Shrek 2 Review
Hey, what are you doin' out here, the party's inside?!
In cinema terms Shrek 2 is in a league of its own... having “out-grossed” previous box-office record holder Finding Nemo, the most beautiful couple in Ogre Town have pushed the Shrek franchise on to unsurpassed heights of animated movie profit-making. Disney's The Lion King, holder of the highest box-office returns crown for an amazing nine years has been relegated to third place! There can be no doubt, then - Shrek 2 is a BIG movie, and watching the alter egos of Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, Julie Andrews, Antonio Banderas, John Cleese, Rupert Everett and Jennifer Saunders strut their stuff on screen it becomes clear as to why... a great deal of thought, effort, dedication and pure hard work has gone into the making of this monsterish sequel.
At the end of Shrek's first movie outing the loveable jolly green ogre and the always beautiful Princess Fiona are married. So where better to start the sequel than with our newlyweds on honeymoon... they're just sooo happy! But reality has a way of imposing itself, even in computer graphics story land, and our lovebirds must finally head home.
Summoned by the King and Queen (Fiona's parents) of Far Far Away to a Royal Ball that is being arranged for the newlyweds, Shrek, understandably, puts his foot down - they are not going, no way, definitely not. So they pack and, along with Donkey, head off on a long, long journey. The meeting with mom and dad has all the hallmarks of a classic and is superbly orchestrated, as is the evening meal scene where Shrek eats snails with his usual less than delicate finesse.
It's not long before the big guy finds himself the outcast, and then there's this handsome fellow, Prince Charming, who has his mind, if not his heart, set on Fiona... and he has some help from a dastardly clever little fairy. With twists and turns from beginning to end, Shrek 2 is a blast and even more “Shrekky” than the original.
Computer animation is so well handled that I began to wonder if that was really Mike Myers on screen. But no, although I think it may be possible for the talented comedian to pass for Shrek, albeit with a little makeup, I don't think even the skill of Stan Winston could transform Cameron Diaz into Fiona the Ogre, so this is definitely all computer generated! New characters are regularly introduced, from Prince Charming and Puss In Boots to the Fairy Godmother (just watch those wings!) - voiced by Jennifer Saunders, but looking suspiciously like a plump Joanna Lumley. Shrek 2 is pretty much the perfect movie... up to a point. For me that point is precisely 26mins. and 12 secs. into the film - as Fairy Godmother suddenly breaks her diet. This was the beginning of not only an over-indulgence of food, but also of movie-making craft. Although sporadic at first, the story gradually becomes a little too smug and full of itself, losing its way as character development begins to take second place to the quick one-liners and all out on-screen mayhem. It's almost as if the actor's were given free reign to enjoy themselves rather than having to stick fairly rigidly to the screenplay and script. Bigger isn't always better, and the regular inferences towards other movies and shows, like From Here To Eternity, The Lord Of The Rings, The Matrix, Alien, The Mask Of Zorro, Mission Impossible, Hawaii Five O... and many more, start off as fun, but I soon tired of what quickly became a distraction - but they are my only negative criticisms. Despite these minor reservations Shrek 2 is a blast from beginning to end and is not only an admirable successor to the original, but worthy of the crown - highest grossing animated movie... ever.