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Short takes

Not recommended under 5, parental guidance recommended 5-12 (Coarse language; Violence).

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Shrek
  • a review of Shrek completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 4 August 2011.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Not recommended for children of this age due to scary scenes and inappropriate language
Children aged 5 to 12 years Parental guidance recommended due to violence and coarse language
Children over 12 years of age OK for children of this age

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Shrek
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Low Level Violence, Low Level Course Language
Length: 93 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Shrek is the animated tale of a grumpy green ogre (voiced by Mike Myers) living a life of solitude in a mucky, slimy swamp.....just the way he likes it!  That is until Lord Farquart (voiced by John Lithgow), the ruler of the Kingdom of Dulac, demands that all fairy tale creatures and talking animals are banished from his lands to ensure a pure community.  Displaced and desperate, the three blind mice, Tinkerbell, the three little pigs and many other fairytale creatures end up in Shrek’s swamp looking for a place to live. Angered by the unwelcomed intrusion Shrek demands that one of the creatures takes him to Lord Farquart so he can ‘sort out this mess’. Donkey (Eddie Murphy)offers to take Shrek to the kingdom of Dulac to meet Lord Farquart. Lord Farquart is less than impressed by Shrek’s demands and after his soldiers fail to kill him, he makes a deal with Shrek that if he can rescue Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) from the castle where she is being held hostage, he will ensure that all of the fairytale creatures are removed from his beloved swamp.

What follows is the adventure filled journey taken by Shrek and Donkey as they attempt to rescue Princess Fiona from a fiery dragon, and take the perilous journey home to deliver the feisty Princess Fiona to her Prince Charming.


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Cruel actions and attitudes towards the ogres and magical creatures

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including the following examples:

  • Shrek is attacked by a group of humans who are hunting ogres with pitchforks and fire torches.  They threaten to torch Shrek’s house in the swamp.  Shrek creeps up behind them and frightens them away by roaring menacingly.
  • Shrek makes many threats throughout the movie when provoked (by humans and Donkey) examples include “I’ll drink their blood”, “I’ll pop their eyes and eat the juices”, “I’ll give you a smacked bottom”, “I’ll cut open their spleen and drink their blood”
  • Donkey is hit over the head by his owner and is called a ‘bonehead’ when she tries to sell him and he refuses to talk on demand
  • Donkey is chased by the soldiers but manages to escape
  • Donkey and Shrek are attacked by Lord Farquart’s soldiers.  Shrek retaliates by crushing soldiers with a barrel, head butting them, hitting them with objects and wrestling them
  • Princess Fiona beats up Robin Hood and his merry men by throwing them, kicking and punching them
  • Lord Farquart tries to force Princess Fiona to marry him by holding a sword to her throat

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • A scene where Shrek and Donkey are confronted by a dragon that is aggressive and menacing. The dragon lives in an abandoned castle which is surrounded by fire and brimstone. It has skeletons of soldiers who have died there. The dragon chases the two of them throughout a number of scenes and could be scary for younger viewers.  The outcome of the scenes is that Donkey, Shrek and Princess Fiona just escape unharmed, and later in the movie the dragon becomes a friend to the duo.
  • Shrek’s house has a jar of eyeballs on the shelves and he is seen eating a slug for dinner

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

There are no additional scenes that are likely to scare or disturb children of this age

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

There are no scenes in this movie that are likely to scare or disturb children of this age group

Thirteen and overinfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

There are no scenes in this movie that are likely to scare or disturb children of this age group

Product placement

There is no product placement in this movie, although a large amount of associated merchandise, including food, marketed to children.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:
There is some sexual innuendo throughout the movie examples include a reference to a tall building that Lord Farquart built to “compensate for something”
There is some flirting between Shrek and Princess Fiona throughout the movie- for example Princess Fiona falls on Shrek and they share an intimate look as if about to kiss

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Shrek has a shower in his swamp, the top of his bare bottom is seen.
  • Lord Farquart is seen in bed alone with no top on and his chest showing
  • Shrek and Princess Fiona kiss

Use of substances

There is one instance of substances use in this movie:

  • Lord Farquart is seen drinking a cocktail in one scene

Coarse language

There is some mild coarse language in this movie, including:

  • arse
  • shut up
  • butt
  • stupid
  • fool
  • crap
  • damn
  • disgusting

In a nutshell

Shrek is a family comedy about an unsuspecting hero, a faraway Princess and the journey they took to find their one true love.

The main messages from this movie are about following your heart and not judging someone based on how they look.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • friendship
  • bravery- standing up for what you believe
  • forgiveness

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:
discriminating against people who are different