What made the original Shrek so entertaining was how the animators turned the world of fairy-tales upside down, but without ruining the morals that kept them together. The careful precision and absolute hilarity that was housed in every frame of Shrek made the film an instant classic. It is no wonder it went on to win an Academy Award. It was a marvel.
So how does one follow up such a great animated film like Shrek? Well, by unleashing more mayhem, goofier characters, and a new chapter in the life of the green ogre named Shrek, of course.
The sequel picks up after the honeymoon of Shrek (Mike Myers) and Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz). The happy couple returns to Shrek's swamp where they are met by Shrek's faithful friend, Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and a royal messenger. It turns out that Fiona's royal parents (John Cleese, Julie Andrews) want to meet their daughter's new husband at their castle in Far, Far Away.
The couple, flanked of course by Donkey, set off on a journey to the Kingdom of Far, Far Away. Unbeknownst to the happy trio, the people of Far, Far Away have no idea Fiona married an ogre and never got a kiss from her supposed true love, Prince Charming (Rupert Everett), to break Fiona's ogre curse. Furthermore, Fiona's father had promised the hand of his daughter to Charming and his mother, Fairy Godmother (Jennifer Saunders).
How will Shrek fit in with Fiona's parents? How does the feisty assassin Puss N Boots (Antonio Banderas) fit into the equation? Can true love overcome the treachery in the Kingdom of Far, Far Away?
There are a lot of things to praise about Shrek 2. The animation gets more and more impressive with every new computer-animated film. The colors, textures, atmosphere, and quirky character traits are all utterly phenomenal. Like the first film, Shrek 2 is effortlessly able to blend humor, heart, and feeling into each animated morsel.
There are so many great scenes and great lines that in some ways you can't help but get caught up in the mystical mayhem that is Shrek's world.
For me the standout character has to have been Puss N Boots. He is absolutely priceless and every time I heard Banderas beneath that tabby fur I wanted to laugh with glee. It is amazing how much I saw of my cat in Puss. That is a sign of brilliant animation.
My only small problems with Shrek 2 had to do with the fact that the film went a little too far on trying to be bigger and better than the first film. I really got tired of the giant Gingerbread Man quickly and felt it wasn't needed. There were so many interesting things going on that had evolved from the first film that we really never got to know any of the new characters. The characters we got to know the most, if any, were Fairy Godmother and Fiona's dad. I wanted to know more about Prince Charming and of course my personal favorite Puss N Boots. An extra scene or moment with each could have sufficed in fleshing out who they are. What's the story behind Puss N Boots? Where did he come from? How did he become an assassin? Does Charming ever go against his mother?
I found the first film to be more intimate and a clever escape from the predictable nature of a Disney classic fairy tale. The sequel is a further departure, without the intimacy of the first film. I know this is an animated film and I loved Shrek 2, but I wanted more from the characters since the animation presented feels so real. (4 out of 5) So Says the Soothsayer.