This film was almost as revolutionary as Toy Story, but for different reasons. Its primary target audience was adults, and most of the jokes in it would be difficult for young, less corrupt, minds to understand. It really is a Mike Meyers movie. It also intentionally mocked Disney, particularly the fairytales that Disney is known for. I think the goal of that was to set Dreamworks apart from Disney and thus not be compared to it. I heard an interview with Jackie Chan once where he said the shadow of Bruce Lee made it impossible to become a kung-fu superstar because one would always be compared to him. So, Jackie decided to do the opposite of Bruce in his films. If Bruce punched someone and held a strong pose, Jackie would punch and then shake and kiss his hand because it hurt. This is why Jackie Chan developed such a great career. This is how Dreamworks was able to escape the shadow of Disney and have a string of money making films for over a decade now.

Fiona is a trapped princess in a tower, waiting for a handsome knight on a white stallion to come and save her. She ends up getting saved by Shrek and Donkey. This isn’t how it’s supposed to happen. Fiona had a great vision of what her hero would be like, and an ugly, smelly, rude ogre is not what she was expecting. Fiona was also cursed that her life would be lived as a beautiful girl by day and a hideous ogre by night; only love’s first kiss could transform her into true love’s form.

By the time Jesus made his appearance on Earth, a lot of people in Israel had an idea of what their savior would look like. He’d be a great man, probably noble in birth since he’d be in the bloodline of King David (maybe they forgot David himself was born a poor shepherd). Many thought he’d overthrow the Roman rule of the land and restore the Kingdom of Israel. What they got was a poor son of a carpenter, and of questionable birth. Jesus came “eating and drinking” and hanging out with the wrong crowd instead of the religious leaders. “A man of sorrows and familiar with suffering.” Even his arrival in Jerusalem, riding a donkey, not a white stallion, was disappointing.

A lot happens in the movie, but the contradiction between expectation and deliverables is the primary foundation of the story. And it is so clear, that we can use it to talk to our kids about their expectations of God. Depending on what they learn of Jesus at home and in Sunday school, they have already painted a picture of Jesus in their heads, some accurate, some not. What we need to be sure of is that, when Jesus turns out to be different than they had imagined him, will they still want him in their life?

Princess Fiona falls in love with Shrek, even though he wasn’t what she expected, he was her hero. He risked his life to save her from the Dragon. That meant a lot to her. Though many things were undesirable, such as his lack of manners, she learned to like these things about Shrek. In the end, she gave up the opportunity to be permanently a beautiful girl to instead be permanently Shrek’s girl.

By becoming an ogre, she would be despised by the world. Shrek points out how people run from him screaming; this would be her life as well. Being with the one she loves makes it worth it. Becoming a Christian makes us despised by the world. When they see that we are Christians, really believing in Christ, they will be disgusted. We may be ridiculed, abused or cast off as irrelevant. Being with the One we love makes it worth it.

Discussion Questions:

  1. When Shrek came to save Fiona, she was shocked that he was not handsome. When Jesus came to save humanity, how did He look? How was He treated? (Isaiah 53:3)
  2. Fiona believe she was too good for Shrek. Do people today feel the same way about Jesus? They want to pick what their savior would be like, but why can’t they. (Acts 4:12)
  3. We learn that Fiona is cursed and she tries to hide it from Shrek. If she had revealed her nature to him earlier it would have saved a lot of trouble. We are cursed with sin, are we able to hide that from Jesus? What should we do instead? (Proverbs 28:13)
  4. In the end, Fiona’s true form is shown to be an ogre, just like Shrek, but she isn’t sad about it, why? One Day, we will be transformed to be more like Jesus, does that make you happy or sad? (1 John 3:2)
  5. When Jesus comes back, will he be riding a donkey? Will he be poor, despised and ignored? (Revelation 19:11-16)