|Dir:||Andrew Adamson, Kelly Asbury, Conrad Vernon|
|Star:||(voices) Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas, John Cleese|
|Cert / Year:||PG / 2004|
At the end of the first film the ogre Shrek got married to Princess Fiona, who found true loves form as a female ogre. Now Fiona's parents the King and Queen of Far Far Away have invited her home so that they can bless the wedding. When they see their daughters new form and her choice of husband they are in for a shock, so is the Fairy Godmother who had lined up her son Prince Charming to marry the Princess. They all add up to some pretty big obstacles for Shrek and his trusty steed Donkey to overcome to find his happily ever after.
The first Shrek movie was a classic, so much so it gained that highest of awards a five star rating. The sequel was going to have a lot to live up to. Thankfully for the most part it has. The original cast returns with some top quality additions, and once again the gags are plentiful and funny. Yet there is a small problem that stops it obtaining that classic status.
First though lets concentrate on what is right about the film, and most notable amongst the positives is the quality of he humor. You are guaranteed a laugh irrespective of your age. Like the first movie the script works on two levels with enough slapstick and rude words for the kids, and loads of more adult innuendo and in jokes for the adults. The dialogue is sharp and very well written, and the interaction between the characters is perfect. There are so many jokes packed in that it will take at least a couple of viewing to truly appreciate them all. This will definitely rate as one of the funniest films of the year.
Of course there are in jokes and more than one of two digs at Disney, but this time more so than the original this film packs in an awful lot of movie spoofs. Whether it is Pinocchio doing Mission Impossible or Fairy Godmother doing the Fabulous Baker Boys there is loads to keep the film buff happy. Fortunately these are thrown in on top the hundreds of existing jokes rather than as a replacement for them, so no one should be left out if you miss out on them. My personal favorites were the blink and you'll miss it cat buster gag, and John Cleese's King doing the Basil Fawlty shrapnel line.
The cast from the original all perform the roles brilliantly again. Eddie Murphy once again shines as Donkey, but the stoke of genius is the inclusion of Puss in Boots voiced by Antonio Banderas. This new character is very funny and adds depth to Donkey by providing him with a rival. In fact all of the voice talent and all of the new characters are real winners. This winning cast is once again beautifully realized by some stunning computer animation that in terms of complexity and textures exceeds even the standard set by the original. The only thing that is lacking is some of the inventive cinematography used by the original, with this time the camera being used in a rather more conventional manner.
So it's another classic then? Well no there is the small problem mentioned earlier, and that is the story just isn't as good as the rest of the film. Where the original cleverly took a fairytale and stood it on it's head, this film is left to flounder around with a tale of personal relationships. There just is the sense of adventure that the first film had. Yes it is funny but at the end of the day it is rather lacking in purpose and action. Lets hope that the next installment gives the heroes a real quest to complete rather than this rather bland situation comedy story. This problem isn't the killer that it might have been because the jokes and characters make up for it but it just stops the film obtaining the levels that the original and films like Finding Nemo have reached.
Shrek 2 is a worthy successor to the brilliant original. No matter what age you are you will be entertained by the further antics of the world's favorite Ogre and his talking Donkey. It may lack the zip and punch of the original but it is if anything even funnier. It will be one of the films of the year and rightly so, and with two sequels to come this is one fairytale that thankfully hasn't yet reached it's happily ever after.
Just a finally note about the hype associated with this film. The first was already a massive hit so was it really necessary for such an intensive ad campaign? Wouldn't it have been better to concentrate on some of the lesser heard of new films? In fact there have been so many trailers for this movie that the trailers giving away the punch lines have ruined many of the best gags. So be warned avoid the trailers if you can.
Once upon another time...
Donkey: You're supposed to say "You have the right to remain silent!". No one said I have the right to remain silent!
Shrek: Donkey, you HAVE the right to remain silent. What you lack, is the capacity.
Puss-in-Boots: Dare to fear, Puss...In Boots.
Donkey: Look at all our mutant babies.