"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.
- Great Wall: Discussed in the first movie. Shrek tells Donkey that once Lord Farquaad gives him back his swamp -- "their" swamp, Donkey corrects because he's helping Shrek rescue and deliver Princess Fiona to the Lord -- he's going to build a giant wall to keep would-be ogre slayers out and give him some privacy. Donkey uses the wall-building as a pretext to call out Shrek for his self-pitying cruelty, after a misunderstanding causes Donkey, Shrek and Fiona to have a falling out. Shrek ends up abandoning the idea by the end of the movie after marrying Fiona, though he misses the lack of privacy in Forever After.
- 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!"
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.