Shrek the Halls (2007)


As Shrek learns the hard way, Kermit the Frog's prophetic tune "It's Not Easy Being Green," even applies to the holidays when the ogre begins to feel the overwhelming pressure of the Christmas season in DreamWorks Animation Studio's successful 2007 twenty-two minute special, Shrek the Halls.

Originally airing on ABC to record-breaking numbers of viewers, the high-quality and family friendly holiday short is making its way to DVD just in time for Christmas. Impressively boasting the original all-star voice talents that augmented the Shrek trilogy of the ogre who became an unlikely knight in shining armor, Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy and the second film's adorable scene-stealer Antonio Banderas all reunite for an instantly identifiable tale of familial dysfunction, holiday pressure, and Christmas anxiety.

Although he repeatedly explains to Eddie Murphy's fast-talking, over-eager Poster Donkey for ADD his belief that ogres just don't do Christmas, when Shrek (Myers) realizes that Princess Fiona (Diaz) is anticipating that it will be the best Christmas ever since they'll be able to share it with their children, Shrek waits until the last minute to prepare. Bursting into a local bookshop along with other frazzled shoppers, he picked up the recommended text "Christmas for Village Idiots" but finds all of his plans sabotaged when the well-meaning but clueless Donkey mistakes Fiona's advice that they just want a nice family Christmas to mean instead-- "bring the whole gang."

Before he turns Shrek's home into an impromptu Moulin Rouge styled disco, Gingy quickly reveals his mischievous side by hitting on a female cookie and later getting so sick that he vomits a chocolate chip. When Fiona begs Shrek, who has holed up in the outhouse to avoid the mayhem to come back inside, things start looking up as the characters each take turns trying to relay their version of the Christmas story with Banderas' guitar driven, Zorro effort being a highlight before he becomes too distracted by the bell on his hat to continue. Yet after more chaos ensues and things get out of hand, Shrek grows increasingly closer to losing his temper in the process of learning the real meaning of Christmas and the importance of family and friends.

However, with Shrek's trademark of inserting crude humor to prevent the special from becoming far too sickly sweet, it stays true to the trilogy as he wishes audience members "a smelly Christmas to all and to all a gross night." Yet, while the over reliance on toilet humor hindered the first film, in my opinion and the second one was far superior and intelligent, Shrek the Halls manages to continue in the spirit of the sequel by crafting a special that will not only entertain the little ones but also ring as true as Puss in Boots's bell for adults who find themselves stretched way too thin during the holiday season, especially in these economically trying times.

Offering viewers the opportunity to choose whether or not to watch it in full-screen or its original widescreen aspect ratio format, the digital transfer quality of Shrek the Halls's animation is first rate, additionally offering both audio options and subtitles in English, Spanish and French. Tying right in with DreamWorks Animation's release of Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, the Shrek DVD (available in numerous formats as shown below) is loaded with extras celebrating the Madagascar films along with other DreamWorks favorites.

Featuring the notorious, scheming Penguins from Madagascar as well as the adorable Christmas Caper short featured on the first film's DVD, Shrek the Halls works in two bonus sing-alongs-- "12 Days of Christmas" and "Deck the Halls." Along with Gingy's Dunking Game and a Shrek video game demo and cheat code, one of the coolest bonus features is a DreamWorks Animation Video Jukebox serving up musical clips from not only the Shrek and Madagascar films but other favorites like Flushed Away, Over the Hedge, Bee Movie, and Shark Tale.

With an easy to use child-friendly DVD menu and plenty of fun extras to keep them entertained in addition to the main attraction itself, Shrek the Halls is a winning addition to the collection of animated holiday specials in the tradition of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, sure to delight Generation Y as well as their parents.

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas
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