Here's part of what Mr. Idle said on Toronto's Mix FM: "...there it is in the first 30 seconds -- you go -- wait a minute, John [Cleese] and I are in this film and you steal our joke? Um, I don't know how the others are going to take to this ... I hope they (Dreamworks) cleared it with them -- the first I saw it was in the premiere -- and I was SHOCKED -- my whole family went WHAT! How dare you! So I walked out -- calmed down -- and walked back in -- but I was shocked and I think if you steal peoples jokes, I don't think that's homage, I think that's theft." And then over at Canada.com we get this quote from Idle: "It's been stolen patently by Shrek [the Third] I'm happy to say, so we'll be able to sue their asses." Damn Eric, that's cold. DreamWorks probably just gave you one of your career's easiest paychecks, man!
Now, I'm not about to show any disrespect to Eric Idle, who was 1/6th of the funniest team to ever walk the planet, but dude, c'mon. That's pretty much all the Shrek flicks DO! They tweak, parody, copy and make reference to tons of pop culture material. Heck, take it as a compliment! Plus I don't think it's illegal to parody another movie's jokes. If it were, the guys who made Date Movie and Epic Movie would be serving fifteen consecutive death penalties. It's not like Shrek and Donkey broke into a long rendition of The Lumberjack Song or Every Sperm is Sacred. Sheesh, I know the guy's protective of his material, but I sure didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition.
(Thanks to Pink is the New Blog for this goofy little story.)