Shrek 2 is an example of perhaps the rarest of sequels; it’s so in tune with what worked the first time around that the film doesn’t feel like a rehashed dosage of “more of the same” but instead feels like an integrated part of what preceded it. A sequel’s meant to be the continuation of the original story and few execute that premise more flawlessly than Shrek 2.
While Shrek was originally produced as a stand-alone send-up of all the conventions of fairytales, it neglected to trash what is perhaps the genre’s most prized staple: “And they lived happily ever after.” Shrek 2 fixes that by turning the concept of “happily ever after” happily on its ear, along with even more even more fairytale darlings along the way.
Newlyweds Shrek and Princess Fiona find themselves invited to a royal celebration in the kingdom of Far Far Away, thrown by Fiona’s parents, King Harold and Queen Lillian. While Lord Farquaad’s kingdom of Duloc in Shrek was a send-up of Disney theme parks, Far Far Away pokes fun at Hollywood, from the Beverly Hills-like streets where all the “big names” in fairy tales live to designer stores and a Farbucks Coffeehouse on every corner. The King and Queen want to welcome their new son-in-law to the family, but apparently the news they received of Fiona’s marriage didn’t include one vital piece of information: WHOM she was married to. Instead of an ogre they were expecting Prince Charming, literally. It seems King Harold had made plans with The Fairy Godmother, a specialist in magic, potions and making princesses’ lives the way they should be, for Fiona to marry The Fairy Godmother’s son, Prince Charming. No other man could marry Fiona for she would be locked in the tallest tower of a darkened, dragon-guarded castle where only Charming’s bravery and heroics could penetrate…or so went the best laid plans of Kings and Fairies. Thanks to Lord Farquaad’s meddling in Shrek, a big, green, smelly wrench was thrown into the gears. Now, while Shrek and Fiona are deeply in love, everyone else is quite upset. “Happily ever after,” my foot.