Back to all the winks, easter eggs, references or details hidden in the fourth installment of the “Shrek” saga.
A reference to Back to the future, a metamorphosed tavern, a character who completely changes his look or even explosive pumpkins… Like each of the three previous opuses, Shrek 4 is full of small hidden details, references or other easter eggs. A look back at 10 highlights not to be missed in the fourth adventure of the green ogre.
Among the frames that adorn the wall behind Shrek and Fiona’s bed, fans of the saga will certainly have recognized some shots taken from the honeymoon that the two ogres had made at the start of the second opus. We can also note the presence of photos of “friends of the family”: the commando of the princesses for Fiona, and the Donkey for Shrek.
This wanted notice – which Shrek seems to have carefully preserved and which he observes with nostalgia as he thinks back to his life before – is taken from the first part of the animated saga. At the time, in fact, the ogre was still feared and hunted by the whole kingdom.
Change of ownership
The inn in which the three children of Shrek and Fiona celebrate their birthday at the beginning of the film is none other than the Tavern of the Poisoned Apple, which we could see in the second and third installments of the saga.
The sinister establishment, which used to host the villains of fairy tales, seems to have completely changed its look, but also its owner, as we can guess by reading the banner on the right of the screen: “Under new management”.
A doublet of Tracassin
Tracassin, the evil gnome who offers Shrek a contract with him to regain his old life at the start of the film, is a famous character taken from the tales of the Brothers Grimm, and who we had already seen in the third part of the animated saga (left).
Seated at the Poisoned Apple Tavern, he had a completely different appearance at the time. No doubt the directors had not yet decided to offer him such an important role in the fourth film.
Two flute players for the price of one!
Same thing for the formidable flute player hired by Tracassin to make the ogres dance in the middle of the film! Also taken from a tale by the Brothers Grimm (in which he rid a city of its rats by luring them with the sound of his flute), he made a small cameo at the beginning of the first Shrek, where we could see him playing a piece in the middle of the rodents (left).
Thinking he can get back to his single life for the space of a day, Shrek (because of Tracassin’s schemes) finally finds himself in a world where he never existed.
This concept, repeated many times in the history of cinema, is first and foremost borrowed from La Vie est belle. In Frank Capra’s film, the character of James Stewart also visited an alternate universe where his relatives had never met him.
It’s hard not to think of the famous Green Goblin, Spider-Man’s worst enemy played by Willem Dafoe in Sam Raimi’s feature film, when we see the witches of Tracassin chasing Shrek astride their broomsticks and throwing explosive pumpkins at him. Indeed, the Spider-Man antagonist also used pumpkin-shaped grenades as projectiles.
A melting witch
The sequence during which Tracassin throws the contents of a cup on one of his witches and where we can see the latter disintegrating before his eyes, shouting “What a world!” is a nod to the end of The Wizard of Oz, in which the Great Witch of the West, doused in water, ended the same way.
Like Marty McFly
Shrek 4 also pays a little tribute to Back to the Future 2. Indeed, at the end of the film, when Tracassin finds himself surrounded by ogres and throws himself from his balcony to flee on the back of his giant goose, he jumps exactly similarly to Marty McFly, landing on the flying DeLorean while trying to escape Biff.
On the bookshelf
In the last seconds of the film, when Shrek puts the book of his adventures back on the shelf, thus symbolizing the end of the saga, we can see just next to another book entitled Puss in Boots. This is a reference to the spin-off devoted to the famous cat, and announced in theaters the following year.
In addition, by observing the edge of the other books, one can also read the following titles: “The Donkey of Seville”, “Moby Shrek” or even “Fiona of Troy”.