Shrek 2 (2004) / Adventure-Comedy
MPAA Rated: PG for crude humor
Running Time: 93 min.
Cast (voices): Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas, John Cleese, Julie Andrews, Rupert Everett, Jennifer Saunders
Director: Andrew Adamson, Kelly Asbury, Conrad Vernon
Screenplay: J. David Stern, Joe Stillman, David N. Weiss
A sheer delight from beginning to end, Shrek 2 manages to be eve better than its now classic predecessor in scope and humor value. Whether or not the pop references and modern jokes will stand the ultimate test of time is in question, but for 2004, you probably couldn't ask for a more entertaining sequel. It's a sequel done right, too. Not even close to being just a rehash of the first film, Shrek 2 manages to continue the storyline directly following the first film and take the characters to new storylines and different surroundings. Fast-paced, funny and refreshing, the first thing you'll do when the credits roll is wonder when they are releasing Shrek 3.
In this sequel, Shrek (voiced once again by Myers, View from the Top) finally meets Princess Fiona's (Diaz, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle) human parents, the King (Cleese, Die Another Day) and Queen (Andrews, 10) who have a hard time accepting their daughter's choice of an ogre as a husband, not to mention the fact that she is now an ogre herself. While outwardly putting on a good face, the king conspires to see Fiona fall for the handsome Prince Charming (Everett, Stage Beauty) by joining forces with Charming's mom, the Fairy Godmother (Saunders, "Absolutely Fabulous"). On another front, the crafty bounty hunter, Puss-in-Boots (Banderas, Once Upon a Time in Mexico) is also hired to take care of Shrek.
Shrek 2 is a fast-moving, irreverent and increasingly hilarious romp that should more than please those who enjoyed the first film, although many will debate as to which film is the better of the two. My pick is for this one, with much more variety in the characters and the addition of two very funny takes on old fairy tale classics -- Antonio Banderas' outstanding Puss-in-Boots and Jennifer Saunders' wickedly funny Fairy Godmother.
Of course, there is the usual in-jokes, satire and send-ups, plus the knocks on Disney and Hollywood that should delight those who know their entertainment well. The visual effects are up to the same standards of the first film, and the musical montages and performances are delivered with seeming too obligatory.
Shrek 2 is a must-see film for people of all-ages, and unless you're a total scrooge, it has a magical energy that is infectious enough to make you want it to never end. Luckily, DreamWorks should rake in big bucks for this blockbuster sequel, so at the very least, we'll be sure to see our favorite ogre in at least one more adventure.
-- Followed by Shrek the Third.
©2004 Vince Leo