When Shrek arrived in 2001 it sent shockwaves through the animation industry. Computer animated movies were nothing new by then, it's just that the only good ones were made by Pixar. Shrek was a DreamWorks Animation product, their second attempt at competing with Pixar. Their first, Antz, was a marginal critical success but a complete box office failure. This time though, they'd hit on something.

At first, audiences didn't quite seem to know what to expect. The movie's first weekend box office totals were respectable for a summer blockbuster, but it wasn't breaking any records. Then to everyone's surprise, it started to build. Unlike most summer movies Shrek's box office receipts didn't drop off after the first weekends. Instead they increased for three solid weeks as people took to the streets and told their friends, “hey you have to see this!” In the same way that Toy Story blew everyone away by introducing computer animation as a completely new way of moviemaking, Shrek knocked audiences on their butts by showing them a completely new way of doing computer animation.

Shrek showed people something new, and in the process became a phenomenon.

What was new about Shrek? Attitude. While many brilliant mainstream animated movies like The Lion King or Pixar's Toy Story had been able to cross generational lines before to appeal to audiences of all ages, Shrek seemed to have more to offer strictly for adults than most Shrek was hip. Shrek was now. Shrek was flat out funny. The movie took an amalgam of cookie cutter fairytales, threw them in a blender, twisted them up and turned inside out, to create something hat is almost irresistibly attractive to children yet at the same time perfect for adults. It doesn't just appeal to all ages, it appeals specifically to certain ages for different reasons. Kids loved the animation and cute characters, adults loved the sly, topical, and sometimes raunchy jokes that flew right over the kids' heads. Unlike those other animated classics, Shrek was and is less concerned with being a classic that it is with being a movie in the moment. Shrek was a product of its time, and proud of it. It was entertainment for now, without worrying about what people will think of it later.

Later took care of itself in the six years since the first film and now on the verge of a third, Shrek is still one of the most beloved computer animated movies of all time. The second movie hit in 2004, and this time audiences were ready for it. There was no steady build for Shrek 2, fans were there opening day to propel it to one of the biggest, record-breaking openings of all time. Shrek the Third is a guaranteed moneymaker, and look out folks because more Shrek sequels and spin-offs are in store. Shrek old buddy, it's lucky you got off to such a good start because we'll all be sick of you before it's over.

What ever you think of Shrek and the subsequent sequels, the film is still making waves. With Shrek, DreamWorks opened the floodgates to a mudslide of Pixar competitors. Now the market is flooded with dozens and dozens of new computer animated movies from all sorts of different studios competing against the DreamWorks and Pixar giants. Now everybody is taking a bite out of Pixar's pie, but DreamWorks and Shrek were the first to do it.

So cover yourself in mud and grab a buddy and make him dress up like a talking donkey, because this is our complete guide to everything you need to gear up for the arrival of Shrek the Third. Scroll down and breath in the swamp gas.

Synopsis: Being king isn’t for everyone – especially if you’re an ornery ogre who smells like the shallow end of a swamp. When Shrek married Fiona, the last thing he wanted was to rule Far Far Away, but when his father-in-law, King Harold, suddenly croaks, Shrek is quickly fitted for the crown. Now, unless the reluctant would-be king can find a suitable replacement, he’ll be royally screwed for the rest of his days.

As if Shrek didn’t have enough on his plate, Princess Fiona has another little surprise on the way. Reeling from the duties of running a kingdom and impending fatherhood, Shrek sets off on a quest to find the only other possible heir to the throne, Fiona’s long-lost cousin Artie, a medieval high school outcast. While the ogre is away, his old nemesis Prince Charming rears his handsome head and returns to the kingdom of Far Far Away with redemption on his shallow little mind. Even with Donkey and the ever-so-suave Puss In Boots by their side, it’s going to take an ogre-sized effort and a whole lot of help from Fiona and her band of princesses for Shrek and Artie to save the day and find their own Happily Ever Afters.

Shrek the Third - Discuss It! - See the movie and then discuss it with other moviegoers here.

Bowling for Box Office - Shrek the Third Edition! - Give your predictions of how well Shrek the Third will fare at the box office.

Shrek the Third Image Gallery - Check out Shrek's big, stinky feet without having to smell them in our gallery of non-moving images from the film.

Shrek the Third Videos - Check out Shrek's big, stinky feet without having to smell them in our gallery of moving images from the film.

Shrek in our Top 5 Computer Animated Movies of All Time - Does Shrek belong among the greats?

Shrek 2
Even though it picks up right after Shrek it’s really not all that necessary to have seen the first to get this one. Sure there are some allusions to the original (complete with yet another reference to The Muffin Man), but the story itself stands on its own feet. Shrek and Donkey are not on a quest this time that changes their worldview and makes them fall in love in the process. No, their quest this time out is simply to exist and be accepted. That’s the sort of thing any age group can relate too. Sure it’s an animated flick, sure there are fairy tale elements sewn throughout. Sure it’s the story of a princess and a kingdom, but those underlying themes of innocence that we all know are tainted with little dabs of reality, no matter how silly. Much like Superman II or last summer’s X2: X-Men United, the back-story and introductions are out of the way, now it’s time for a great story with all sorts of twists and turns. Bring on part 3!

It might be easy to dismiss Shrek as just another kid’s movie, a good family jaunt. But this film has so much more to offer than just the same old family fair. The humor is adult, the characters mature and well rounded, but the film still manages to stay on a level that is almost irresistibly attractive to children yet at the same time perfect for adults. Sure, a big green farting monster and his talking donkey companion may SOUND like an idea that fell off the side of a McDonalds happy meal, but Shrek ain’t no Ronald McDonald. Perhaps Shrek sends a message to filmmakers out there, perhaps it says something about creativity and laughter, maybe, just maybe Shrek is the future of movies. On the other hand it might just be a story about a stinky green giant.

Mike Myers

Austin Powers in Goldmember
"Mike Myers has apparently let success go to his head... or maybe he's afraid of offending any of his new Hollywood friends... or perhaps the Powers franchise has simply run out of gas. Whatever the reason, let's just hope he leaves Wayne's World at a standing count of two. "

Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
"With a cast of characters including an obese, baby eating Scotsman, a mini Doctor Evil named "mini-me", and anything else Meyers can throw in to poke fun and the tired world of spy flicks, or pop-culture in general, The Spy Who Shagged Me rules the comedy genre, and elevates Meyers to that Monty Python/John Cleese realm of comedic demi-god."

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
"For months after I first saw this, "Sh!" was like a catchphrase, and it doesn't get much better than when the demented genius is extolling the joys of shaved testicles."

The Cat In The Hat
" Dr. Seuss wrote books that have been part of many a childhood. Now Imagine Entertainment selects another Seuss classic to mutilate as they convert it to the big screen. "

Eddie Murphy

"Mushu is brilliantly voiced by Eddie Murphy, who has proven lately that he should stick to voice work instead of live action."

"Some of the film is pretty despicable, and the plot relies on the idea that being fat also means you’re a horrible bitch."

"Eddie's singing fantasies are no secret, and Dreamgirls is his opportunity to live out all of them vicariously through Jimmy."

Daddy Day Care
"Now that he's made some live action money, maybe Eddie can get back to what he's best at: Animated donkeys."

I Spy
"Carried effortlessly on that talented backs of Wilson and Murphy to a rousingly funny success. "

The Adventures of Pluto Nash
"It’s a story we’ve all seen before with a twist ending so overused and overdone that everyone, including Eddie, has used it at least twice."

"Murphy is spectacular as the preening, camera hungry Sellars."

The Haunted Mansion
"While Eddie Murphy is stumbling around, grinning his way through bad joke after bad joke, Stamp’s butler Ramsley haunts the screen, serving as the Mansion’s version of a cynically disturbed tour guide. "

Cameron Diaz

The Holiday
"There's not a woman alive who could avoid falling for Jude Law. Except Cameron Diaz, who appears to be impervious to his natural charm and charisma. "

In Her Shoes
"Cameron Diaz plays a very irritating character that you’ll want to shoo away like a gnat."

Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle
"Not many kids are more hyper than Cameron Diaz, who has officially completed her transformation from classical beauty to ragged out, skeleton-faced spazz."

Gangs of New York
"There is no reason for Cameron Diaz to be in this film."

The Sweetest Thing
"Why would any woman with so very little ass indeed insist on thrusting the bony thing repeatedly in the face of the movie going public?"

Vanilla Sky
"Cameron Diaz glows in her delicious role as a mildly deranged love interest."

Flushed Away
"Sure, the movie is computer animated, but what DreamWorks has done for the claymation geeks over at Aardman is to use computers to create the animated equivalent of claymation figures. If you watch closely, you might even spot a simulated thumbprint or two in the carefully rendered faux clay. There's just no way around it. Flushed Away is a perfect kind of cute. Aardman's imagination has been set free from the constraints of stop-motion and they've taken full advantage of the latitude this allows them."

Over the Hedge
"It goes on forever! screams one of the animal characters in Over the Hedge, describing the new shrubbery that popped up around their woodland home while they hibernated. But that also rather accurately describes the urban sprawl hidden behind it. Thousands of humans packed in tract housing, driving minivans, talking on cell phones, and paving over anything and everything that gets in their way. Suburban bliss is not achieved without furry, four footed sacrifice."

"What sells it is the script’s sharp and lively wit, as in a scene that finds two well-educated British monkeys discussing an escape to attend a Thomas Wolfe reading. As Wolfe fans they decide to go, but of course they’ll throw poop. In fact, it’s the film’s supporting characters that get the biggest laughs, not the four animals in the thick of the story. For the most part they play it straight as Madagascar’s secondary cast of commando penguins, literature loving monkeys, and techno-dancing lemurs play off them to perfect effect."

Shark Tale
"Shark Tale is a slight adventure that blatantly panders to all the worst aspects of modern pop culture. The plot is a helpless mish mash of storylines and themes ripped from some of the most commonly overused devices in cinema. I guess though it's best explained as a hip-hop clone of Dragonheart, since it steals the same basic tale, that of a loser befriending a frightening monster and then staging battles with it to impress easily fooled crowds. "

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