It’s amazing to see animation go from its storyboarding and early test footage to the final product, and you can often sort of see what the final product is going to look like when checking out this behind-the-curtain animation process.
Shrek Test Footage
However, the recently unveiled test footage for the first Shrek movie was recently revealed, and it’s definitely much more horrifying than the final project.
Described as a “dark, edgy low-budget film” by the YouTube account Zoom Art that posted it, this is certainly not the version of the loveable ogre that audiences know and love.
The brief Shrek test footage is set to James Brown’s “I Feel Good,” so the pop culture references were certainly always part of the film’s DNA. The footage also shows the titular character dancing in the street after launching Pinocchio up into the air.
Closer To Style Of Book
This test footage was also made back when Chris Farley was attached to voice the ogre before Mike Myers took over after Farley’s passing.
Interestingly, the test footage for Shrek is certainly closer to the art style of the 1990s book by William Stieg that the franchise is loosely based on. It certainly makes Shrek more of a grotesque character, which fits his character.
However, the Dreamworks final product is undoubtedly more iconic and family-friendly, so it makes sense that they didn’t go with this version of the character.
Shrek A Smash Hit
The original Shrek turned out to be a smash hit for Dreamworks. The film blended pop culture while subverting fairy tale tropes, making it an accessible film that kids and adults alike both found hilarious. Of course, this success led to the film turning into an entire franchise, and there have been multiple follow-up films, TV specials, and spin-offs since then.
Original Look Would Have Been Rough
It seems likely that the darker tone and the rougher character design in the test footage may not have resonated as much and led to the Shrek franchise’s massive success.
Dreamworks also firmly established itself as a massive player in animation with this film and has had plenty of major franchise successes since then.
It’s certainly cool and funny to see the test footage, but everything seems to have turned out for the best.
While it’s been a while since we’ve seen a mainline entry to the Shrek franchise, Dreamworks did release the spin-off Puss in Boots: The Last Wish last year to surprising success.
The new animation style and the heartfelt story made the film a commercial and critical success. The film also teased future entries of the main Shrek franchise.
Meanwhile, Illumination CEO Chris Meledandri confirmed a fifth Shrek movie with the original cast was in the works, so hopefully, we learn more about that soon.
Rumors say that the film could be out in 2025, but we’ll just have to wait and see if that turns out to be true.
Presumably, cast members such as Mike Myers as Shrek, Eddie Murphy as Donkey, Cameron Diaz as Donkey, and Antonio Banderas as Puss in Boots would all be along for the ride.