Shrek 2 review by Tom Blain

Fun, laugh out loud sequel

At the heart of the first Shrek was the richness of the characters. They are not just visual masterpieces born of CGI, but they had attitude. Donkey is the jackass that everyone loves. He steals the show in both one and two. Shrek is the literal anti-hero that turns all fairy tales upside down. He is a big, stinky ogre type of guy the hero is supposed to kill. But instead he gets the girl. And to keep twisting traditional tales, the dreamy Princess Fiona is transformed from a beauty into a really big frog (so to speak). Despite their physical shortcomings, they both come together. What makes Shrek 2 work so well is that they didnt stray from the formula of the first one a single bit. Even better they added enough goodies to make Shrek 2 authentic and every bit as good as the first.

The story picks up at Shrek and Fionas honeymoon. The two romp happily together in holy matrimony until a message comes from Fionas father the King (voice of John Cleese) inviting them to the castle. The King is under the impression that the formerly lovely Fiona was rescued from the highest of towers by the most dashing Prince Charming (voice of Rupert Everett). Little does he know that his princess is now a full time ogre and married to an ogre (our good boy Shrek). The two lovebirds plus the always funny Donkey travel to Far, Far Away (which resembles our fair Hollywood) to visit the in-laws a la Meet the Parents .

As I stated above, the characters were what made the first Shrek. In Shrek 2, we are introduced to new batch of Grimm goodies. Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) is a sweet little tabby cat who has been hired by the father in-law to put a hit down. Adorable yet deadly, with a great Zorro impersonation (I mean who better to mock Zorro then the last guy who did Zorro?). Then there is the Fairy Godmother (Ab Fabs hilarious Jennifer Saunders) who acts more like a Godfather. Like every other Fairy Godmother, she will grant a wish when times are tough, but like a Corleone, she will ask for a favor in return.

What is just as incredible as the zany characters, is the detail put into shot. Every scene seems to include hundreds hidden tidbits, whether its a mock version of a Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue being read in secret by a Big-Bad Wolf in Grandma drag or a a lampoon of a medevil Gap slightly out-of-focus in the distance. The creators left no stone unturned, no detail untouched, and every opportunity for a joke was taken, whether it was a big joke or a small joke.

A movie like this is never made in Hollywood. Only at Dreamworks could something like Shrek (1 or 2) have been made. Think of it for a second. Hollywood is filled with beautiful people and top-notch doctors making them look even better. Hollywood has no clue when it comes to the unattractive. Exhibit A: look at the ugly duckling Rachel Leigh Cook in Shes All That. Movies about ugly people in Hollywood miss the mark everytime because they are made with 2nd tier hotties which by default are hotter then most people you and I know. But what is Dreamworks made of? Computer Programmers. The guys who are in the trenches of chat rooms at 3am. The guys you made fun of in school. The pocket protector contingency. The guys who had strong feelings about things like Mac, Windows, and Unix. Maybe some are a tad more outgoing but regardless they are a bit more grounded and closer to the real world then the residents of La-La Land. So its no surprise that Dreamworks would make a movie about two people getting together who werent beautiful in any exterior way. (Imagine that... I thought only beautiful people could fall in love.) Its ironic that a fairy tale movie is more realistic when it comes to love then every movie churned out by Hollywood in the last 30 years.

When you have something as funny and fun-loving as the Shrek machine, you cant help but want more. Everyone with a heart and a funny bone seems to love this movie (at least everyone I talk to please post if you believe otherwise). So its no surprise that DreamWorks went back to the graphics drivers (what do you say when they dont really draw?) to create a sequel to the monster success Shrek. And as expected, everything worked out in the end. The hero and his princess live happily ever afteruntil the next eagerly awaited sequel.




8 out of 10 Jackasses
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