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Shrek 2 /

Rated: PG

Starring: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas, Jennifer Saunders

Directed by: Andrew Adamson, Conrad Vernon, Kelly Asbury

Produced by: John H. Williams, David Lipman, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Aron Warner
Written by:
Andrew Adamson, J. David Stem, David N. Weiss, Terry Rossio, Ted Elliot, Joe Stilman
Distributor: DreamWorks Pictures


Movie Image

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Movie Image

     “I don’t like Mondays,” vents Puss-in-Boots, the lethal cat, as he gulps shots of milk down his throat. He’s the new character in the Shrek franchise and is voiced by Antonio Banderas, a breath of fresh air that this sequel desperately needs in order to survive. The only problem is that he is just about the only interesting asset to the entire movie, aside from a few new quirks that the first movie’s characters have since developed. However, to much dismay, Shrek (Mike Myers), Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz), and Donkey (Eddie Murphy) are now usually boring to listen to. While Shrek was a minor classic, creatively involving in every aspect, the entire idea has come and gone. This second chapter is of straight-to-video quality, and if it weren’t for the extreme success of its predecessor, I have a big hunch that DVD players would be showing it instead of theatre projectors.

     The concept for Shrek 2 is a minimalist one, the kind of thing that would work pleasantly as an animated short, but seems relentless as a full-length, feature-film. Now newlyweds, Shrek and Fiona return to their home swamp from a romantic honeymoon, to find a clueless Donkey doing a poor job house-sitting for them. But before they can trick him to leaving, the couple is invited to travel to the land of Far Far Away, so Shrek can meet Fiona’s parents. The Ogre is resistant to doing such, seeing that he is not exactly what you would call Prince Charming, and fears how his wife’s parents will react. Regardless of his opinion on the topic, she forces him into accepting the offer, only to have his predictions verified. Her father, voiced by John Cleese, in shock and rage, hires Puss-in-Boots to murder his new son-in-law. This leads to a short chain of events involving Shrek taking a potion to bless him with good looks, in order to win over Fiona once again, and her mistaking The Real Prince Charming (Rupert Everett) for her transformed significant other. Only the ending skits in the movie (and a few which featuring Puss-in-Boots midway through the movie), though, are as ingenious as the original picture was. The rest of it simply serves as forgettable, embarrassing, and overcooked drivel.

     Part of the amazement of watching the first flick was that it exhibited some truly revolutionary animation, in terms of appearance and coloration. The visuals were enough to keep the movie interesting when the humor fell short. They haven’t changed in Shrek 2, but this is exactly the problem. The great-looking, computerized images are simply moviegoers’ expectations these days, and no longer have much of a “wow” factor to them. Finding Nemo has been the only film as of yet to raise the bar in the world of animation since Shrek. This picture’s visage is slightly less gorgeous than that of its Pixar-predecessor. I think the filmmakers realize this, too. So, naturally, we get fart and poop jokes as a means of making up for lack of creativity. Shrek 2 has no merit and certainly no honor; it’s just innocently cashing out on the fame and glory of its franchise’s name. At one time, these characters were responsible for brilliance, but when watching them in this thoroughly annoying creation, such is hard to believe.

     As I mentioned before, though, the jolly-good finishing clips almost make the otherwise boring film worthwhile. I am particularly fond of the last scene, in which Puss and Donkey share a duet of the classic Ricky Martin pop-music hit “Livin’ La Vida Loca”. Quite interestingly, Shrek 2 always seems to vastly improve when it uses its soundtrack to its advantage. The songs featured on it aren’t particularly striking, or even tasteful, but they seem to do a sufficient job in covering up the average material. In fact, I wish directors Kelly Asbury, Andrew Adamson, and Conrad Vernon would’ve used the technique more. It’d take ho-hum music over Donkey’s childish noises any day.

     Most young children will surely enjoy Shrek 2, and their parents will be able to tolerate it, at least. I can’t say the experience was very pleasant for me, though. Most of the time, I couldn’t stand watching characters, who once were used in a rather exciting and insightful manner, go to waste in such a ridiculous sequel.

-Danny, Bucket Reviews (5.21.2004)

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