Review: Shrek 2 (2004)

Shrek 2

Shrek 2

Rating



Director

Andrew Adamson, Kelly Asbury, Conrad Vernon

Screenplay

J. David Stem, Joe Stillman, David N. Weiss (Characters: William Steig)

Length

93 min.

Starring

Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Julie Andrews, Antonio Banderas, John Cleese, Rupert Everett, Jennifer Saunders

MPAA Rating

PG (For some crude humor, a brief substance reference and some suggestive content)

Buy/Rent Movie

Soundtrack

Poster

Source Material

Review

Hollywood’s most famous ogres return to the big screen in DreamWorks’ new computer-animated feature Shrek 2.

A sequel to the 2001 fairy tale about an ogre who falls in love with a princess captured the hearts of audiences across the globe and went on to become one of history’s most successful animated features. Back for a second installment, Shrek (voiced by Mike Myers) and Princess Fiona (the voice of Cameron Diaz) have taken a honeymoon after the book closed on their happy fairy tale. The filmmakers get much of the movie’s fairy tale parodies out of the way.

Fiona’s mother (Julie Andrews) and father (John Cleese) have heard of her rescue and subsequent marriage and have invited the couple to come home. Shrek’s tag-along sidekick Donkey (Eddie Murphy) decides to go with them and they set off to the land of Far Far Away, a trip filled with Donkey’s incessant clamoring for the journey to end.

Fiona’s parents are shocked to discover that not only did their daughter marry an ogre but she herself has become one. Much to the King’s chagrin, his arrangement with the Fairy Godmother (Jennifer Saunders) was for her son Prince Charming (Rupert Everett) to become Fiona’s husband, not the boorish Shrek. Together, they concoct a plan to separate the two and interject the Prince as her new love.

Shrek 2 takes a completely different approach to storytelling than the original. The first film overall was just a fairy tale like so many others; however, the sequel is anything but. The film has the requisite happily ever after motif but it feels far different than any other traditional fairy tale.

The movie is certainly good, there’s no question about that. The question is whether it’s better than the original. Quite frankly, it’s not. The first film had an innocence that made the story feel more real and topical. Shrek 2 feels very fantastic and improbable.

That’s not to say that this sequel doesn’t have a lot of great moments. The best new character is that of Puss In Boots (voiced deliciously by Antonio Banderas), a hired assassin who ends up making friends with his target Shrek. The makers take every chance they can to play on the inherently funny nature of cats. The scenes with Puss In Boots are a treasure and worth the price of admission itself.

The first half of Shrek 2 is decidedly dull. Its slow pace threatens the viewer’s potential to enjoy the film but as the speed picks up to an adroit conclusion, the movie gets better as it goes along. The limits of parody don’t stop at fairy tales as many modern trends are mocked regularly. There is no question that Far Far Away is based on Hollywood and Rodeo Drive. If the palm-tree covered streets, Farbucks coffee shops and medieval-themed stores don’t give you that impression, then the letters spelling Far Far Away on the overlooking hillside will.

Audiences will easily enjoy this film. Shrek 2 is a fun, irreverent spoof of fairy tales that seldom fails to provide hysterical dialogue or hilarious sight gags.

Review Written

May 30, 2004

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