There's good news and there's bad news. And then there's news that's just flat-out weird. This definitely falls into that third category.
Sooooo... "Shrek Forever After." It's out pretty soon. The premiere is actually days away, as the movie will be opening the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival. Mike Myers' CG green ogre is a pretty popular guy too, so folks are looking forward to the movie, which is said to be the final chapter in the series. So in these final days for Shrek, his family and his friends... it's time to get sexy!!!
The above image comes from a photo spread in Vman, a men's magazine. It's part of a spread that DreamWorks and Paramount gave the OK on... before they saw the end result, that is.
As you can see in the picture, one of eight that you can check out on Vman's website, Shrek and his CG pals are inserted into some rather racy situations. Nothing that is patently offensive, but let's be honest with ourselves for a minute: this is a kid's movie. A range of modern pop stars have helped make this sort of imagery acceptable for mass consumption... but to promote a kid's movie? I don't think so.
Paramount and DreamWorks agree. A statement from a Paramount spokesperson reads as follows: "While we do respect Vman's creative vision, the shoot did not turn out the way originally envisioned when the idea was first presented by the magazine. In hindsight, we would have declined to include the 'Shrek' characters in such a magazine spread."
I'm usually the first person to say that a studio is overreacting about one thing or another. Names won't be named, but I've seen a fair amount of preemptive damage control in my time as an entertainment journalist. Requests that I would almost always define as overreactive and pointless.
In this case, the studios are absolutely in the right to be... put off. While I have to wonder what would compel the powers-that-be to approve a photo spread in a men's magazine, these photos run counter to the carefree, kid-friendly spirit of the "Shrek" movies.
The Hollywood Reporter speculates that Paramount might have recalled a time when "The Simpsons" were featured in a Harper's Bazaar photo spread before the show's long-awaited movie was released three years ago. And that may be true. There's a big difference here though: where "The Simpsons Movie" is based on a primetime TV series, "Shrek" was born in theaters as a family-friendly affair. A men's magazine isn't exactly the right place to promote it.
Parents-- what do you think? Are you okay with your kids seeing these beloved characters represented as they are in the Vman spread? Is it inappropriate?