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The Physics of Shrek



Over this past Christmas break, I had a chance to watch every single movie I own, since wifi was down at my house (I survived guys). Some of those movies include The Watch, Night at the Museum, Let's Be Cops, Tammy, and multiple "chick flicks." Although that was great, my movie highlight was watching all of the Shrek movies, except for the last one with Rumpelstiltskin as the villain- He was different than when he was shown in the previous movies (he had to be really, otherwise he wouldn't have been an interesting villain), and they were pushing too far to make it a good movie like the others (the third wasn't very good either- they should have stopped after two).

Moving on, as I was watching the movies that represent my entire childhood, I started noticing some certain things that seem peculiar looking. At first I thought it was the animation, which is really cool by the way, but it didn't seem to explain the weird look about it. Finally it hit me- it was the projectiles. In the movie, there are many types of projectiles, whether it be jumping, throwing, or flying through the air.

My next step to figuring out the strange look was to figure out what aspect contributed to the look. To do this, I unfortunately had to remember as much as I could about kinematics. All of a sudden, vi, vf, d, a, t, popped in my head. To get to the bottom of this, I looked at when Fiona kicks Robin Hood's butt (and his merry men). She flies all over the place, kicking, punching their brains out. First of all, her initial velocity seems too fast. Her small frame cannot be able to propel her to tall branches in the trees, which brings me to distance, her distance when she does such tricks is farther than any human can go. When she simply jumps up and down, her velocity seems normal, as well as distance, but she seems to fall back to the ground at a faster time, and she looks strange in the downward direction, which leads me to believe the animators didn't think about gravity. They way she falls to the ground as if a weight was dropped on her shows that her kinematics don't add up.

There were many other instances such as this, but what is more peculiar is that sometimes, the projectiles seem normal. When Shrek was attacking the dragon in his pursuit of Fiona, the dragon flings him into the air with her tail. Shrek flies through the air in a nice projectile, which fits physics standards. Maybe they only focused on the bigger things. It just makes the animation seem a little strange at certain parts.

Also, Shrek bends a tree to be able to cross a river (not possible to bend a tree) and Donkey gets caught in the latter half of the cross and is projected far over the horizon. It follows the laws of physics, but it was just a funny scene.


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