ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to parents and grandparents

Shrek (2001), (PG)
CAP Score: 81
CAP Influence Density: 0.35

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NOTE: If you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is purely objective and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.


If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

SHREK (PG) -- He's big. He's green. He's mean. And he's an ogre

The quality of computer animation was astounding. Even the lapping of fireplace flames was amazingly accurate. Even the occasional island of flame tearing away from the parent flame and rising to flicker off into oblivion was there. The rest of the attention to detail in computer animation was no less a credit to the definition of realism in the name of artistic license.

He's big. He's green. He's mean. And he's an ogre. Shrek is all these things ... and an ole softee with a big heart. But to look at him you wouldn't know. Jesus tells us we are not to judge by mere appearances [John 7:24] which gave birth to the expression "Don't judge a book by its cover." We must look inside the book to judge it fairly. Likewise, we must "look inside" a man to judge him fairly. While we must judge by what is inside (behavior, actions, choice of words, etc.) we must not judge by what the individual looks like. Let me take a paragraph to further explain that.

What one chooses to wear is behavior which comes from inside. One's chosen words is behavior which comes from inside. One's actions and deeds is dictated by what is inside. But one's face or skin color or soundness of limb is not from inside. We must judge others based on what comes from inside, not by mere appearance. (Side Note: So much for the self-serving counterfeitings of "Judge not..." [Matt. 7:1] thinking it tells us to not judge at all. See Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged: An Excerpt following the Scripture references below.) Judge others we must and this movie is actually a really good lesson in making judgments of others: to not base our judgments on outward appearances.


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Shrek lives alone in a swamp and likes it that way. He even has signs posted everywhere warning others to stay out. After a brisk shower in what appeared to be manure which could be conveniently passed off as mud and after a quick glimpse of Shrek's (Mike Myers) bare backside, he has a meal of things only ogre's eat including fish eyes, once as an "olive" for a martini. Shrek was quite graphic a couple times as he spoke threats to others such as drinking their body fluids after their death and using the jelly inside their eyes as toast spread.

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We are taken to the castle of Lord Farquaad (voice of Jonathan Lithgow), the evil ruler of the land, who has banished all fairy tale characters to Shrek's swamp. In the dealings of the officials with the citizenry to get rid of the fairy tale characters, one old lady tries to sell her donkey to the officials as a talking donkey. Lo and behold, after being dusted by a tiny fairy the donkey actually begins to talk ... with the voice of Eddie Murphy who provides much of the toilet/crude humor in this flick [Eph. 5:4] which is clearly not the average or typical animated fairy tale. While trying to foil an escape by the donkey the guards meet Shrek who saves the donkey merely by his fearful appearance. Out of gratitude, the donkey latches himself onto Shrek and follows him to his swamp home.

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The banished fairy tale characters converge on Shrek's swamp. Many familiar faces appear arguing with Shrek to let them stay. Shrek, being the recluse he is, could not take all the visitors and set out on a trek to Farquaad to get the fairy tale characters out of his swamp. In the meanwhile, Farquaad is perplexed about whom he shall marry.

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In order to become king, Lord Farquaad must marry a princess. A magic mirror presents three choices to Farquaad: Cinderella, Snow White (which provides an opportunity for some of the crude humor: "She lives with seven men but she ain't easy"), and Princess Fiona (voice of Cameron Diaz). By day, Fiona is a beautiful princess, but by night ...? The answer is part of the moral presented by the movie and I do not want to spoil it.

Fiona is captive of a huge dragon in a castle surrounded by a fiery inferno with only a suspension bridge to the castle gate. There is a most interesting aspect of the dragon which I will not spoil for you because of its uniqueness amidst the history of dragons in movies. Another interesting thing about the dragon was that the writers had it kiss the bare bottom of Shrek in another clearly gratuitous display of cartoon nudity. Suffice it to say the donkey ... I've told you enough of the plot and do not wish to spoil it any further for those who wish to see this movie.

But I will tell you that in the end this movie had something very profound to say about true beauty. The preparations and building up through the rest of the movie were artfully aimed at that one very beautiful message. The message may be counterfeited by the humanists to include "preferences" but Jesus said it first and was very clear about it [John 7:24].

It is a great movie with such a good and warm thing to say at the end. And that makes Shrek a paradox -- a fine moral embedded in 83 minutes of fun freckled with crude and toilet humor. Is this not contradictory? To teach good moral standards with vulgarity? [Hebr. 13:9] What's wrong with this picture?

Issues which many parents will find worthy of at least raising an eyebrow include brief posterior nudity, persecution based on appearance and flatulence in a bathtub (likely from other notes of Eddie Murphy's humor - paraphrased - "The closest thing to a jacuzzi my family could afford was [passing gas] in a bathtub.). There were five uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary and two uses of God's name in vain but without the four letter expletive. There were also sexual innuendo and a dragon kissing Shrek's bare bottom. A high not sung by Princess Fiona exploded a bluebird. The dragon's attacks of Shrek, the donkey and Fiona were sometimes quite graphic with threats of death by incineration. There is more but I will leave them to the listing in the Findings/Scoring section


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ].
  • John 7:24 (KJV) Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. (NIV) Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.
  • Eph. 5:4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving
  • Hebr. 13:9 Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace [by God's Word and love], not by ceremonial foods [e.g., entrainment ignominy], which are of no value to those who eat them.

    *******Food for Thought*******
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]

    Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged: An Excerpt from other CAP publications

    "Matt. 7:1 "Do not judge, or you too will be judged."

    This is the verse so many use to try to shame others for discerning poor behavior, ethics, morals, and values. Using ONLY Matt 7:1 is entirely incomplete. This verse is NOT speaking to not judging -- it is speaking to not judging harshly, unfair, or any other cheap and selfish way. Read the REST OF THE STORY ...

    Matt 7:2-5 "For in the same way you judge others [there is the authority to judge], you will be judged [if you judge poorly, you will be judged poorly; if you judge well, you will be judged well], and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you [if you use extremes to manipulate the outcome, extremes will be used on you; but if you judge fair, you will be judged fairly]. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye [point out his sins - "minor" in Jesus' example here] and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye [your own sins, even and especially those you will not see, magnified by your selective blindness]? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' [tell him of his "minor" sins] when all the time there is a plank in your own eye [that there are greater or the same sins in your own life which you do nothing about]? You hypocrite [speaking/accusing others of sins thinking you are above sin], first take the plank out of your own eye [sincerely ask the Lord for forgiveness and learn AND live the Truth and Light by His Word], and then you will see clearly [be in a righteous position] to remove the speck from your brother's eye [to judge and to help him out of his bondage to sin]." At Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan, Jesus was talking to the multitudes gathered there after hearing of His message and of His healings to beseech them to not become like the pharisees and hypocrites who think they are above sin.

    And, as a FEW examples of His desire for us to judge,

  • 1Cor. 6:2-3 Do you not know that the saints [the saved] will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life?
  • Job 34:4 Let us discern for ourselves what is right; let us learn together what is good.
  • Prov. 3:21 My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight;
  • John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
  • Jer. 22:3 Thus saith the LORD; Execute ye judgment and righteousness...
  • Phil. 1:10 so that you may be able to discern [judge] what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ...
  • Phil. 1:7 It is right for me to feel this way about all of you [judge you]...
  • Heb. 5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern [judge] both good and evil.

    Matt 7:1 seems to support the allusion that we are not to judge at all IF we use small-vision tactics by narrow-mindedly selecting only that SMALL piece of the total of what Jesus was saying. Matt 7:1 DOES NOT tell us not to judge at all -- it tells us to not judge with unfairness or superficiality: to not use our own understanding to judge. Look at John 7:24. There, Jesus TELLS us to judge, but to do so righteously. Righteously means to use the Truth of the Word and NOT by appearances only [John 7:24]. Judge we must else we could never tell good from bad, proper from improper, righteousness from evil.

    And to continue, Matt 7:6 says. "Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces." How are you going to know who are the "dogs" and the "pigs" if you do not judge.

    Yes, we do have the right and the authority to judge the behavior of others as long as we honor and obey His Word doing it. That God is the only one who can judge is speaking to judging whether someone is or is not saved. Neither you or I nor anyone else who has ever drawn a breath (except Jesus) or ever will draw a breath has the authority to say whether another has or has not been saved. Only God can make that judgment since only He can give Salvation. The Bible provides quite enough knowledge and understanding to make each of us a righteous judge if we r-e-a-d it and not just look at the words AND use the TOTAL of what He says, not just the pieces that seem to fit an agenda.

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    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.

    FINDINGS / SCORING: Shrek (2001) CAP Thermometers

    NOTE: Multiple occurrences of each item described below may be likely, definitely when plural.

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • WWF style violence
  • skeletons and body parts
  • graphic animal attacks
  • bluebird exploding due to high pitched note
  • defensive fighting
  • impalement with an arrow
  • knife blade to throat threat
  • dragon eating a character
  • inflation of a snake by mouth to make an animal shaped balloon
  • torture of a character (gingerbread man)
  • graphic expressions

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • flatulence
  • persecution based on outward appearance
  • five uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • urinating on a campfire
  • crotch injury with a crunch
  • bathing in what appears to be manure (which could conveniently be thought of as mud)

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • brief rear male nudity, twice
  • sexual innuendo
  • dragon kissing the bare bottom of Shrek

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • drinking

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • two uses of God's name in vain but without the four letter expletive

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • none noted (the eating of Farquaad by the dragon was incorporated under Violence. Duplication is not permitted by the CAP analysis model)

    NOTE: The CAP Analysis Model makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse or for manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery, or for camouflaging such ignominy with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure from the sinful display or the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. This is NOT a movie review service. It is a movie analysis service to parents and grandparents to tell them the truth about movies using the Truth.

    "There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I aplaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our five-year study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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    (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name in vain is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the four letter expletive is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Portrayal of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

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