Shrek the Third
Run Time: 93 minutes
Director: Chris Miller, Raman Hui
The film does an excellent job of challenging popular notions regarding body ideals, beauty ideals, and gender but does very little involving racial diversity, disability, and sexual orientation.
Things quickly go awry when Shrek and Donkey set out to find the next heir to the throne of Far Far Away.
- Demeaning language- “fool,” “foul beast,” “twit,” “losers,” “mutant leprechaun,” “monster,” “dork,” “punk,” “mayor of loserville,” “king of the stupids,” “idiot,” “loser,” “bloated piñata,” “lame,” “headcase,” “morons,” “old lady,” “freaks”
- It is implied that Puss in Boots says the “f” word
- Weapons- sword, crossbow and arrow, knives, cannon, fire
- Sword fighting
- Shrek is chained-up at one point
- King Harold dies
- Far Far Away is pillaged
- Threat to break Prince Charming’s leg
- Threat to slit Arthur’s throat
- Mild sexual innuendos
- Shrek’s naked buttocks is briefly exposed
- At one point, Donkey throws a blanket off Shrek and screams, “you need to get yourself some jammies” as if Shrek is exposed.
- Visible beer mugs, wine bottle, and wine glasses in a bar
- Mention of Fuzzy Navels, Mojitos
- A minor character appears to be drunk
- Wolf is a minor character that challenges traditional gender roles regarding masculinity. Wolf is male but wears women’s clothing (cross-dresses) throughout the entire film.
- The few times that Fiona is active, she is depicted as a skilled fighter. For example, Fiona saves the other princesses by helping them escape from a locked cell. Additionally, Fiona saves Shrek from Prince Charming. This is important because oftentimes women are depicted as passive bystanders in the media.
- Other female characters are also depicted as active and skilled fighters. For example, the Queen and the other princesses fight against Charming’s army, escape from a locked chamber, and get dirty. Further, Snow White uses her singing powers and another princess uses her high heels as weapons. This is important because it shows that femininity and activeness are not mutually exclusive characteristics.
- Princess Fiona is an ogre and is still considered beautiful in the film. This is important to note because most of contemporary media only portrays and promotes one idea of beauty regarding females that reinforces notions of traditional gender roles regarding femininity (slender, no body hair, delicate, passive).
- Prince Charming’s character pokes fun at traditional ideal masculinity. For example, Prince Charming is attractive, rich, and tough, but he is also whiny, selfish, and overall un-likeable.
- The other princess characters poke fun at traditional ideal femininity. For example, they hardly eat, are very feminine (nice hair, makeup, wear dresses, are thin), and worry about Fiona getting stretch marks during her pregnancy. However, their behaviors and actions are not depicted as desirable traits.
- Arthur challenges traditional gender roles regarding masculinity. For example, he gets hung by his underwear on a basketball hoop, is not liked very well in his school, and expresses his fear of becoming king. This is important because men are often depicted as traditionally masculine and are discouraged from expressing their emotions in the media.
- The Pirate admits to growing beautiful daffodils, which is not generally considered a masculine activity. This challenges traditional conceptions of ideal masculinity.
- Although there are no major or minor characters of color, Puss in Boots (voiced by Antonio Banderas) has Latino signifiers. For example, he has an accent and at times he speaks in Spanish. Overall, he is depicted as a good character.
Sexual Orientation: N/A
- A few minor characters with visible disabilities are shown in crowd settings. For example, a pirate with a hook for a hand plays piano. The disabilities do not dictate the morality of the characters.
- There are a variety of body types shown in the film.
- Shrek is a lead character and challenges male body ideals. For example, he is fat-bodied and grotesque (farts, burps, lives in a swamp, etc.) but is still found attractive by his wife, Fiona. This is important because many male leads conform to male body and beauty ideals (strong, attractive) and leave little space for other body types in film.
- Fiona challenges female body ideals. For example, she is an ogre (fat-bodied) and is still considered beautiful. Additionally, Fiona has morning breath. This is important because most female leads (especially princesses) conform to traditional gender roles regarding femininity and beauty ideals.
- A young Cyclops girl is referred to as beautiful. It is important to note that even though she does not conform to beauty ideals (as a mythical being), she is still considered beautiful.
- The Ugly Stepsister is grotesque (has a deep masculine voice, spits) but is depicted as a good character. This is significant because oftentimes appearance is used as a signifier of moral character in the media.
- Fiona mostly conforms to traditional gender roles regarding femininity. For example, Fiona is rarely shown outside of the castle (passive) and needs to be saved by Shrek (damsel in distress trope).
- The male gaze is present in the film. The Ugly Stepsister uses her leg to distract guards.
- There are no major or minor characters of color.
- Puss in Boots reinforces the “charming Latino lover” stereotype as he has many female cat lovers.
- There are no variations of sexual orientation.
- No major characters appear to have a visible disability.
- The Three Blind Mice trip and fall down stairs, which is considered comical.
- Snow White gives Princess Fiona one of her seven “dwarves” as a gift. The dwarf character is wrapped in a box and is used for comedic purposes.
- Even though Shrek and Fiona accept their ogre bodies, the word “ogre” (used by Shrek, Fiona, and other major and minor characters) is used as an insult. Additionally, the grotesqueness of Shrek (who is an ogre) is used for comedic purposes. For example, Shrek scratches his behind, has body odor, and bursts out of his formal clothing. Shrek is also referred to as “fat” in a negative manner and frightens people with his appearance.
- The Ugly Stepsister is depicted as ugly because she is more masculine than feminine (she has a deep voice and some facial hair).
- An old body is depicted as unaware and foolish. For example, an old man tries to feed Shrek and Donkey rocks.
Suggested talking points
- Prince Charming is initially depicted as the classical prince charming trope but ends up being one of the villains. This is challenging the notion that attractiveness is indicative of moral character.
- Although the film only depicts heterosexual romantic love, one of the main messages in the film is to love a person for their inner beauty and not their outer beauty.
- Princess Fiona is an ogre and does not wish to become a human. This is important because depictions of princesses in films usually only allow one type of princess (one who is thin but curvy, has perfect skin, no body hair, etc.).
- Arthur makes a speech on the dangers of making fun of “nerdy” or “uncool” kids.
- Shrek mentions that he used to believe it when people said he was a monster, but in the end you have to ignore mean things people say and trust who you are as a person.
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