Is It Too Soon for a ‘Shrek’ Reboot?

Shrek
vox.com

DreamWorks just announced that they’re giving the ol’ reboot treatment to the Shrek franchise. The studio brought on Chris Meledandri—the guy behind Despicable Me—to launch a new series of animated movies featuring the lovable ogre. Are you ready for a Shrek reboot?

Big Green Cash Cow

The original Shrek premiered in 2001—which is almost 20 years ago, if you want to feel old. The franchise, which included three sequels and the spinoff Puss in Boots, made around $3.5 billion dollars. Yes, that’s billion with a B. It’s no surprise that DreamWorks is looking to return to one of their most successful properties.

It hasn’t been that long since we’ve enjoyed fresh ogre-ific adventures. Although Shrek has been enjoying some time off the screen, the Puss in Boots spinoff ran as a Netflix series until earlier this year.

Like a Reboot, But Not

According to Meledandri, the plan is not to recast the iconic voices of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, and Antonio Banderas. Instead, he wantsto deliver something that feels both familiar and fresh at the same time.

“When you look back on those vocal performances they’re awesome, and while you certainly could make a case for a complete reinvention, I find myself responding to my own nostalgic feelings of wanting to go back to those characterizations,” Meledandri explained. “The challenge for us has been to find something that really does feel like it’s not simply yet another film in a series of sequels.”

So is this a Shrek reboot or a sequel? Apparently, it’s both!

Can They Recapture the Magic?

Meledandri has a solid track record of delivering fun, profitable animated movies. In addition to Despicable Me and Minions, he also produced The Secret Life of Pets and Sing. He is also behind the new remake of The Grinch.

“There’s a tremendous amount of fun to be had in that world, but it’s a high bar to find a story that’s truly of the world,” he said. “You want to find something in the narrative that really feels like a departure.”

What does that mean for audiences? With the same voice cast on board, there’s a risk of telling the same old jokes. Mike Myers in particular hasn’t had a major hit in a while, although he’s rumored to be coming back for another Austin Powers film. Cameron Diaz is officially retired. Audiences who grew up on the movies aren’t quite old enough to have kids of their own yet.

The question is whether a fresh production team can make Shrek feel new again. Maybe they’d be better off recasting or telling the story of Shrek and Fiona’s kids instead. We’ll just have to wait and see what DreamWorks delivers.