Shrekked

Why are readers responding passionately about a simple film review?
Of all the pieces we've published this year, none has provoked as passionate a response as Eric Metaxas's review of Shrek. No sooner was it posted on our Web site than the comments began to come in, continuing now that it is out in the July/August issue. CT's online Film Forum has been a particularly lively site, with responses to Metaxas from a host of readers, including film reviewer Peter Chattaway, who has frequently appeared in the pages of Books & Culture.

Most of the comments have been negative, though that verdict is by no means unanimous. Leaving aside the specifics of agreement or disagreement, what's striking to me is not only the sheer volume of response—evidently an astonishing number of our readers saw Shrek almost as soon as it was released—but also the degree of engagement. Movies, for better or worse, are the lingua franca of our culture, or as close to a common language as we come.

Below are two letters selected from the many we have received. The first is from the Idaho-based founder of the classical Christian school movement, the second from a reader in Georgia.

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I read Eric Metaxas's review of Shrek with interest and appreciation. His argument that we should resist all such forms of what I have called metaphor-morphing was cogent and well-taken. But at the same time, his bio noted (and apparently without embarrassment) that he works for the very worst offenders in the world of metaphor-morphing, which is to say, the makers of VeggieTales. And then, in the same issue, another article undertakes to praise VeggieTales, despite a minor quibble here and there.

Let me see if I have your argument down. We should take great care not to twist or distort our ancient images of ogres, princesses, and the like, so ...

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July/August
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