In your opinion, what is the best movie sequel ever? The answer may surprise you.

The best sequel ever created is Shrek 2.

After battling a fire-breathing dragon and the evil Lord Farquaad to win the hand of Princess Fiona, Shrek now faces his greatest challenge: the in-laws. Shrek and Princess Fiona return from their honeymoon to find an invitation to visit Fiona's parents, the King and Queen of the Kingdom of Far, Far Away. With Donkey along for the ride, the newlyweds set off. All of the citizens of Far, Far Away turn out to greet their returning Princess, and her parents happily anticipate the homecoming of their daughter and her new Prince. But no one could have prepared them for the sight of their new son-in-law, not to mention how much their little girl had changed. Little did Shrek and Fiona know that their marriage had foiled all of her father's plans for her future--and his own. Now the King must enlist the help of a powerful Fairy Godmother, the handsome Prince Charming and that famed ogre killer 'Puss In Boots' to put right his version of "happily ever after." (x)
  • Mike Myers as 
  • Eddie Murphy as 
  • Cameron Diaz as 
  • Julie Andrews as 
  • Antonio Banderas as 
  • John Cleese as 
  • Rupert Everett as 
  • Jennifer Saunders as 
  • Joan Rivers (US)/Kate Thornton (UK) as 
  • Larry King (US)/Jonathan Ross (UK) as

   Identify elements in a media text that indicates the intended audience and purpose (educate, entertain, persuade). Profile the kind of person who would identify with the media text. Are you that person? Why or why not?

Within Shrek 2 there are many elements that correspond to the fact that it is intended for a children's audience, but made so that adults can enjoy and give rave reviews. The primary intention is to entertain. They do so with many jokes and caricatures of popular fairy tale characters within a satirical fairy tale universe. With 'Far Far Away' being paralleled to the infamous Hollywood hills, we can see how this would appeal to adults. Stores such as 'Barney's Old York', 'Farbucks Coffee' and 'Versarchery' gives a basis for adults to relate to the piece and laugh. The makers of the movie know that adults will accompany children to the movie, and so they accommodate this by incorporating elements that the child will not notice. However, the movie's main audience is children. The bright colours and familiar characters (Cinderella, Rapunzel, Puss in Boots, Fairy Godmother, Three Little Pigs) draw children in and capture their attention.

 I was 7 when the movie came out, and I have never stopped enjoying the story, the characters, and the wit in this movie. The film offers a variety of characters. My favourite character is Donkey. I can sometimes identify with Donkey - because he likes to sing all the time, drops wisecracks and witty comments. Underneath that layer, all Donkey wants is to be accepted by Shrek and others. A possible profile is someone who has felt excommunicated in their community and feels as if they will never find love - something that the protagonist Shrek felt. Shrek channeled his status as a hideous beast by marrying the princess instead of her marrying Prince Charming, which would be the stereotypical fairy tale ending. The person identifying might think 'oh! I can defy conventional stereotypes and marry the girl/boy of my dreams! Sweet!'

List the messages -- overt and implied -- in the media text. Connect messages with specific elements in the media text. How are these effective for you?

Implied Messages When someone views Shrek 2 for the first time, they may see it as a cute family film about an ogre marrying his princess. However, there are many messages within Shrek 2 that are implied within. The main message of Shrek 2 is that people (and ogres) can find true love with anyone, regardless of what they look like. People shouldn't judge people based on looks, because they could have a heart of gold. Also, people shouldn't be ashamed of who they are. These elements correspond to the specific parts of the film when these emotions happen to the characters. 

Overt Messages In the movie, Shrek is told by the Fairy Godmother that he is not good enough for Fiona, and that ogres can't have happy endings. He steals a 'Happy Ever After' potion from the Fairy Godmother's cottage and drinks it, along with his trusty best friend Donkey. Overnight, both Shrek and Donkey turn into 'handsomer' versions of themselves: Shrek turns into a handsome human, and Donkey turns into a white stallion. They race to the castle, but by the time they get there it's too late - Prince Charming is pretending to be the human version of Shrek. The Fairy Godmother laughs as Shrek watches in despair. She again reminds him that ogres can't have happy endings, but by the end Fiona has sussed that her Prince Charming isn't all he's cracked up to be. She tells Shrek that she loves him, and they end up happily ever after - as ogres. Shrek and Fiona defy the pressure of the people around them and be who they really are. This is an overt message; changing yourself for anyone will probably not turn out the way you want to - just be yourself.

Explore subtext in media texts. Are their patterns of subtext in the media text you have chosen?

In Shrek 2, there is a very clear message implied within the text. However, there is another layer to this - the subtext. When we enter Far Far Away, the whole town is a parody on Hollywood. There is a scene with Donkey looking in wonder at the palm trees on Rodeo Drive, and there is the infamous 'Beverly Hills' sign saying 'Far Far Away'. When incorporating the fact that it is set in a fairy-tale universe, it is insinuating the blatant Hollywood falseness, the fairy tale like quality it has compared to the rest of the world. 

Identify codes and conventions used in a variety of media forms and explain how they work to convey meaning. How does this relate to you as a market?

Different media forms use different codes and conventions. For example, trailers have a certain layout and structure - they would typically begin with the company used to make the film, for example: Dreamworks, Disney Pixar, Universal, and Warner Bros. They will typically show the most important aspects of plot, and the studio information is shown halfway through the trailer. If it's a comedic trailer, they'll show one of the funniest moments of the movie in the middle and then music will resume. (x) Below is the trailer for the final Shrek movie, Shrek Forever After. 

In an animated movie, the codes and conventions are different. An example of a convention is bright colours in children's animated movies. Notable examples are:

All these movies are by different companies and made in a variety of time periods, but they are all very similar in appearance.  Some other features that animated movies have in common:

  • In an animated movie, very rarely is the protagonist a normal, everyday human being. As seen above, animated family movies have wacky protagonists with endearing qualities. Wreck It Ralph has a video game character who doesn't want to be known as 'the bad guy.' The Incredibles has a man who is secretly a superhero, but has to hide from the world. Madagascar has a lion with a massive ego, and Despicable Me has an evil scientist who has a heart of gold. 
  • Animated films are usually family films and are usually comedies. All of the movies above are comedies. 
  • Also, these animated movies, especially the non-Disney movies, will incorporate jokes made for adults. 
  • They usually have action sequences with the protagonist defeating the bad guy. 
  • They will have a happy ending, with all conflicts being resolved
  • There will be a moral of the story.

As a market, children like to be entertained. They do not want to come away from a movie crying. They like the bright colours and the defeating of the bad guy. When I was a child, I loved how the main characters of movies like Madagascar were animals, it made it that much more exciting and hilarious when they got themselves into sticky situations. Now, watching the movies as someone who is (somewhat) more mature, I can appreciate all the jokes that these movies have put in for adults. The adult demographic does appreciate these tidbits, and it puts the movies on a new level for award ceremonies - no longer are they 'just kids movies' - Shrek won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature!

Apply a variety of codes and conventions to working with a given media text. Explain the codes and conventions in the media texts you have chosen.

All of these codes and conventions of animated movies apply to Shrek 2. 
The protagonist of the movie is an ogre. Not exactly your basic human.

This shows how funny Shrek 2 is. Donkey is arguably the funniest character in the movie. It is certainly not a bleak drama, although it does have moments that tug on your heartstrings.

This will fly right over the kid's heads.

Shrek has a the action sequence inside the Fairy Godmother's factory. Shrek steals the 'Happy Ever After' potion that turns him into a human, Donkey into a white stallion, and Fiona back into a human princess.

Shrek 2 ends with Shrek and Fiona reuniting and a musical number. 

And of course, the moral of the Shrek story is that you can find true love, no matter what you look like.