Review: Shrek 2
Next to finding a writer who never suffers writer's block is a movie sequel equal or better than the original. Shrek 2 is one of those sequels.
I had heard much about (thank, G. and C.!) the movie and watched plenty of trailers but nothing prepared me for the real thing. I, R., and the audience immediately bursted out in laughter at the opening scene with (the new character) Prince Charming riding out to save the (formerly single) Princess Fiona. From that hilarious scene the movie segues to Shrek and Fiona's honeymoon. The plot goes into high gear when the newlyweds arrive home and find Donkey (voiced by Eddie Murray) crashed (both literally and figuratively) at Shrek's swamp home.
I had enjoyed the first Shrek movie and had watched it on DVD weeks before seeing the sequel. Thus, it was nice to see the reintroduction of the main characters. But with Shrek 2, Dreamworks moved beyond the all-to-common rehash of the first movie. Wonderful new character are introduced: the already-mentioned Charming and the scene-stealing Puss-n-Boots (voiced by Antonio Banderas.) And the story does not waste time summarizing the first movie but assumes you'd already seen it and moves on.
Speaking of the plot: I felt Shrek 2 was tighter and more logical than the first movie. Though at times cliched' (e.g., fight between Shrek and Fiona's father), one could easily the reactions logically playing out. Donkey was less annoying and even became more sympathetic with the introduction of Puss-n-Boots. The line, "...another annoying sidekick animal." was classic. And I was actually surprised by many of the scenes. The results after the raid of the Fairy Godmother's cottage (i.e., sweatshop) was unexpected. Same with "Mungo".
Culture references dominate Shrek 2 even more than the first movie. This is not your parents' cartoons. From Charming's waving of his hair (women, especially, will get a kick out of that one); Fiona's wedding ring (ala LoTR); "Mungo" ('nuff said); to Pinocchio's ...er...underpants (I'd love to see a wardrobe malfunction on that one!) While Disney still takes the brunt of references (e.g., Shrek and a certain red-haired mermaid during the honeymoon), jabs at other movies also also abound. And wait until you see the kingdom of Far, Far, Away!
The biggest change I noted in the movie was music. I remember from interviews on the first movie that the Dreamworks staff did not want to make Shrek a musical. They apparently decided to do otherwise with Shrek 2. And it worked: the lyrics to the Fairy Godmother's song to Fiona were especially hilarious (though you had to listen closely.) The rest supported the movie's action (which were many.)
The animation was top rate, of course. The only major errors I saw were detail errors: I noted several times Fiona did not have her wedding ring in one scene, then have it on in the next one.
Overall, we enjoyed the movie and can't wait for additional goodies that will come with the DVD. Shrek 3 is in the works with Shrek 4 a possibility as well. I give the movie 4 1/2 stars out of 5.
Monday, June 21, 2004
Review: Shrek 2