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Shrek 2

In 2001, the talented CGI artists at PDI partnered with Dreamworks to give the folks at Pixar and Disney a run for their money with Shrek. Based on the classic children’s book by William Steig, the irreverent take on classic fairy tale conventions became one of the most successful and popular animated films of all time. A sequel was inevitable.

Shrek 2 goes back to the well for more, with jokes ranging from standard bathroom humor to a spot-on anachronistic parody of Hollywood culture.

Mike Myers is back in the title role as the crusty but warm-hearted ogre at the film’s core, though he’s noticeably toned down his signature Scottish brogue this time around. Eddie Murphy and Cameron Diaz also return as perpetually annoying sidekick Donkey and love interest Fiona, respectively. New additions include John Cleese and Julie Andrews as Fiona’s parents, Rupert Everett as Prince Charming, and Absolutely Fabulous‘s Jennifer Saunders as the Fairy Godmother.

The real star of the show, however, is Puss… in Boots. Voiced by Antonio Banderas, the deadly feline assassin gives the franchise a sharp kick in the pants. Banderas almost single-handedly saves the sequel from being little more than a rehash of the first movie.

The paper-thin plot follows a post-honeymoon Shrek and Fiona as they journey to the Southern California-inspired kingdom of Far Far Away to meet the parents. Needless to say, the King and Queen are more than a little surprised at their Princess’s new husband and new appearance. Fiona was supposed to have wed Prince Charming and broken the curse that turns her into an ogre at night. Instead, by marrying Shrek, she has resigned herself forever to that state. As expected, a plot is hatched to break up the happy couple, Shrek and Fiona both do a bit of soul searching, and so on to a not entirely unexpected conclusion.

Along the way, the film delivers plenty of laughs. While some gags fall flat or just seem plain tired, a surprising many are right on the mark, particularly a parody of Cops (Knights) that’s one of the funniest scenes ever filmed (or rendered). A handful of the fairy tale characters from the first film also make a welcome return appearance; the Gingerbread Man, Pinocchio, and the Three Blind Mice provide plenty of laughs in an escape sequence straight out of Mission: Impossible.

Adding to the light, peppy feel of the film is a stellar soundtrack that mixes new tracks like “Accidentally in Love” by Counting Crows with a flurry of classic rock remakes including “Holding Out For A Hero,” “Changes,” and “Funkytown.” Jennifer Saunders’ “Fairy Godmother Song” and Murphy and Banderas’ inimitable version of “Livin’ La Vida Loca” are both highlights.

Though I wasn’t a huge fan of the first Shrek, I couldn’t help but like the sequel. While the requisite moments of sentimentality touch on the saccharine, the movie is clever and funny enough that it hits far more often than it misses. Shrek 2 is a fun, entertaining film that even an ogre would enjoy.

About Nick Danger

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    Is the movie appropriate for young children? My kids [3 and 5] love Shrek, but even that one has some scenes I’d rather they didn’t see.

    My take on comedy sequels is that they’re raunchier or have more potty humor than the original. What about this one?

  • Shark

    Just a note: Shrek 3 and Shrek 4 already have the greenlight.

    “Reuters reported that Jeffrey Katzenberg, co-founder of DreamWorks, announced at the Cannes Film Festival that work had already begun on Shrek 3 and Shrek 4.

    “Before the first one was finished we talked about what the whole story of Shrek is, and each of the chapters answers questions about the first movie and gives us an insight.

    “Shrek 3 and 4 are going to reveal other unanswered questions and, finally, in the last chapter, we will understand how Shrek came to be in that swamp, when we meet him in the first movie. There is a reason he came to be there, but there is another chapter to the story before that.”

    If you have small kids, it’s time to get a home mortgage loan to finance the tie-ins.

    Tie-ins along could boost the U.S. economy!

  • http://scottpepper.blogspot.com Scott Pepper

    BHW-

    Of the top of my head, I’d say it is actually less raunchy than the first one. While the bodily function humor is still there, it has been toned down significantly, and any quote-unquote sexual content (as per the “PG” rating) is so minor that kids younger than 13 or so won’t even realize it’s there. Had this been a Disney film, it probably would have been slapped with a “G”.

  • http://scottpepper.blogspot.com Scott Pepper

    of = off