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Shrek 2
2004 - PG (for some crude humor, a brief substance reference and some suggestive content) - 93 Mins.
Director: Andrew Adamson, Kelly Asbury, Conrad Vernon
Producer: Jeffrey Katzenberg
Written By: Joe Stillman
Starring: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, John Lithgow, John Cleese, Julie Andrews, Rupert Everett, Jennifer Saunders
Review by: Joseph Kastner
'Shrek 2', the highly anticipated and rigorously promoted sequel to the Academy Award winning animated flick, 'Shrek', must be causing quite a few headaches for Disney CEO, Michael Eisner. When the original fairy tale parody launched into theaters in 2001, devoted Disney followers were outraged for its poke at the company’s fairy-tale feature film characters as well as its theme parks and its CEO/Chairman.

The story picks up where the last film left off with the hideous ogre discovering the goodness within himself and finding true love at last. You would think they would live happily ever after with that whole ordeal of the fire breathing dragon and pompous prince behind them, right? Not so fast! Shrek and Fiona barely cross the threshold when a messenger arrives to announce that the happy couple has been invited to the kingdom of Far, Far Away to attend a celebration hosted by Fiona’s parents, the king and queen. Shrek is reluctant to go believing that once her parents see both of them in their less then flattering forms, they will refuse to give them their blessing but Fiona forces him to go and when they arrive … What do you know?! Shrek was right! In fact, the king is so upset that he hires a sleazy hit-man, Puss In Boots, to eliminate the caring ogre. And he isn’t the only one after Shrek … so is the Fairy Godmother who’s son was suppose to marry Fiona before the green one himself got there first.

Shrek is willing to do anything, even if it means no longer being his old grungy, rude ogre self again, in order to make Fiona happy and live happily ever after. The story for 'Shrek 2' may seem a tad on the predictable side but the filmmakers throw in the right amount of catchy song-and-dance numbers and fairy-tale wisecracks to more then make up for the innovative story line. It runs at just the right pace and never tends to lag more then a few moments that you’ll want more of the film once it ends.

With the three main voice stars from the original film receiving $10 million paychecks to reprise their roles, the film has obviously proven to have a star-studded group of voice-actors. Can the sequel still maintain the edge that it had in the original? One major complaint I had the first film was Mike Myers, who voiced the lovable green ogre, Shrek. It wasn’t Myers’ fault exactly or the character, it was just that the work that Myers did in the film wasn’t all that funny compared to either Eddie Murphy or other parts of the film. But this time round, Myers is given a vastly expanded script in this go-around and delivers numerous comical moments in the film. The biggest laughs once again come from Eddie Murphy as the likeable, if often annoying, Donkey. Murphy’s voice-over performance is one of the highlights of the film and he is able to improve on the character slightly to make him funnier then he was before. Another highlight of the film is Antonio Banderas, who voices Puss In Boots. What could have been a one trick pony, Banderas’ voice-over, as well as the humorous situations the character is placed in (“We found catnip” … “That’s not mine!”), turn Puss In Boots into another delightful and memorable animated character with a quick-witted personality that every child in the audience will enjoy seeing on screen. And Jennifer Saunders is fiendishly villainous as the Fairy Godmother, someone you would think would be on the side of justice and right -- but this is Shrek’s world we're talking about here! The best sequence comes near the end of the film with her singing “Holding Out for a Hero” and the comical events that unfold thereafter with all of it timed perfectly.

Overall, 'Shrek 2' is quite possibly one of the biggest surprises of the summer, if not the year, and is a sight for sore eyes for those disappointed by both 'Van Helsing' and 'Troy' at this point of the summer season. The plot of the film is the most notable problem as it tends to be quite predictable but its humor saves the day. Though this isn’t a huge recommendation for the film, the soundtrack features several catchy songs, some of which are new versions of old favorites.

'Shrek 2' is one of the rare gems of the movie world … a highly touted sequel that actually lives up to the hype and surpasses the high expectations set by its predecessor. This is an enjoyable family feature appropriate for the whole family, an accomplishment rarely achieved outside of Disney/Pixar fare. There are some suggestive jokes but most will probably fly right over the heads of young children. Though it isn’t perfect, 'Shrek 2' is sure to remain one of the most pleasant family films of the year and for that reason alone it's a must-see film of the season.
Movie Guru Rating
An important film.  A substantive artistic achievement.  Resonant. An important film.  A substantive artistic achievement.  Resonant. An important film.  A substantive artistic achievement.  Resonant. An important film.  A substantive artistic achievement.  Resonant. An important film.  A substantive artistic achievement.  Resonant.
  4.5 out of 5 stars

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