"We're sexy!!" (Donkey)
First and foremost : “Shrek 2” is good. Very good. It’s a credit to the combined talents at PDI/Dreamworks to choose wisely for a quality sequel instead of a rushed cash-in.
There are some niggles, though. Purists might claim : ‘why did Shrek need a follow-up. The story was finished, right?’. Well, yes. “Shrek” was based on a fairytale-book, although not a classic to stand the test of time next to the likes of “Snow White” or “Cinderella”. In the book, the story ended with Shrek and Fiona riding into the sunset in their onion-carriage. “Shrek 2” opens where “Shrek” wrapped matters up : the couple on their honeymoon.
Upon arriving in the swamp again, Shrek and Fiona (plus Donkey) are invited to the kingdom of Far, Far Away, whereas Fiona’s parents are planning a banquet in honour of the newlyweds. The confrontation with Shrek and his parents in law, who weren’t expecting an ogre to provide them with grandchildren, awaits ...
The three years between part one and two have been very useful : the computer-generated characters are more vibrant than ever, colourful and bursting with energy. The inclusion of the new players (Prince Charming, his mother, the king and queen etc) is decent, but the risk of ‘too much going on at the same time’ lurks. Still, technically excellent all-around. “Shrek” had the “pour-the-milk-in-the-bottle”-scene, just to show off PDI’s cracking talents. “Shrek 2” offers a similar scene at the very beginning, when Prince Charming takes off his helmet and struts around in slow-motion, shaking his head to dry his hair from the sweat the helmet gave him. Absolutely stunning (digital) material.
The real treat of “Shrek 2” however, is “Puss In Boots”, a Zorro-esque knight. He’s utterly adorable and cute. Great lines, like “Isn’t we supposed to have a fiesta?!” and when Fiona calls for Shrek and Puss looks up, saying “For you, I can be, lady”. The dialogue between Shrek, Donkey and Puss is usually very funny. Donkey’s jealousy tends to be repetitive, but who can resist Donkey?
Three years of work on the images, all fantastically executed, but the movie is nothing without the voice talents. Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and Antonio Banderas, among other greats as John Cleese and Julie Andrews, did a terrific job.
Whichever way you look at it, “Shrek 2” is a movie that demands to be seen. Those expecting a cheap imitation of the real thing, should seriously consider giving this a look. Regret it, you won’t.
Julian De Backer, 11 november 2004