- Also, "Farquaad" is a slightly-slurred mispronunciation of an obscene term for an unpleasant person.
- This one gets a lampshade in a FoxTrot comic, where Paige tries to convince Peter (who works at the theater) to let her into the movie for free. She starts describing the cast ("Shrek and Fiona and the evil Prince..."); Peter interrupts, saying there's no way he'll let her do that, and in the last panel she finishes her sentence ("...Farquaad.") while shooting him a death glare.
- Farquaad was actually named after one of the quadrangles in Notre Dame University, where many of the filmmakers graduated - allusions to it can be found throughout the movies. The quadrangle was situated far away, i.e. a "far quad".
- Also, "Farquaad" is a slightly-slurred mispronunciation of an obscene term for an unpleasant person.
- Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold: Shrek both uses and subverts this trope. On the one hand, he turns out to have a heart of gold. On the other hand, he's still an ogre, and proud of it.
- The Mockbuster: Not one of the movies themselves (though it wouldn't be surprising if one was floating around), but the characters star in Gameloft's iOS game Shrek Kart.
- The Napoleon: Lord Farquaad in Shrek.
- Neutral Female: Subverted.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Farquaad inadvertently greatly upset the plans of all three villains who came after him by sending Shrek to rescue Fiona.
- Non-Human Sidekick: Technically, Shrek himself is non-human, but Donkey and Puss qualify nonetheless.
- Non Sequitur Thud: After the Queen headbutts her second wall.
- Numbered Sequels: Played with for the third and fourth ones.
- Odd Couple: Shrek and Donkey, later Shrek and Fiona, and later still Shrek and Arthur.
- Odd Name Out: According to Word of God, the dronkeys' names are Eclair, Bananas, Peanut, Parfait, Coco and... Debbie...
- Official Couple: Shrek and Fiona.
- Precision F-Strike: Notably for a kids' film - Donkey's "Chicks dig that romantic crap!" in the first movie.
- Prince Charmless: Prince Charming in Shrek 2.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Prince Charming in Shrek the Third.
- Puppy Dog Eyes: Puss-in-Boots. Spoofed in the third film when Puss tries this while in Donkey's body and fails to do anything.
- Redhead in Green: Fiona. The fact that at the end of the first movie she becomes an ogress permanently and gains green skin as well doesn't help matters.
- Sapient Steed: Donkey! Who only functions as a steed for half of the second movie and a part of the fourth, but still.
- Sequel Reset: The first movie literally ended with Happily Ever After, but the sequels have been putting that off ever since. The second film reveals there was in fact an actual Prince Charming that was supposed to break the curse on Fiona, and that her royal parents are still around; the action picks up after the lovers' honeymoon as they're forced to meet her parents, causing another go-round of problems regarding Shrek's self-esteem. The amusing new characters as well as ones who got expanded roles helped mitigate this for audiences, but reaction to the third film (where Shrek now has to get out of being king if he ever hopes to live out his life in the swamp, and the loose end of 2 involving Prince Charming's fate is brought up) suggests the formula is wearing thin. And the fourth movie does a total reset with Time Travel.
- Technically it was "And they lived Ugly Ever After".
- Serkis Folk: The entire cast.
- Shout-Out: Lots of them, mostly to Disney, though the giant gingerbread man is named "Mongo" as a tribute to Blazing Saddles and there's a lot to other fantasy stories and films.
- Shutting Up Now
- Sorry I Left the BGM On: This happens 3 times in Shrek the Third. The first is when the music during the king's funeral turns out to be singing frogs. The second is when Shrek and Artie are about to have a heart-to-heart talk, and Merlin turns on the music for mood. Finally, the dramatic music during a fight scene is actually Captain Hook playing on the piano.
- Inverted, kinda, in Shrek 2. The Fairy Godmother starts singing "Holding Out for a Hero", then the dramatic rescue begins, with the song as BGM. But she's still singing throughout as it switches between dance and rescue.
- The Christmas Special Shrek the Halls does with a sound effect: the "squealing kettle" noise that accompanies Shrek losing his temper is revealed to be an actual squealing kettle.
- Heck, it even shows up in the original film: When Shrek's rescued Fiona and the group is journeying back to Lord Farquaad's castle, they get waylaid by Robin Hood. Cue fight scene. A lively accordion piece quickly starts up, holds a note during a Matrix-style Orbital Shot (where (mostly) everything stops in place), and stops again as Fiona knocks out Friar Tuck, who was playing the instrument.
- The first film also has Fiona's Theme playing while Farquaad is admiring Fiona's image. It then turns out the music is coming from the Magic Mirror itself.
- Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: King Harold in Shrek 2 has a good example of a non-death Heroic Sacrifice, as he throws himself in the path of the Fairy Godmother's wand to save Shrek and Fiona, which reflects the spell and turns the Fairy Godmother into bubbles. The result is that his previous 'happy ending' is removed and he is turned back to the frog he was. But he's still alive at the end of the movie, and his wife doesn't mind his being a frog at all. Unfortunately, within the first act of Shrek the Third, King Harold, well, croaks.
- Summon Backup Dancers: The furniture song in Shrek 2.
- Take That: Some see the film as Jeffrey Katzenberg's Take That to Disney, after being fired.
- Torches and Pitchforks: In the opening scene of Shrek, the ogre is obviously used to angry mobs coming to drive him out of his hut, as he easily scares one of them off, even prompting them at one point, "This is the part where you run away." He later hangs a lampshade on it when speaking to Donkey.
Shrek: I'm an ogre! You know, 'Grab your torch and pitchfork!' Doesn't that bother you?
- Also lampshaded in the sequel, when Shrek and Fiona step out of their carriage in Far Far Away and are revealed to be ogres. Shrek sees some pitchforks in the crowd and gets nervous, commenting "Let's go before they light the torches."
- And in the fourth movie, Shrek and family are celebrities, so people mob now to ask him to sign their torches and pitchforks.
- True Beauty Is on the Inside
- True Love's Kiss: Subverted twice.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Famously averted with Shrek and Fiona; parodied with Donkey and Dragon. Cos she breathes fire, geddit?
- The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: A rare gender reversal with the stout, homely looking Fairy Godmother being mother to the handsome Prince Charming.
- Ugly Hero, Good-Looking Villain: This trope is used in the first two movies: While Lord Farquaad isn't exactly good looking, he does play upon Shrek's ugliness to try to incite villagers against him. The second provides a better example, with the Fairy Godmother and her son Charming as good-looking villains opposing Shrek.
- Villain Song: Of course Shrek subverts it every way it can. The main villain of Shrek 2 gets not one, but two songs: The first one is the self-titled "Fairy Godmother Song", a cheerful upbeat ditty about how she wants to help everyone; the second comes complete with an ominous orchestra and backing choir... except the song in question is "Holding Out for a Hero".
- Prince Charming also gets a song in Shrek the Third, set to a musical that was set up as an excuse to publicly execute Shrek. Lord Farquaad didn't have a bona fide villain "song" (except in The Musical, of course), but he has a menacing leitmotif in the first movie, played upon his first appearance.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: When locked up in her tower and guarded by a dragon, Princess Fiona believes that a handsome hero riding a noble steed will save her and slay the dragon. Though she's right about being rescued, her handsome hero turns out to be an ogre, his noble steed turns out to be a donkey instead of a horse, and instead of slaying the dragon, the dragon falls in love with his steed. This is a bit justified as fighting the dragon would result in the dragon killing them easily with her fire breath.
- Yandere: The Bride of Gingy in Scared Shrekless.
- You Didn't Ask
- Adaptation Expansion: Adapted from a children's book approximately 500 words long; almost nothing in the movie other than the characters of Shrek and Donkey -- who appeared for only one page as a random encounter—actually came from the book.
- As did Princess Fiona since at the end of the book Shrek meets a princess ogre (Fiona) who is even uglier than he is.
- Also, the dragon made a brief appearance under totally different circumstances, and the role of the Knight from the book and Lord Farquaad from the film are suspiciously similar—both are Jerkass versions of characters who would usually be the good guy in fairy tales, who end up acting as the primary villain.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Given the source, one of the lines from one of the Three Little Pigs.
Pig: He Huffed, and he Puffed, and he...signed an eviction notice.
- Ascetic Aesthetic: Duloc.
- Astonishingly Appropriate Interruption
- Beast and Beauty: Shrek and Fiona in the first movie, subverted.
- Berserk Button: Shrek whistles for Dragon to give Lord Farquaad his Just Desserts just one second after Fiona got threatened.
- Broken Aesop: The whole point of the first film is "It doesn't matter what you look like, it's what inside that counts"... which doesn't stop an army of "short" jokes at Farquaad's expense (not to mention suggestions that he may be Compensating for Something), or the fact that in the end Fiona ends up in the shape that will be the most appealing to Shrek.
- Fiona's transformation could be viewed as one more physically compatible with Shrek. Let's just keep in mind that Fiona's human head would fit in Shrek's mouth (which was pointed out in the DVD commentary during the Almost Kiss). Then again, we have the Donkey and Dragon pair-up... which is equally disturbing and might just qualify for the 'what's inside that counts' to an extreme.
- Whatever's inside Farquaad is persecuting all fairy tale creatures and uprooting them from their homes. He's earned the right to be made fun of.
- Comedic Sociopathy: Shrek and Fiona making nearby animals into balloons for each other and then letting them float away, and allowing a tree donkey is walking on to snap back and fling him away.
- Compensating for Something: The first movie includes this as a Parental Bonus joke with Shrek saying this to Donkey.
Shrek: (while looking at Lord Farquaad's huge castle) "Do you think he's maybe compensating for something?"
- Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: Fiona is this trope for a lot of the first movie. Shrek didn't slay the dragon first. Shrek can't recite a poem. Shrek needs to save his ass. Shrek won't take off his helmet. And the worst part, to Fiona: Shrek was sent to rescue her for someone else.
- Curse Cut Short/Last-Second Word Swap: From the Robin Hood song:
"I like an honest fight and a saucy little maid"
- Not to mention the Disney-esque "Welcome to Duloc" song.
"Please keep off of the grass"
- Curse Escape Clause: Fiona was cursed to be an ogre at night and a human during the day. The curse was broken by True Love's Kiss. The second film implies it was supposed to make her permanently human but then again, that was supposed to be the result if she kissed the Human Prince Charming.
- A Date with Rosie Palms: Lord Farquaad in bed ordering a disgusted magic mirror to show him the princess... again!
- Does That Sound Like Fun to You?:
Donkey: I don't get it, Shrek. Why didn't you just pull some of that ogre stuff on him? You know, throttle him, lay siege to his fortress, grind his bones to make your bread? You know, the whole ogre trip.
- Dragons Are Abhorrent: Subverted. The dragon seems evil and ferocious at first, but then she falls for Donkey and it's shown she has a softer side.
- Engagement Challenge: Shrek saved princess Fiona from a castle situated over a smoldering volcano in the first movie. She was O.K. with marrying him until finding out he was an Ogre, and he was just working as a champion for Lord Farquaad. In keeping with the whole theme of subverting fairy tales in the movies, she turns into an ogre as well and marries Shrek anyway. On top of that, the (female) dragon who was guarding the princess ends up with Shrek's sidekick Donkey.
- Fantastic Nature Reserve: Shrek's swamp, very much against his wishes.
- Fantastic Racism: Farquaad. The trope's name has never been so appropriate: Farquaad literally hates all "fairy tale creatures" and has them evicted and forced into Shrek's swamp. His "perfect kingdom" would have nobody but humans.
- Nobody but Muggles. Some pretty human-looking wizards and a witch are exiled to the swamp too.
- Female Monster Surprise
- Foe-Tossing Charge: Makes an appearance during the wedding scene. The eponymous ogre and Fiona find themselves beset by Mooks; Shrek starts 'wading' through them, throwing them off as necessary. They manage to slow him, but we never get to find out the ending thanks to a Gunship Rescue moment.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
- "Farquaad", natch.
- The aforementioned diminutive lord asking a disgusted magic mirror to show him Princess Fiona... again.
- Arguable example: When Dragon has Donkey wrapped in the coils of her tail and flirts with him, she at one point lowers her snout below the level of his waist. Donkey objects to her apparently petting his tail... but her head is placed in front of him, not behind...
- Girl in the Tower: Lampshaded.
- Go Look At the Distraction: Fiona sending Donkey to get a specific flower while she treats Shrek's arrow wound.
- Gunship Rescue: Dragon swoops in to take out Lord Farquaad just in time to rescue Fiona. See Berserk Button, above.
- Heroic Neutral: Shrek's motivation - he just wants his swamp back!
- Induced Hypochondria: Shrek and Fiona psych Donkey into feeling ill so they can spend one more day together.
- Insult Misfire: Upon seeing Shrek for the first time...
Farquaad: Ugh, it's hideous!
- It's All Upstairs From Here: Lampshaded, Shrek points out that Fiona will be at the top of the highest tower. Donkey asks how he knows and Shrek says he "read it in a book".
- It's Quiet... Too Quiet: Shrek says this when he and Donkey first enter Duloc.
- I've Got an X and I'm Not Afraid to Use It: "I'm a donkey on the edge!"
- Jerkass: Lord Farquaad.
- Just Desserts: Lord Farquaad's demise.
- Kill It with Fire: Played with at the beginning: One member of the angry mob waves a torch in Shrek's face, hoping to scare him. Shrek snuffs the flame out with his fingers.
- Kissing Discretion Shot: Done at the end of the movie, combined with Breaking the Fourth Wall. Also subverted, as Shrek covering up the camera leads to an Idiosyncratic Wipes to Shrek and Fiona kissing in their own wedding.
- Late Arrival Spoiler: Didn't know Fiona was turned into an ogress? Then don't look at the covers of any of the sequels.
- Loves Me Not: Fiona does this with a sunflower Shrek left at her doorstop, but to decide whether she should tell Shrek her deep, dark secret: "I tell him, I tell him not..." She plucks the last petal on a "I tell him!" but the sun rises just then and she returns to human form before she can find Shrek.
- Major Injury Underreaction:
Fiona: There's an arrow in your butt!
- Minsky Pickup: Robin Hood's song.
- Mirror-Cracking Ugly: Shrek's mirror can't withstand his smile.
- Moral Dissonance: see "Comedic Sociopathy" above.
- The Napoleon: Lord Farquaad.
- Offscreen Teleportation: Rather subtle because the distances involved were so small, but in the scene where Donkey and Shrek are arguing underneath the moon, Donkey demonstrates an unusual knack for getting in Shrek's face no matter which way the ogre turns.
- One Side of the Story: The movie pulled off a two-sided version of this. Shrek half-overhears a conversation between Fiona and Donkey, but misses the most significant part: that Fiona turns into an ogre at night. The next day Shrek and Fiona both assume that Shrek heard the whole conversation and each jump to a false conclusion.
- This conversation is skillfully crafted to become two separate scenes based on whether or not you know the piece of information; of course, the audience is aware of it at the time.
- Outrun the Fireball: In the first movie, Shrek, Donkey, and Fiona use this trope as they reach the bridge leading away from the dragon's castle, and the dragon takes one last shot at them with her fiery breath.
- Parental Bonus: Farquaad is a caricature of Disney CEO Michael Eisner; see also Meaningful Name and Double Entendre above.
- Apparently caricatures of Micheal Eisner look remarkably like John Lithgow.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "Ogres. Are not. Like cakes!"
- "I live alone! My swamp! Me! Nobody else, understand?! Nobody! Especially useless! Pathetic! Annoying! Talking DONKEYS!!!"
- Radial Ass-Kicking: Happens with Fiona and the Merry Men as well as the wrestling scene in the arena.
- Rage Against the Reflection: Fiona in the first film, upon seeing her ogre reflection in a bucket of water.
- Reason You Suck Speech:
Donkey: (to Shrek) You know, with you, it's always "Me, me, me!" Well, guess what?! Now it's my turn! So you just shut up and pay attention! You are mean to me, you insult me, you don't appreciate anything that I do! You're always pushing me around or pushing me away!
- Reference Overdosed
- Rescue Introduction: Shrek and Donkey meet Fiona when rescuing her from the tower.
- Rope Bridge
- Royal Decree: When Shrek first encounters the soldiers, they try to read him the prince's decree outlawing all fairy-tale creatures, but get intimidated by him looming over them.
- Shipper on Deck: Donkey to Shrek and Fiona.
- Snipe Hunt: Donkey is sent off to find a blue flower with red thorns to keep him from distracting Fiona and Shrek while they dealt with the arrow in Shrek's behind. Taken further as Donkey turns out to be colorblind. Donkey actually finds the flower, too, so it's uncertain Fiona was sending him to find something she expected he'd fail to find. She does say explicitly, though, that the flowers are "for getting rid of Donkey".
- Heck, he doesn't just find the flower, he wanders through a whole copse of them, complaining that his task would be infinitely easier if he could discern color, and he only brings back the right flower because he grabs one - any one - in a panic when he hears Shrek yell. The other characters don't even react weirdly, making it a relatively subtle sight gag.
- Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace: Spoofed in the first movie. Shrek goes to interrupt the wedding of Fiona and Farquaad, but Donkey tells him he has to wait until the priest does his "speak now or forever hold your piece" bit before barging in and shouting "I object!". On further investigation, they find they missed that part, so Shrek barges in anyway, just in time to create an Almost Kiss.
- Standard Female Grab Area: After showing impeccable fighting skills early in the movie, Fiona can only call helplessly for Shrek when grabbed this way at her wedding. Granted, Farquaad does eventually put a knife to her throat but only after 20 seconds or so of her doing nothing while Shrek, who is also grabbed, actually fights back.
- Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: "Please keep off of the grass, / shine your shoes, wipe your... / ...Face!"
- Which technically does rhyme with the line that follows: "Duloc is, Duloc is, Duloc is a perfect place!"
- Sudden Musical Ending
- Taking a Third Option: When Donkey is cut off on a small bridge segment by Dragon, he has two apparent options, neither of them good: He can jump (or fall) off into the lava, or be eaten. Instead, he seduces the dragon.
- Theme Music Power-Up: Halfway through the wrestling match in Duloc, Joan Jett's "Bad Reputation" kicks in, and both Shrek AND Donkey start to kick ass and take names.
- This Is My Side: Shrek and Donkey, at one point.
- Tree Buchet: Shrek does this to Donkey in the first movie.
- Turn Your Head and Cough: When Donkey learns that Shrek has been hit by an arrow, Donkey panics at the thought of Shrek dying from it and shouts irrelevant medical advice, including "keep your feet elevated", a plea for somebody to perform the Heimlich Maneuver, and (of course) "turn your head and cough."
- Unfortunate Implications: In-universe example: When rescuing Fiona, he briefly stops for a moment and leaves Fiona. When questioning Shrek where he's going, Shrek responds that he's "got to save his ass". He was actually referring to Donkey, whose species is also referred to as "ass", but Fiona thought he meant he was going to chicken out and leave her behind, causing her to protest what kind of knight is Shrek, before Shrek mentions that he's a unique knight.
- Wedding Deadline: Subverted.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: So, um, what happened to Farquaad's kingdom?
- And the refugees in the swamp?
- In the Halloween Episode, they go back to Farquaad's kingdom to find it's now a ghost town.
- Some of the refugees would reappear in later films (Pinocchio, the Three Little Pigs, Big Bad Wolf, Pied Piper).
- And the refugees in the swamp?
- You and What Army?: Inverted. Shrek says this to the leader of a group of soldiers, who turns around and sees that the rest of his troops had run away, leaving a lot of their weapons behind.
- You Monster!: Gingy to Farquaad: "You're a monster!"
- Affably Evil: The Fair Godmother, apart from being just as disliking of ogres as everybody else in the world, on the whole is pretty nice - but it seems that's just her public facade.
- Ambiguously Gay: Prince Charming. Being voiced by the openly gay Rupert Everett doesn't help. There is a huge Parental Bonus in the scene where he talks to his mother about his reluctance to marry Fiona. Apparently, he is not interested in women at all...
- Some of Puss' lines make the viewer wonder as well, though that's more like Ambiguously Bi, since unlike Charming he does show interest in women.
- Are We There Yet?: Donkey on the way to Far, Far Away at the beginning of the movie.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Mongo the Giant Gingerbread Man.
- Become a Real Boy: Parodied, with a Yank the Dog's Chain thrown in.
Pinocchio: I'm a real boy! ... [singing] I'm real, I'm real, I'm -
- Berserk Button: "Not the gumdrop button!"
- Big No: From Shrek and Gingy when Mongo falls into the moat. In slow motion, even.
- Comedic Sociopathy: The opening montage is quite sweet and funny. But during the parody of From Here to Eternity, Shrek unintentionally ends up frolicking with a lookalike of the Little Mermaid. Fiona's response? She throws Ariel back into the sea, where she gets eaten by sharks. Neither ogre shows much concern about this.
- A milder example: Immediately following that scene, the newlyweds enjoy a mud bath... lit up by the glow of several fairies trapped in jars. To add insult to injury, Shrek and Fiona playfully begin farting, much to the discomfort of the contained fairies.
- In all fairness, Shrek and Fiona never do worse than this, but it does display a certain disregard for other people.
- A milder example: Immediately following that scene, the newlyweds enjoy a mud bath... lit up by the glow of several fairies trapped in jars. To add insult to injury, Shrek and Fiona playfully begin farting, much to the discomfort of the contained fairies.
- Cuffs Off, Rub Wrists
- Cuteness Proximity: Invoked intentionally by Puss-in-Boots' as his ultimate weapon, used to devastating effect - see Puppy Dog Eyes.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Puss invokes this directly as a matter of honor.
- Diegetic Switch: The Fairy Godmother sings "Holding Out For A Hero" for Fiona and Charming ... which becomes the background music for Shrek, Donkey, and Puss Storming the Castle.
- Drag Queen: Kind of inverted - in the Poison Apple, the barwoman is an Ugly Sister and she really is technically a woman but her face is effectively a man's and she is even voiced by a man (Larry King in the USA, Johnathan Ross in the UK).
King: Excuse me, I'm looking for the ugly step-sister...?
- Especially ironic considering that in the pantomimes of Cinderella, the Ugly Sisters are traditionally played by men in drag.
- Dramatic Irony: Shrek wasn't the "hero" the Fairy Godmother's song was about. In fact, given her decidedly unheroic intentions, the choice of song itself can only be seen as deeply cynical.
- Easy Come, Easy Go: Pinocchio in Become a Real Boy shown above.
- Everything's Even Worse with Sharks: The fate of the Captain Ersatz Little Mermaid in the opening sequence...
- Fairy Godmother: Is actually the antagonist.
- Fantastic Racism: The Fairy Godmother comes across as one of these.
- Foreshadowing: The lady-frog in The Poison Apple asking the King of Far Far Away if she's seen him before.
- Funny Background Event: After The Fairy Godmother catches Shrek and co. spying on them, you can see some local Knights giving the Headless Horseman a sobriety test just before Shrek and his pals break past them. What's particularly amusing is that they appear to be giving him the "touch your nose" test. You know, to a man who has no head...
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Probably unintentional, but Far Far Away's postal service and police department being named F.F.A.P.S. and F.F.A.P.D. are hard to miss.
- Gilligan Cut: In Shrek 2, after Shrek, Fiona and Donkey are invited to Far Far Away:
Shrek: We're not going, and that's final!
- Good Is Not Nice: Again, Fairy Godmother.
- Good Times Montage: The opening sequence.
- Heroic Sacrifice: The gingerbread giant, and King Harold.
- Hoist By Her Own Petard: Fairy Godmother.
- I'm Melting: Giant Gingerbread Man's fatal weakness...he dissolves in milk.
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The Mooks in the potion factory start shooting at Shrek, who is barely moving due to running against a conveyor belt. None of them hit.
- Improvised Zipline: Prince Charming uses one during his opening montage
- Indy Hat Roll: Puss-in-Boots during the scene in the potion factory pulls this off, complete with requisite hat-grab.
- Kill It with Water: the Heroic Sacrifice of Gingy's giant.
- Light Is Not Good: The Fairy Godmother and Prince Charming
- Love Potion: Fiona's fairy godmother orders the king to pour it into Fiona's drink so that she will fall in love with Prince Charming instead of Shrek.
- Man Child: Prince Charming.
- Moral Dissonance: See Comedic Sociopathy above.
- My Card: The Fairy Godmother's card - also a means of communication.
- Parental Bonus: Many.
- "That bush that looks just like Shirley Bassey..."
- Perspective Magic + Eureka Moment: After breaking out of Far Far Away prison, Gingy's standing on a parapet (with the Far Far Away castle far off in the distance behind him) gives Shrek an idea how they will go about Storming the Castle.
- Precious Puppies: Fiona's Bichon.
- Prince Charmless: Prince Charming.
- Rocky Roll Call: During the dinner scene with Fiona's parents:
- Separated by a Common Language: The slightly, er- intellectually subnormal giant gingerbread man raises eyebrows in Scotland, where the word "mongo" is an extremely offensive pejorative term for someone who is mentally handicapped.
- Shout-Out: Probably too many to count, but once to Garfield when Puss mutters into his milk "I hate Mondays."
- During Shrek and Fiona's honeymoon, they receive a ring with text that glows when it is heated. Later during the same honeymoon, Fiona removing something covering lower part of her loved one's mouth to kiss him while he is hanging from a tree certainly bears a striking resemblance to a certain crawly character.
- Sitting Sexy on a Piano: The Fairy Godmother does this at one point.
- Sorry I Left the BGM On: It turns out that the voice over narration describing Charming's quest is done by Charming while on the quest.
- That Poor Cat: When the "Happily Ever After" potion takes effect on Shrek and he faints, we hear a cat howl... presumably because Shrek landed on Puss-In-Boots when he passed out.
- Third-Act Misunderstanding
- Took a Shortcut: In a non-video game example, Shrek, Donkey, and Fiona have to travel to the Kingdom of Far, FAR Away, which apparently takes an exceedingly long time. Yet when Shrek is arrested after drinking the Happily Ever After Potion, his whole gang back at The Swamp (where it's already getting dark) witness this on television and get to Far Far Away during the same evening, well before midnight.
- Perhaps they rode in on Dragon, which would explain how she managed to show up at the end. Or it's not that far, but it took so long for Shrek, Fiona, and Donkey to get there because the carriage was so slow.
- Victoria's Secret Compartment: From which the Fairy Godmother draws the Love Potion.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Everybody loves the Fairy Godmother - she seems quite nice and she's very famous for her potions and happy endings.
- White Stallion: Donkey, after drinking the Happily Ever After potion. It doesn't stick.
- You Shall Not Pass: Puss-in-Boots holds off a pack of guards as Shrek rushes to stop the Fairy Godmother's evil plot, in payment of his debt to Shrek. He's not honestly in much danger from them, but that makes him holding them all off no less impressive, especially for a normal-sized housecat.
Shrek the Third
- Adipose Rex: Shrek and Fiona during their brief stint as monarchs of Far Far Away.
- Alpha Bitch: Guinevere.
- Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The movie has a different theme song for the Japanese version, called "Love is the Greatest Thing" by winds.
- Ambiguously Gay: Prince Charming again. Arguably averted with his romance with Rapunzel.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Among the things the villains do on their rampage, they loot shops, terrorize citizens, cause general mayhem and destruction and... rip the stamps off of letters before mailing them.
- Bald of Evil: Rapunzel, much to her embarrassment. Let's just say that her "long hair" is in fact an elaborate wig.
- The Beast Master: Snow White. See Crowning Music of Awesome.
- Black Comedy: While rehearsing his lines for the scene in his play where he kills Shrek, Charming (who is going to use a real sword to kill Shrek for real) apparently kills the guy in the Shrek costume.
- By Wall That Is Holey: Happens to Prince Charming. Then almost happens in the ending.
- Call to Agriculture: Hook's plan with planting "beautiful daffodils".
- Confusing Multiple Negatives: Several elaborate examples.
- Cool Loser: Artie.
- Cool Old Lady: Queen Lillian. Bashing a solid brick wall with her head. Twice!
- Dead Baby Comedy: Despite the PG rating, Shrek the Third reaches this point early on with the infamous "knighting" scene.
- Drag Queen: Kind of inverted again. Ugly Sister 'Doris' from Shrek 2 is now one of Fiona's girlfriends is still voiced by a man, and her similarly ugly sister 'Mabel' is voiced by another man, Regis Philbin.
- Dramatic Curtain Toss
- Dream Within a Dream
- Ermine Cape Effect: Parodied in Shrek the Third. Shrek and Fiona are forced to wear ridiculously confining finery for a ceremonial dinner. Shrek has to get some poor servant to scratch his bum for him...and wouldn't you know it, that's when the curtain is raised. To top it off, the buckle on his belt pops, leading to Disaster Dominoes.
- Et Tu, Brute?: Rapunzel betrays the Princesses and Fiona due to her crush with Charming.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: The Cyclops has a daughter!
Cyclops: Who would have thought a monster like me deserved something as special as you?
- Everything's Better with Princesses: Lots of princesses.
- The Evil Prince: Prince Charming.
- Faux Action Girl: The Princess Rampage showcased in the trailer of Shrek the Third ends with meek surrender at the first sign of resistance.
- Freaky Friday Flip: Puss and Donkey.
- Heel Face Turn: At some point between films Doris the Ugly Sister from Shrek 2 actually turns from a barmaid in a villain's bar to one of Fiona's girlfriends. We don't know how, why or when this happened, just that it's funny because the man in drag is back.
- High School: In medieval times and within in a fairy tale world.
- Hippie Teacher: Merlin.
- His Name Is--: Subverted during the king's death.
- Humiliation Conga: What Shrek and Fiona have to endure while being acting rulers of Far Far Away.
- Inconvenient Itch: Shrek is trussed up in some Impossibly Tacky Clothes for a royal appearance, and suddenly develops a horrible itch on his rear. He's scratching that itch when the curtains open, giving the waiting crowd a view they really didn't want.
- It Makes Sense in Context:
Donkey: We went to high school, then the boat crashed, and then we got bippidy-boppity-booped by the magic man!
- Jerkass/Jerk Jock: Lancelot and his friends.
- Paper-Thin Disguise
- Poke the Poodle: When the villains attack Far Far Away, there's a montage of them "rearranging" the place. Cut to the cyclops ripping stamps off unsent letters and then cramming them back into the mailbox.
- Poor Predictable Rock: A sponsored commercial for Sierra Mist plays off this trope, having Shrek using paper since he claims Donkey's hoof represents rock.
- The Power of Rock: When Snow White unleashes the power of Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song", causing the forest animals to attack the Huorns guarding the city gates.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Prince Charming.
- Redemption Demotion: Dragon. While in the first film she is shown to have defeated many knights, and is barely defeated by Shrek, also eating Lord Farquaad at the end, she seems a lot weaker in Shrek the Third, only able to throw one of Prince Charming's mooks away before more of them capture her. They also subdue her easily with spears in the final confrontation.
- Still... Dragon does end up supplying the coup de grace against Prince Charming.
- Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony: Shrek, performing one of his duties as stand-in king, attempts to christen a newly made ship via the shattering of a wine bottle. Unfortunately, he accidentally pushes the ship off (by leaning on it awkwardly) before he can finish the ceremony. Desperate, Shrek hurls the champagne bottle at the newly-made ship, blowing a hole in it and causing it to catch fire somehow.
- Show Some Leg: ...by one of the Ugly Sisters. Still works, though.
- Sorry I Left the BGM On: two cases in succession. Merlin's porchlight apparently plays the classic "That's What Friends Are For"; and later on, Shrek and company are attacked by treants to background music by Captain Hook on the piano.
- Sound Effect Bleep: The third film, twice when Fiona is trying to say she's pregnant, when Shrek chucks the horn over the side. A different, much deeper horn is then used to cover up a vulgarity from Puss.
- Tempting Fate: "Someone better be dying!" Cut to King Harold on his deathbed.
- Too Many Babies: A nightmare of Shrek's.
- Totally Radical: "Help! I've been captured by an ogre who's trying to relate to me!!"
- Wave of Babies: The inevitable extension of the Too Many Babies example.
- The Worf Effect: Dragon. That weighted chain-net clearly had her name on it.
- Your Costume Needs Work: Shrek passing for a mascot at Arthur's high school gets spun into a Chekhov's Gun.
Shrek Forever After
- Action Girl: Fiona, and how!
- Actionized Sequel
- Alternate Universe: The fourth film's plot.
- Ambiguously Gay: Cookie.
- Axe Crazy: Rumpelstiltskin. Don't be fooled by the trickster shell. Deep down, he's really a homicidal sociopath.
- Badass Army: The ogres.
- Bad Boss: Rumpelstiltskin. He seems like a good one at first, letting his witches having a rave in his castle and all that. After Shrek escapes however, he drops all the niceness and starts threatening their lives, never mind that he was the one that pushed Shrek too far.
- Bad Future: The premise.
- Berserk Button: When Rumpelstiltskin explains to a chained-up Shrek exactly what the deal entails, Shrek goes NUTS, breaks through his chains, and tears up half the palace while escaping with AU!Donkey.
- Bounty Hunter: The Pied Piper.
- Bride and Switch: Played for Laughs during a montage in which Shrek dresses as a veiled bride at a man's wedding.
- Bunny Ears Lawyer: An evil variant in Rumpelstiltskin and his obsession with wigs.
- Chekhov's Skill: How to tie knots. ("The dragon goes under the bridge...")
- Continuity Nod
- Crazy Cat Lady: One of the witches at the beginning.
- Creative Closing Credits / Credits Montage: Characters and clips from the previous three films are put together in a sequence.
- Darker and Edgier: Somewhat, though to be fair the last two films had gotten progressively Lighter and Fluffier.
- Double Entendre: At the beginning of the movie, Rumpelstiltskin tears out pages from a fairytale book in Pinocchio's bookstore. How will he pay? "Maybe we can make a deal for it, little boy." "Oh, I'm not a REAL boy!" Wait for it...wait for it..."...do you WANNA be?"
- "My donkey fell in your waffle hole."
- Empathy Doll Shot: A variant occurs, where Shrek finds his daughter's favorite doll apparently having fallen from one of his pockets. It has the same "Isolated doll" factor if the circumstances aren't identical to the norm.
- Everyone Hates Mimes: "Oh great, after mimes magicians are my favorite people".
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The subtitle ("The Final Chapter"). It is indeed "the final chapter" involving the titular ogre...which didn't stop Dreamworks from making a movie about Puss.
- Fisher King: Rumpelstiltskin's luxurious palace surrounded by the barren fields and run-down city. This is likely due to simple greed as opposed to a magical connection between the king and the land though.
- Good Costume Switch: The Pied Piper wears white in the Dance Party Ending. Maybe he was only evil in Rumple's world.
- Hot Amazon: AU!Fiona. Definitely hot by ogre standards, and possibly hot from certain human viewpoints.
- It's a Wonderful Plot
- Kryptonite Factor: The exit clause is hidden inside the contract, revealed not in the small print—which at least some people would be smart enough to read, but by refolding the paper to reveal the hidden words (knowing Rumpelstiltskin's name as per the legend isn't enough, as everyone knows Rumpelstiltskin now he's king, so he had to get clever).
- Lantern Jaw of Justice: Brogan.
- La Résistance
- Magically-Binding Contract: Written by a malicious Literal Genie. Don't sign them.
- Magic Countdown: Rumpelstiltskin's sand timer, that measures the 'day' Shrek has before he'll vanish away forever if he doesn't get love's true kiss. When it first appears, only a tiny bit of sand has fallen, even though Shrek must have spent a good part of the day scaring villagers, getting captured, and being carried to Far Far Away.
- Manipulative Bastard: Rumpelstiltskin. And how!!!!
- Manly Tears: Shrek sheds a manly tear when he saw one of his triplets doll when he was in the alternate reality and he knew they're not there at all. That is the first time we ever see Shrek cry.
- Metaphorgotten: Rumpelstiltskin makes a remark about how it's "time to pay the piper". Nothing happens. He then explains to one of the witches that he means literally pay, as he's a bounty hunter.
- The Music Meister: The Pied Piper is a bounty hunter who uses his flute to capture his quarry by forcing them to dance.
- Never Trust a Trailer: A commercial on TV (TV spot) makes it look like Donkey tries showing a trick where he shuts his eyes tight and they POP OUT THROUGH HIS NOSTRILS! He is actually at an ogre dinner, where they eat plates of eyeballs like fruit, and the trick he does actually doesn't involve his own eyes!
- Additionally, the song featured in the trailers (Right Back Where We Started From) doesn't actually appear in the movie (though a version does play over the credits), and what is suggested to be a Disney Acid Sequence actually has an explanation.
- The first TV spots that showed in the UK almost made it seem that the fat kid at the party (named Butterpants) was a sort of main character, and also had the roar scene from the party shortened down to:
Butterpants: Do the roar!
- There was a hint somewhere (the art book, maybe?) that Brogan (voiced by "Don Draper") would be Shrek's rival for AU!Fiona's love, but that never happens.
- Nothing Is Scarier: When Shrek bursts through the trunk of the tree that used to contain his home, only to find... nothing but a few scurrying rats. That's when you really get the feeling of "Oh, my God, what has happened to the world?"
- One-Scene Wonder: The little fat kid from the party. "Do the roar!"
- Technically, he's in two scenes; when Rumpelstiltskin puts a bounty on Shrek's head, he and his father can be seen in the crowd of people with faux-Shreks.
- Orphaned Punchline: Shrek when riding in Rumpelstiltskin's carriage.
Shrek: And the centaur said, 'That's not the half I'm talking about!'
- Rant-Inducing Slight: Shrek goes crazy from all the events going on at the triplets' birthday party.
- Reset Button: When Shrek and AU!Fiona share True Love's Kiss just as Shrek is fading from existence, the alternate-universe literally shatters around Rumpelstiltskin as all of the people within it disappear. When Shrek returns to the prime-universe, he was seen mid-roaring at the birthday party.
- Running Gag: Perhaps it's a coincidence, but Rumpelstiltskin marks the third Shrek villain who is vertically challenged. This carries into Puss in Boots with Humpty Dumpty.
- Scenery Gorn: The first view of the alternate-universe land of Far, Far Away—which has been transformed from a Hollywood-like, beautiful (if commercialized) oasis into a desert wasteland with Rumpelstiltskin's palace at the center. The "Far Far Away" Hollywood sign is mostly destroyed, too.
- Schmuck Bait: Donkey just after visiting the dragon's keep.
Shrek: There's a stack of freshly made waffles in the middle of the forest! Don't you find that a wee bit suspicious?
- Series Continuity Error: The Rumpelstiltskins in Third and Forever After are nothing alike. It's certainly not a Species Surname either because (thanks to a huge Art Shift) they don't even look like the same species.
- The Pied Piper appears but for a second in a throwaway gag in the first film. Again... he looks nothing like how he does in the fourth film.
- He probably Took a Level in Badass since Farquaad was still hunting fairy tale creatures. Then Rumpelstiltskin takes over...
- In Shrek 2, we can see it takes days to go from Duloc to Far Far Away. However in Forever After, he travels the same distance three times within less than a day.
- The Pied Piper appears but for a second in a throwaway gag in the first film. Again... he looks nothing like how he does in the fourth film.
- The witches are a cross between Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch of the West visually and the Green Goblin in terms of fighting techniques.
- And Fiona for Red Sonja and Xena: Warrior Princess.
- The "Deliverance" banjo theme is heard while in the trailer- er, carriage park.
- That nicely plated roast rat.
- A giant ball of shields from which all the warriors jump out and attack? Ending of 300, anyone?
- A list of the books seen on the bookshelf where Shrek replaces the book Shrek at the end of the film:
- Slap Slap Kiss: AU!Fiona only starts warming to Shrek when they bash each other up during combat training.
- Stealth Pun: That carriage park screams "Witch Trash".
- 3D Movie
- Toothy Bird: The giant goose.
- Tsundere: AU!Fiona.
- Twofer Token Minority: The Black/Gay chef Ogre.
- Weaksauce Weakness / Super Drowning Skills: The witches dissolve in water. Oddly, the ogre resistance never takes advantage of this; it's just used by Rumpelstiltskin in a You Have Failed Me... moment.
- We Want Our Jerk Back: The "jerk" here is the human race. The main theme of the first two movies is how badly Shrek is treated by humans. By the beginning of the fourth film, Shrek becomes annoyed at the humans treating him nicely and longs for the days when he would run about villages scaring them.
- Nicely? They ran over his outhouse!
- And they treated him like a circus attraction. Can you really blame him for getting tired of performing tricks for annoying kids every single day?
- Nicely? They ran over his outhouse!
- What Do You Mean, It's Not Awesome?: The Pied Piper teaches some witches a lesson by forcing them to break dance. Later he single-handedly defeats the Badass Army of Ogres with a full choreography and a conga line straight to Rumpelstiltskin's castle.
- X Meets Y: The film's plot can be neatly summed up as It's a Wonderful Life - in the Shrek Universe.
Shrek the Musical
- Adaptation Expansion: The extra half-hour that the film didn't have is used to elaborate on the backstories of Shrek, Fiona, and Farquaad, as well as give more focus to the Fairytale Creatures as characters.
- Adult Child: Peter Pan, apparently.
Peter: Maybe if we all close our eyes and clap really hard!
- All There in the Manual: The Fairytale Creatures get a surprising amount of characterization, sometimes even a little backstory, in the behind-the-scenes webisodes and their individual profiles on the "Shrekster" website, most of which isn't given in the show itself.
- Ambiguously Gay: From the sassy Donkey, to the prissy Farquaad, to the entire pride-anthem vibe of "Freak Flag", the musical is full of this trope.
Pinocchio: I'm wood. I'm good. Get used to it!
- Anthropomorphic Shift: Donkey, being portrayed by a live actor in costume, went from the quadruped Talking Animal he was in the films to an upright biped wearing a vest, at least in early productions. Inverted in later incarnations as the clothes were removed and he began walking in a torso-first fashion with his forelegs held up - a stance more like that of a real quadrupedal animal on it's hind legs.
- Ascended Extra: All of the Fairytale Creatures ensemble to an extent, but especially Pinocchio.
- Costume Porn
- Counterpoint Trio: Shrek, Fiona, and Donkey during "Who I'd Be".
- Duet Bonding: Shrek and Fiona during "I Think I Got You Beat".
- Early-Bird Cameo: Puss in Boots makes a quick cameo during the Traveling Song.
- Evil Is Hammy: Farquaad really cranks up his hammy tendencies, with a generous dose of campy flair added for good measure.
- Fantastic Aesop: "Freak Flag" starts out with your typical Be Yourself message, but it kind of gets derailed halfway through.
Pinocchio: We may be freaks, but we're freaks with teeth and claws and magic wands...and together, we can stand up to Farquaad!
- Fat Admirer: Donkey, as it turns out, as he sets the record straight during the song "Forever".
- For the Evulz: According to his Ballad (see below), Farquaad plans on total domination "with some torture, just for fun!"
- Freudian Excuse: Lord Farquaad's backstory is delivered in "Ballad of Farquaad" about his mother that died when he was young and his distant father that left him alone in the woods when he was younger. Subverted later when it turns out that his past wasn't as hopeless as he made it out to be.
Farquaad: No father of mine would've abandoned me in the woods as a child!
- Give Me a Sign: From "Travel Song":
Shrek: "Why me? Why me?
- Go Mad From the Isolation: Fiona in the play is a...little eccentric, due to being alone in her tower for years.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Farquaad is half-dwarf.
- "I Want" Song: "I Know It's Today".
- Late to the Punchline: Upon arriving to Farquaad's castle, Shrek makes the Compensating for Something joke from the film, which receives a blank stare from Donkey. But then a bit later, in the middle of the "Travel Song", Donkey suddenly breaks out laughing, saying he just got it.
- Madness Mantra: Fiona in "I Know It's Today": "And the waiting and the waiting and the waiting and the waiiiiitiiiiiing!"
- Mood Swinger: Fiona, especially during "I Know It's Today", in which she "seem(s) a bit bi-polar..."
- Motion Capture: How the Magic Mirror's face was portrayed on the stage.
- Precision F-Strike: After the Unusual Euphemism below, Pinocchio ends the song "Story of My Life" with an exclamation of "Crap!"
- Sanity Slippage: Fiona has a moment of this in "I Know It's Today" from waiting to be rescued from a small room in a tower for over twenty years.
- Scenery Porn
- Shout-Out: To several other Broadway musicals.
- Sissy Villain: Farquaad is played as this.
- Solo Trio: Fiona with her 10-year old self and teenage self in "I Know It's Today".
- Stepford Suburbia: Duloc under Farquaad's rule is well on its way to becoming this before he's dispatched. Donkey even lampshades it early on, saying that the whole place is "going Stepford."
- Suddenly Voiced: Dragon.
- Take That:
Gingy: It's time we do what we should've done a long time ago.
- Then Let Me Be A Monster: During "Build a Wall":
Shrek: I'm gonna be what they want.
- Title: the Adaptation
- Triumphant Reprise: "Big Bright Beautiful World". The first version is a cynical opening number about how it's awesome being anything but an ogre. The reprise is a tender song about how Shrek's life has become worthwhile.
- Unusual Euphemism:
Pinocchio: Man I tell ya, sometimes bein' a fairytale creature sucks pine sap!
- Later, "Mother Hubbard!" is exclaimed in place of a certain other, specific swear.
- Vocal Dissonance: The dainty-looking Sugar Plum Fairy speaks with a very deep, throaty voice.
Not to be confused with Looney Toons, whose last name is pronounced "Shrek" but is spelled with a few more letters. No matter how much amusement the whole deal gave his late mother.