Review Date: May 15, 2004
Director: Andrew Adamson, Kelly Asbury, Conrad Vernon
Writer: Joe Stillman, J. David Stern, David N. Weiss
Producers: David Lipman, Aron Warner, John H. Williams
Mike Myers as Shrek
Eddie Murphy as Donkey
Cameron Diaz as Princess Fiona
In this follow-up to the original SHREK, we find the titular monster living a married co-existence with his precious princess of a wife, Fiona. They live in Shrek's swamp, but are almost immediately invited to meet the princess' parents, who aren't exactly the most open-minded couple in the world. When Shrek and Fiona arrive at the palace, the King is particularly perturbed by his daughter's marriage to an ogre, and goes through some lengths to make sure that the marriage doesn't work out. Will love conquer all or will the King, his hired assassin and the fairy godmother take care of business "old school"?
There aren't too many films that can follow up the grand success of their original with a sequel that's just as worthy, in terms of the qualities that made its successor a hit, and an ability not to simply re-create the first one all over again, but in the case of SHREK 2, they have done just that with a continued emphasis on story, humor, entertainment, emotional connection and fun, fun characters. This movie started off a little slow for my taste, but once things got going, I was hooked, line and sinker with enough gags to keep the children laughing and enough in-jokes and homages to other movies, to keep adults nodding approvingly. I noted at least a dozen such tips of the hat including marks to such films as THE LORD OF THE RINGS, ALIEN and GHOSTBUSTERS, but plenty of others which I'm sure I missed as well. The film is not likely to stand up in time against the first movie, but for what it is, and for what it's attempting to be-which is an all-out entertaining motion picture that will appease both kids and adults for a period of one hour and thirty five minutes-SHREK 2 does the job just fine and shouldn't be a hassle or disappointment to anyone who thoroughly enjoyed the first go-around. I personally could have done without the few burp and fart jokes that were still present in this film, but I guess that comes with the territory. The new addition that really took this film to another level though was the introduction of its latest star, Puss 'n Boots, voiced brilliantly by Antonio Banderas, and featuring one of the more unforgettable animated character "sad faces" of all-time. Great stuff.
I also liked seeing the old crew back in action, especially Eddie Murphy's Donkey, which is pretty much the only thing Murphy seems to have done right in the past few years, as well as the cute side-kicks a la Pinocchio and the Gingerbread Man, who all make valiant "cameo" appearances nearing the film's conclusion. A creepier, darker side of the film also helped keep things fresh, including a nice rendition of an evil Fairy Godmother, as well as a run-down drinking hole featuring Captain Hook drunkenly playing the piano for such notables as the headless horseman and others (I don't want to give too much away). A surprise voice cameo for the "ugly" stepsister is a hoot as well. The film also sets up a nice adventure for the three leads, including some nice interplay between Donkey and Puss, along with engaging action, specifically a brouhaha in the Potion Factory, a very funny take on "Cops" set in the medieval times, as well as a finale set to the perfect tune and plenty of excitement. The plot also takes a few more twists and turns than the original and I liked the fact that they stuck to their guns in terms of the film's overall message this time around (nice for the kids) and added a few choice tunes, just to keep things moving at an animated pace. And speaking of animation, that also holds up quite well in this follow-up, with plenty of details, colors and 3D graphics to go around. I recommend this movie to anyone who enjoyed the first film and anyone who enjoys fun, fluffy, all-around entertaining animated movies altogether.
(c) 2017 Berge Garabedian