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Shrek 2

Voiced by Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Saunders, Antonio Banderas, Rupert Everett, Julie Andrews and John Cleese
Screenplay by Andrew Adamson and Joe Stillman and J. David Stern & David N. Weiss; story by Andrew Adamson
Based upon the book by William Steig
Directed by Andrew Adamson, Kelly Asbury and Conrad Vernon
website: www.shrek2.com

IN SHORT: Once it gets started, you don't want it to stop. [Rated PG for Some Crude Humor, a Brief Substance Reference and Some Suggestive Content. 100 minutes]

As we reported a couple of months ago, Dreamworks screened dozen or so very rough minutes of a far from finished Shrek 2 for us which left us sitting in a puddle, wanting much more. There came a point about two thirds of the way through our screening of the final version of Shrek 2 where we thought "uh oh" as if this sequel, like many sequels, was going to fall flat on its face. It was, in retrospect, just a case of a film taking a deep breath following a long setup, before delivering a slam bang finish.

With a magical storybook quickly recapping the events of 2001's blockbuster movie, Shrek 2 gets to the point quickly as the happy starring couple, the ogre Shrek (Mike Myers) and his bride, the lovely princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) return from their honeymoon only to be summoned to the land of Far Far Away, by Fiona's parental units Queen Lillian (Julie Andrews) and King Harold (John Cleese). Joining them for their magic pumpkin ride is Donkey (Eddie Murphy), who's been having some personal marriage problems which have little bearing on this story. The "problems" do ensure that Donkey remains a pain in everybody's, well, you know.

When the pumpkin gets to Cali-Far Far Away-nia, mom and dad are waiting on the steps of the palace's red carpet, eager to greet the new Mr. and Mrs. Prince Charming . . .

Gee, you'd think someone in Far Far Away would have a crystal ball or something! Needless to say, that first family dinner is exceptionally awkward. Also needing to be said is the fact that if we even hinted as to why King and Queen are surprised we'd be spoiling Shrek 2 for all the kids reading over their parents' shoulders. Let us just report that this particular story includes bigger roles for Prince Charming (Rupert Everett) and Fairy Godmother (Jennifer Saunders) and move on to the more entertaining new parts, featuring one Evil Stepsister (Larry King), ex of Cinderella fame. There is also one famous, killer feline who has set his (her? its?) sword sights on our not-so-jolly green sort-of-giant. This Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) pushes the parody of his role in Zorro so far up the wall that it alone is worth the price of a ticket. As the v.2 story moves into new realms, Shrek decides to do whatever he has to do to make his appearance palatable to the beautiful people. This involves a magic potion and consequences that range far beyond expectations.

We can hear the kidlets squirming so we'll report nothing more of the story. We will say that Banderas' Puss steals the show. It is, unfortunately, far too little a solo shot for the kitty, probably driven by the fact that fur is now the most difficult "thing" to animate -- it used to be water -- and not only is the character is covered with it, said fur also has to share its screen space with costuming which tends to smoosh it down. Thus, the technical name for the programming that renders the computer animation, "smooshing." Toonheads like Cranky, who has a pair of Pinocchio cels on the wall next to one from Gertie the Dinosaur, love all that techno-speak. The strange thing about the tech work in Shrek 2, at least to our eye, is that the ogres look more real than the humans!

As much fun are all the background jokes hidden in store names on an animated version of Rodeo Drive (now called Romeo Drive) plus teevee parodies of shows like Cops and the occasional dig at conventions of the animators art, twists in the very story you're watching and re-imaginings of famous movie studio buildings. If you know, you get the joke, If not, you miss nothing. The few original songs are complemented by new renditions of Top 10 and AOR classics that will keep any parental units happy.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Shrek 2, he would have paid . . .

$8.50

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The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.