As much as I love film, there are some experiences which are not the same when they aren’t experienced live. I don’t care how clear high definition gets or how realistic 3D becomes, stage performances are best seen in person. No Cirque Du Soleil film has ever compared to a live performance, regardless of how impressive the feats, and Broadway musicals are somehow even more unimpressive. Shrek the Musical is no exception, though it is a musical where it may matter less because of the younger target audience.
Personally, I would much rather watch the cartoon film than this musical. There are seventeen all-new songs, but most of them were forgettable and somewhat sloppily written. I know that I am speaking poorly of a Tony Award-winning musical, but it simply wasn’t the type of play that I would choose to go see. I found it distracting when the actors sounded so different than their film counterparts, and that is the danger of adapting something so familiar.
The actual musical aside, the filming of it is accomplished efficiently enough. There are plenty of camera angles and all of the action is captured with ease. The high definition is helpful in showing the bright colors in the make-up and costumes, though also showing all of the flaws in the production as well. Again, this is because stage shows are not meant to have close-ups in high definition. The one sore spot in the filmed version of the Broadway play based on the animated film is the sound. The audience’s reaction is often distractingly overwhelming in the soundtrack, making it difficult to hear all of the songs and dialogue at certain points.
The Blu-ray combo pack release also includes a DVD and digital copy of the film. The special features include a making-of featurette for the musical, as well as a sing-a-long songbook with seven of the film’s songs.
Entertainment Value: 4/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 5/10
Historical Significance: 2/10
Disc Features: 4/10