Shrek 2 continues its original’s wacky take on fairy tales, and I think this one has even one-upped it with the inclusion of Prince Charming, Fairy Godmother, King, Queen, and Puss In Boots. The opportunity for creative laughter is immense here, and Shrek 2 succeeds.
The film picks up where the original Shrek left off. Shrek and Princess Fiona are on their honeymoon, with Fiona still an ogre. The two return to the swamps only to discover that Fiona’s parents, the King and Queen, have invited them to their estate for dinner to celebrate their marriage.
Upon arrival, the King and Queen are predictably shocked to see their daughter as an ogre, and has worse yet married an ogre. During a surprise visit from the Fairy Godmother, the King is furiously reminded that he had agreed that Fiona would marry Prince Charming some years back. The quandary does not stop there.
To rid himself of the problem completely, the King hires Puss In Boots to slay Shrek. The plan backfires, and soon Shrek, Donkey, and Puss In Boots find themselves involved with fairy tales, potions, and a race to get to Fiona before she falls for Prince Charming for good.
If that plot synopsis sounds erratic, then it is spot on. Shrek 2 is all over the place for most of its runtime, but we’re so wrapped up in the characters and the scatter shot humor that we hardly care. The film has sight gags galore, pop culture references, and humor that only adults will be able to appreciate (like Puss In Boots getting busted with some wacky tabacky).
The only real issues with the film I had were in its first thirty minutes or so. It doesn’t take long for it to resort to fart humor and seem desperate for laughs. Fortunately, this does not last long. Shrek 2 makes a 180 and heads in the right direction once the character of Puss In Boots is introduced. Voiced very well by Antonio Banderas, Puss In Boots emerges as the funniest and most likable character in the entire film.
The voices supplied by Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, John Cleese, and many others are all inspired and perfect for the characters on screen. Just the sheer amount of talent involved in this picture is incredible.
Massive props must be given to the DreamWorks animation team who did the work on this. They once again push the barriers of technology to produce an astounding look and feel for Shrek 2. Even the smallest of details are attended to, and my jaw was hanging the entire time at the job these talented artists did. Disney has to be jealous.
When all is said and done, Shrek 2 is the rare sequel that can compete with the original. There is definitely enough space and momentum for a Shrek 3, and it would not surprise me one bit to see the idea go into production. For the time being, Shrek 2 should satisfy your Shrek appetite.
Length: 93 Minutes
Rating: PG for some crude humor, a brief substance reference, and some suggestive content.
Theatrical Release: May 19, 2004
Directed by: Andrew Adamson & Kelly Asbury & Conrad Vernon
Written by: J. David Stem & Joe Stillman & David N. Weiss. Based on the characters created by William Steig.
Cast: Mike Myers (voice), Eddie Murphy (voice), Cameron Diaz (voice), Julie Andrews (voice), Antonio Banderas (voice), John Cleese (voice)