Shrek Is Over, Pixar's Onward Can Trample Your Fairytale Expectations Now

All it's missing is a Smash Mouth tune for its title song.

For the last couple of decades, the Shrek movies have been the benchmark when it comes to irreverent animated films that somehow manage to balance emotional stuff with ridiculous meta jokes. Well folks, it seems like we have a contender for that crown because Pixar’s upcoming film, Onward, appears to be this generation’s version of Shrek.

The movie is set in a world where all your usual fantasy and fairy tale tropes are every day things. Pet dragons that are scared of spray bottles? Yep. Centaurs, dwarves, and elves mingling with one another? Totally. Wild, bin-diving unicorns? Oh definitely.

As for the story, well this is where the emotional side of things come in as it tells the story of two elf brothers (played by Tom Holland and Chris Pratt) go on a journey to see if there’s still magic in the world so they can spend one last day with their late father. Yep, that premise alone has sold me and the trailer below is just an extra cherry on top.

Yep, it seems like Onward will be stuffed to the brim with heart, dumb jokes, and complete deconstructions of all your favourite fairy tale tropes. I almost half expected “All Star” to start playing at some point.

Onward is scheduled to drop into cinemas on March 19, 2020, which gives Pixar more than enough time to get Smash Mouth onboard to write a banger for the movie.

Today I Learned: Up's Iconic Love Story Opener Was Originally Less Emo And More Slapstick

Less crying and more uncomfortable laughter.

Everyone may have differing opinions on what the best Pixar film is but chances are that Up will be high up on most people’s lists because it’s just brilliant, especially the iconic love story opener between Carl and Ellie which arguably was what made the movie so special.

As Up turns 10 years old, those 5 or so opening minutes remain the greatest thing Pixar has ever produced (and probably will ever produce). But that moment of magic almost didn’t pan out the way it did.

Rather than the soul-crushing hammer blow to the feels that the scene ultimately turned out to be, it was originally less emotional and leaned more into Looney Tunes slapstick territory.

Tearing up already.

According to a behind-the-scenes video of Up on Pixar’s website, the filmmakers revealed that the original concept involved a young Carl trying to catch a bird with a crude box trap, only for a young Ellie to come out of nowhere with a massive right hook to Carl’s arm and declaring that, “Birds are nice! Boys are dumb!

This ultimately starts a life-long game where the couple sneak punch each other in the most random ways, which was intended to be a “non-sappy” and “funny” way of developing their relationship. This extends right up to the point where Carl is visiting Ellie in hospital and she weakly punches his arm (out of love).

In the words of co-director Bob Peterson, Carl and Ellie “punch themselves old” as opposed to “sweetly become old.”

(The explanation and storyboards come in at the start of the clip.)

While the filmmakers thought the scene was hilarious yet heartfelt, test audiences didn’t exactly warm to Carl and Ellie’s little punching game and reacted to the sequence with “silence” rather than tears.

Since Up hinges on the Carl and Ellie montage working, the filmmakers knew they had to fix it and ultimately ended up with the tearjerking scene we all know and love.

I do see where the filmmakers were coming from in regards to the original concept for Carl and Ellie’s growing old montage but it was one of those things that looked good on paper but just didn’t work when executed.

But hey, victories are born out of failures and we got the perfect montage in the end. 10 years on, I still can’t watch the scene and not tear up, and I know I’m far from the only one.

The Shrek Sequels Would Have Never Existed Had The Original Voice Actor Survived

The beloved green ogre would've been a completely different character.

It’s been 15 years since Shrek 2 hit our cinema screens and it has remained one of the greatest – if not the greatest – animated film that’s ever been released thanks to its perfect blend of raunchy (but not too raunchy) humour, its well-fleshed out cast of characters, and its subversive take on the usual fairytale tropes.

While we look upon Shrek and Shrek 2 with the fondest of memories (we try to forget Shrek The Third and Shrek Forever After), so much so that news of a potential reboot is akin to blasphemy of the highest order, there was a time when Shrek was a completely different film and Shrek 2 might not have existed had this original version been made.

Really really

Before Mike Myers was cast as Shrek, the character was originally voiced by Chris Farley, a comedian best known for his work on SNL. Sadly, Farley died in 1999 before he was able to finish recording all his lines for Shrek and Myers was hired to replace him.

Upon being shown what was going on with the film, Myers came up with the Shrek we all know and love, and insisted on a complete script rewrite to ensure nothing remained of Farley’s version of Shrek out of respect for his late friend and former SNL co-star. Whereas Myers had a snarky Scottish take on the ogre, Farley’s version didn’t have any accent and was a lot more soft-spoken and thoughtful.

Farley’s work on the film has largely remained unseen but some early production footage leaked in 2015 and it shows what he could’ve brought to the role. In fact, Farley’s take on the misunderstood ogre felt so vulnerable that it would’ve resulted in a completely different version of Shrek than the final product we got.

Myers’ take on Shrek resulted in a wildly different tone for Shrek and was a key part for the film’s eventual success. However, it would’ve been very interesting to see what the movie could’ve been had Farley lived as it is evident from the leaked recording above that the film would’ve likely went down a more sensitive and less gag-heavy route than what it eventually did. Hell, who knows if we would’ve even got a Shrek 2 had everything unfolded as originally planned.

There’s no denying that we’ve been blessed with two fantastic Shrek movies (and two other less fantastic ones), but Farley voicing Shrek would’ve been something uniquely different and it remains one of the great “what-ifs” in film.


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