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The Internet Marks the 20th Anniversary of ‘Shrek’

Credit: Unsplash

I can’t remember if I first watched Shrek in a movie theater or on DVD, but it quickly became one of my favorite childhood movies. The unique animation style of DreamWorks and the endless stream of clever jokes, both original and inspired by pop culture, made it a film I didn’t mind watching repeatedly. Anyone who has spent time online in the last two decades knows that this sentiment is widely shared; Shrek, as both a character and a franchise, has become a significant part of meme culture, which explains why its 20th anniversary is being celebrated so fervently.

Today, May 18, marks the 20th anniversary of the original theatrical release of Shrek, and fans of all ages across various social media platforms are joining in the celebration. Some have pondered on the reasons behind Shrek‘s enduring popularity in the public eye, attributing it to the widespread presence of the franchise.

“Shrek has spawned enough sequels so that there was a good 15 years where you didn’t have to go more than two years without a new Shrek offering,” notes BuzzFeed‘s Elamin Abdelmahmoud. “I’m not just talking about the main four Shrek films or the Puss in Boots spinoff — there’s also the eight short films (including 2010’s Donkey’s Christmas Shrektacular) and the Puss in Boots TV series, which lasted three seasons. In other words, if you’re under 20, Shrek has likely been an efficient machine that could find you just about anywhere.”

As a meme phenomenon, Shrek’s influence has transcended the films and ventured into the realm of absurdity. The famous saying “Shrek is love, Shrek is life” continues to resurface in popular culture, alongside the constant ebb and flow of new memes. While a detailed research study could offer more insight, for now, let’s acknowledge a film franchise that, for some mysterious reason, has left an indelible mark on pop culture. On a side note, if they reintroduce the limited edition Shrek snacks, count me in. That green popcorn was fantastic.

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