Sunday, December 9, 2012

Shrek 2 (2004) - Most Excellent Fun

Shrek 2 poster
"Shrek 2" (2004).

Mike Meyers was riding high after the original Shrek. Everything he touched seemed to turn to gold.  Well, this also turned to gold. And silver. And platinum. And anything else that the man wanted, because it was a big hit that set yet another franchise in motion for him.

Shrek 2
"Shrek 2."

The plot here is a fairly typical "Meet the Parents" set-up. Shrek needs to meet his new wife Fiona's parents. They happen to be royalty, but that is not the biggest problem that they face: there is an evil Prince Charming (Rupert Everett) who must be overcome. "Shrek 2" (2004), directed by Andrew Adamson, Kelly Asbury and Conrad Vernon, is fabulous in its lack of pretensions and appeal to basic emotions. It isn't wildly original, but it doesn't have to be. The genial cast keeps things nicely, and the jokes are as funny as they were in the original.

Shrek 2
"Shrek 2."

There is a lot to like about this film. You have the same crowd back as last time, but there is one major newcomer who changes the whole dynamic for the better. It's difficult to realize that he wasn't in the original, because he fit in so well with the others.

Shrek and Fiona Shrek 2
"Shrek 2."

This newcomer is Antonio Banderas as Puss In Boots. He steals scene after scene, and continued on with the subsequent sequels. You couldn't look at his performance without saying to yourself, "Now there is a character that deserves his own film." The film executives heard the whispers, and out came "Puss In Boots" in 2011. Puss, though, is not the only scene-stealer. John Cleese does outstanding work as the King. Jennifer Saunders returns, and Mike Myers as Shrek is what makes the whole thing run. The Pinocchio (Cody Cameron) scene is a highlight, and you soon will find yourself chuckling away as Puss coughs up a hairball or adopts his trademark "aren't I cute?" look.

Puss In Boots with his trademark expression Shrek 2
"Shrek 2."

Eddie Murphy is along for the ride again as the Donkey, and you may find him the highlight of the entire movie. However, his act is overbearing from the beginning, and you might just as easily get tired of it. Murphy, of course, can be hysterical when he hits it just right, but enough is enough. Julie Andrews is superb as the Queen, and the soundtrack is chock full of  disco tunes. Naturally, the animation is first class, even better than the original. The Shrek films went downhill after this, but you don't want to miss the introduction of Puss in Boots.


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