I mentioned a couple weeks ago that my son wanted to watch Shrek because of all the previews, commercials, and toys he has seen in connection with Shrek the Third marketing activities. Well, he actually liked the first movie, so I was expecting him to request the sequel the last time we went to the video store. He did, and here’s my review of Shrek 2.
Plot summary (with possible spoilers): The film opens with Shrek (voiced by Mike Myers) and his new bride Fiona (Cameron Diaz) returning from their honeymoon. They are as happy as can be, but this state of newlywed bliss doesn’t last very long. That’s because Fiona announces that they have to go visit her parents, the King (John Cleese) and Queen (Julie Andrews) of Far Far Away. The King and Queen have heard that Fiona is married, and they want to regale her with a royal ball in celebration.
So Shrek, Fiona, and trusty sidekick Donkey (Eddie Murphy) set off on the very long journey (with Donkey asking, “Are we there yet?” every five seconds) to Far Far Away. Once they arrive, they find that the entire population of the kingdom is waiting to greet Fiona and her new husband. Of course, everyone is expecting Fiona to be in her beautiful human form since a prince supposedly broke her curse, so they’re shocked to see two big green ogres emerge from the carriage.
The King takes this development particularly hard, as he really wanted Fiona to marry someone “worthy” of her so she could live happily ever after. The King doesn’t believe that an ogre like Shrek can provide that kind of life. The four of them sit down to an awkward dinner, and by the end of the meal, Shrek and the King openly hate each other.
Fiona is upset with both Shrek and her father for the way they’re acting. Noticing this, her Fairy Godmother (Jennifer Saunders) comes down from the skies to pay Fiona a visit. The Fairy Godmother says she can give her anything she wants to make her happy, but just then Shrek walks into the room shooing the Fairy Godmother out by saying they’re already happy. The Fairy Godmother didn’t like being treated that way, so she conspires with the King to get rid of Shrek and pave the way for Prince Charming to marry Fiona instead.
But before the King can go too far with his plan, Shrek realizes that Fiona isn’t happy, so he decides to take matters into his own hands to change things. He, Donkey, and their new friend, would-be assassin Puss-in-Boots (Antonio Banderas) travel through the woods to a potion factory where Shrek plans to find some kind of tonic to help him in his relationship with Fiona. He gets hold of a mixture called Happily Ever After, drinks it, and turns into a good-looking human being.
The rest of the movie then deals with Shrek’s attempts to get to back to Fiona before Prince Charming can move in and take his place forever. In addition, Shrek and Fiona have to decide whether whether they want to stay in human form for the rest of their days or revert back to being ogres.
My Reaction: As an adult watching the Shrek films with my child, the thing that I appreciated most about them was their very short running times. The original clocked in at 90 minutes, and the sequel came in at just 93 minutes. This is a perfect length for a family film, and since I know the third installment sports a similar running time, I won’t hesitate to rent it for my son once it becomes available.
I found that the returning characters were still fun in this sequel and some of the new characters were worthwhile additions. For example, my son just loved Puss-in-Boots, and shrieked with laughter every time that character came on the screen. Shrek and his Irish? Scottish? brogue weren’t as annoying this time around, and even Donkey was still fresh and funny with his incessant chatter and spot-on one-liners.
Overall, I thought Shrek 2 was a successful sequel in that it didn’t overstay its welcome or lose the magic and fun that made the original so enjoyable. I give it 4 stars out of 5 and definitely recommend it for Family Movie Night!