This computer-animated twist on the Beauty-and-Beast theme -- the chivalric quest of a lonely, touchy, Scots-accented ogre and his volunteer sidekick, a wisecracking ass sans Sancho Panza, to rescue a martial-arts princess from a fire-breathing dragon and a Machiavellian bridegroom -- is relentlessly clever, relentlessly ironic, relentlessly hip, or just plain relentless. But when did abrasive and anachronistic smart-aleckry become the accepted and dominant mode in film fantasy? Fantasy, like religion, requires at least a pretense of faith. DreamWorks might like to think they are tweaking the tradition of Disney's animated fairy tales (Snow White and Pinocchio, among others, put in cameo appearances), but in truth they're in lock step with Disney's Aladdin, Hercules, Beauty and the Beast, simply a few paces behind. With the voices of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, and John Lithgow; co-directed by Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson. (2001) — Duncan Shepherd
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