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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 30.77%
Average: 9.62%
Pretty Bad: 2.56%
Total Crap: 3.85%

7 reviews, 114 user ratings

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Shrek 2
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by Scott Weinberg

"A Furiously Funny Fractured Fairy Tale, Volume II"
5 stars

It might seem like a quaint and obvious admission nowadays, but I just loved "Shrek". I found it a perfect marriage between CGI splendor and irreverent Fairy Tale Satire with generous side dishes of flawless voice work, toe-tappin' a few amiable (and well-deserved) swipes at the Disney Machine. Now comes Part 2, and if it's not the resoundingly unique success that the original was...well then it's pretty darn close.

Let's get the gripes out of the way right at the outset:

1. The pointless "Sing-a-Long" finalé. Both Shrek movies are laden with pop songs and musical segues that help to push the story forward. In the original Shrek, the worst of the tunes was that astoundingly overplayed "All Star" ditty. The low point of Shrek 2 comes at the coda, when Donkey and his cohorts kick into a rendition of "Livin' La Vida Loca". I could name a hundred songs that would have been better choices. Easily.

2. For all its effortless good humor and colorfully breezy charm, the screenplay for Shrek 2 seems to be lacking that certain indefinable little *spark* that elevated the first movie beyond merely "good comedy". Perhaps it's due to the fact that screenwriting duo Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio (Pirates of the Caribbean) were not invited back to work on the sequel -- but there was an eye-winking effervescence to Part 1 that's subtly lacking in Shrek 2. But the humor is still there (and in spades), so it's not like you'll be walking out of the theater annoyed or disappointed. (Although you will probably be left humming that awful Loco Vida song!)

That's pretty much it in the complaints department.

Like most good sequels, Shrek 2 picks up immediately after the action in Part 1: Shrek and Fiona are enjoying their honeymoon, deeply in love. Everything's ogre-asmic. When the green and massive newlyweds return to the swamp, they find that Donkey has made himself pretty comfortable -- and also that Fiona's parents (the king and queen of Far Far Away) expect the princess and her new husband to pay the old kingdom a visit. Obviously King Harold and Queen Lillian are in for a whole lot of green, gooey surprises.

Needless to say, our big blustery pal instantly butts heads with his regal new in-laws, which prompts the king to hire an assassin who 'specializes' in ogres. That this assassin is an adorable orange kitty with a sword and a Spanish accent is one of Shrek 2's most brilliant new ideas. It comes as little surprise to learn that the frisky feline soon becomes Shrek's new best buddy -- although, to its extreme credit, Shrek 2 does have a few great surprises up its sleeve. (It's just so refreshing to see a high-profile movie like Shrek 2 keep some of its best plot points under wraps!)

On the 'technical' side, Shrek 2 is, of course, an unqualified success of brilliant proportions. So seamless is the CGI technology (and so experienced are the artists who create the magical stuff) that it makes Shrek 2 feel like the world's most vibrant storybook. I doubt that the Pixar boys are losing any sleep over the Shrek movies -- but I suspect that many of those artists can appreciate the craftsmanship all the same.

The voice actors are, once again, spot-on excellent. It's as if playing Shrek has somehow reined in Mike Myers' more overbearing tendencies (or perhaps that it's just that he can't mug for the camera in a CG movie), but there's a touching and reluctant warmth to his Shrek performances that ground both movies quite nicely. Cameron Diaz as Princess Fiona, although given a bit less to do this time around, does some fine work, while Eddie Murphy handily steals a few scenes as the humorously verbose Donkey.

Joining the trio is a roster of fantastic actors, none better than Antonio Banderas as the sword-slashin' calico kitty Puss in Boots. Call it a casting coup on somebody's part or call it an actor who is clearly having a ball with a goofy little character, but Banderas absolutely steals Shrek 2 whole. If the Puss character were a baseball player, he'd be hitting about .600 in the giggles department. It's a cleverly written role brought to life by an actor who seems eager to share his silly side. Jennifer Saunders (as a scheming Fairy Godmother) brings down the house in a pair of exuberant musical numbers, the immortal John Cleese has some fun with his role as King Harold and, yes, that's the sand-throated Larry King earning a few chuckles as The Ugly Stepsister. (One wishes that Julie Andrews, as Queen Lillian, and Rupert Everett, as the preening Prince Charming, were given a bit more to do...but I guess it's tough to juggle eight main characters given only 80-some minutes of story.)

If you liked or loved the original Shrek, I cannot see any logical reason why you'd dislike Shrek 2. In answer to the oft-repeated query of "Is it better than the first one?", my response would have to be "Nope." But the fact that Shrek 2 is a more-than-worthy follow-up to what many consider to be a modern classic of animated filmmaking...surely that's praise enough to get your butt on out to the theaters.

As if your kids would let you miss it.

Balancing sweetness and satire is a tougher job than it seems, and both "Shrek" movies do it with effortless zeal. There's a cockeyed affection for the fairy tale conventions that are being lampooned, and it's this affection that makes both movies endlessly appealing. "Shrek 2" is smart and silly and exceedingly beautiful to look at; it has a romantic heart and a self-deprecating wink -- and it's without a doubt the perfect type of movie for a Family Night Out. Yes, it's high-end corporate moviemaking of the highest degree, but it also proves that 'ultra-expensive franchise product' can be crafted with real heart and soul. Sometimes.

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originally posted: 05/19/04 13:47:48
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User Comments

8/15/14 Mario is the Best My favourite Shrek movie. 5 stars
10/24/13 Bernie My favorite of the series. 4 stars
3/16/12 Sean It was even better then the first installment and it was the last good Shrek movie. 5 stars
11/23/09 Jeff Wilder Not as novel as Shrek. But almost as funny. 4 stars
8/22/09 Zach Classic. Just as good as the first one. 5 stars
12/01/08 Roz The 1stwas gr8 cos it parodied fairy tales. This one parodied pop-cultire references. OLD! 2 stars
10/02/08 Shaun Wallner Funny Movie! 5 stars
10/21/07 mb Lame is a good word for this ... even cheap 2 stars
9/08/07 JamesCole Keep drinking that Kool-Aid, folks. 1 stars
5/09/07 Dark Enchantress great movie! 5 stars
4/28/07 Ryan Emmett This movie, I thought, was better than the first one by a long shot. But good review. 5 stars
4/23/07 David Risser A Classic. Very entertaining/funny. Good Adventure 5 stars
3/20/07 dude better than the original 5 stars
2/16/07 Vip Ebriega A fairy tale that's worth telling. 5 stars
1/13/07 saad muhammud tired of this fucking movie is so fucking lame 1 stars
8/20/06 Bilal perfect 5 stars
7/13/06 David Cohen Nowhere near as good as the first, but not bad 3 stars
5/22/06 Diane P very good and enjoyable for both adults and children 5 stars
5/14/06 kacy schwieder it was good 3 stars
4/22/06 Jack Number 1 rocks. This one dosen't 3 stars
4/02/06 JRE funniest PG movie ever made 5 stars
3/16/06 casey corcoran it was good 3 stars
3/16/06 casey corcoran it was good 3 stars
1/06/06 JM Synth For the 3rd highest grossing film in US history, not that different from Disney DTV sequels 3 stars
12/28/05 tony not as good as the first one.but still has its classic funny moments 4 stars
10/19/05 Valerie Awesome movie. hilarious. 5 stars
8/15/05 Frenzy still a great movie 5 stars
8/14/05 Renee is Gabby Not as solid as the original, lacks steady interest despite some cool moments 3 stars
6/25/05 Mr Fluffy I'm sure there's a story buried under this top heavy voice talent. Less is more etc. 3 stars
6/03/05 monique i thought it was great-!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
4/25/05 Quigley the pop culture references are awesome (Starbucks) and Puss rocks. I was in tears laughing 5 stars
4/10/05 Ionicera it tries to hard to be hip, but I liked the characters 4 stars
3/31/05 DM Funny and well-cast, but lacks the original's heart and freshness. 4 stars
3/16/05 Amy Lynch Even better than the first, and not only for children, good adult humor 5 stars
2/26/05 Brandy Great movie! Just as funny every time I see it. 5 stars
2/14/05 Jeanine Price Wonderful! 5 stars
1/18/05 wendy we have watched it about 6 times 5 stars
1/11/05 Stacey Peachfuzz Derivative and totally unoriginal. I don't understand the hype at all. 1 stars
12/07/04 Jim Pretty funny. Give Puss his own movie! 4 stars
12/07/04 Samantha diaz that i think that it was a very funny moive that i enjoyed it. It is a good family movie. 5 stars
12/05/04 Kristina Williams the Cops spoof killed me 5 stars
11/24/04 Rich Funny 5 stars
11/22/04 ad really really funny 5 stars
11/20/04 jess smith it was really funny 5 stars
11/06/04 TCIC Another crap sequel if you look beyond the jokes, the first was better but its still good 3 stars
11/03/04 stacey bradshaw wicked 5 stars
11/02/04 marissa matthews shrek 2 is bout being urself and not trying 2 be some1 ur not if ur not comfortable with it 5 stars
10/05/04 Gareth Spencer first was better 3 stars
9/04/04 Valerie Even better than the first! Very entertaining and cute. 4 stars
8/31/04 Tiffany Faye Hawthorne A tad better'n 1st, but I'd be little the worse if I'd regarded both with Shrekless abandon 3 stars
8/22/04 Daveman Disappointingly inferior to the original but some of the humour here is ingenious. 4 stars
8/11/04 howdinski as usual dreamworks team come up trumps this is great 5 stars
8/10/04 kelkly paratene i thought the movie was a must see it was really really funny i couldnt stop laughing 5 stars
8/02/04 Movieguy The first one was way better 3 stars
7/27/04 lespacified Was definitely worth seeing, but I much preferred the first one! 4 stars
7/22/04 Whitney Bullard Suprisingly, almost as good as the original. 4 stars
7/18/04 Nobody the kind of movie where you walk out and want to walk right back in and see it again 5 stars
7/17/04 legend My third favorite film this year! A must see for Puss N' Boots. 5 stars
7/17/04 Chlo-mo-bo Omg - Puss In Boots - the whole cinema went 'awwwww' when he looked up with those big eyes! 5 stars
7/15/04 Koitus I went to see it with my g-friend (her 2nd time). I agree -- A. Banderas STOLE the film! 5 stars
7/10/04 jodie Antonio Banderas really made Puss in Boots THE BEST -It rocked especially for a sequal! 5 stars
7/09/04 Littlepurch Wow what a great film! SO much better than overrated original.Saunders steals show by mile! 5 stars
7/08/04 jenny it was funny i liked it but i think white chicks was better 4 stars
7/08/04 Denise Duspiva The Cat was cute 5 stars
7/08/04 Karo,ina Trzmiel 5 stars
7/05/04 Sérgio Almeida Olá Shrek!!! 5 stars
7/02/04 Rachia LOVED it. Thought it wasn't gonna be good, as most sequels ARENT, but it rocked! 5 stars
6/28/04 KENT Better than the first; the hairball scene is worth the price of admission! 4 stars
6/26/04 Arse Poet Alright if you're six. 2 stars
6/23/04 Ray Outstanding 5 stars
6/20/04 M Over-rated and messy. looks good though. 3 stars
6/17/04 Jewelies Great Movie and Soundtrack! DVD Buy Definitely! 5 stars
6/14/04 Rowan Hill Exelent would see over and over again very original 5 stars
6/12/04 Melina puss n' boots "cat nip" & "sad eyes" was the best! 5 stars
6/12/04 Raymond Lee Great movie 5 stars
6/10/04 Mark D. Fulwiler Laugh out loud funny, a bit demented and good hearted 5 stars
6/08/04 Ron Miller Better then the first! 5 stars
6/06/04 SF Absolutely fabulous. All the characters were perfect. Puss hillarious! 5 stars
6/06/04 John Aster Habig forget puss in boots donkey is still the funniest and shrek the most endearing 5 stars
6/05/04 The More You Know cutesy at times, mostly hilarious satire. 4 stars
6/05/04 TJ Great, this was way better then the first. Really funny 5 stars
6/04/04 katsat I don't get it - this movie was a little boring - I was expecting so much more 3 stars
6/03/04 Elizabeth Great voice work by the cast and charming. Love that Puss in Boots! 4 stars
6/03/04 paganchyk Just try to find all the pop culture references! Antonio Banderas is the best part. 5 stars
6/02/04 :) Very Funny, a lot better than I expected 5 stars
6/01/04 y2mckay More of the same, but cute. Has the best "Cops" parody since Reno 911 4 stars
6/01/04 Charlene Javier The soup joke is a killer! 5 stars
6/01/04 whatevr best sequel ever 5 stars
6/01/04 jada more adult humour, funny!! 5 stars
5/31/04 Emperor's New Clothes? Nope. Just a Fat, Ugly, Naked, Guy. Not as endearing as the first but as endearing as those darling eyes of Puss in Boots <3 4 stars
5/30/04 winfield wilson I went with my two sons (13 and 17). A great bonding experience. Hilarious. 5 stars
5/27/04 Will i didn't like the pop music in the first or the second one, but that's minor. 5 stars
5/26/04 Larissa Ione Not as good as the first, but still great! 5 stars
5/25/04 dillweed Craptacular 1 stars
5/24/04 Mike Excellent! As entertaining and yet different as the first 5 stars
5/24/04 mfa willie aames almost as good as the first, not quite, go for a matinee 4 stars
5/24/04 E-Rock Antonio Banderas steals the show, but it's all good! A must see for anyone... 5 stars
5/24/04 Movie Expert The first one was great this one is very lame and poorly written. 2 stars
5/24/04 Lord Jiggy Very funnny, but overused songs as emotional bridges. Puss in Boots kills. 4 stars
5/24/04 malcolm i loved the pepper spray & "white bronco" reference 4 stars
5/24/04 Messenger Puppet uninspired, derivative tripe 1 stars
5/23/04 Mazz Why aren't you in line for it right now? Huh? 5 stars
5/22/04 BrianWilly It's that awesome. Seriously. Go see it now. 5 stars
5/21/04 ajay lots of laughs and a TON of movie references... 4 stars
5/21/04 Titus This was easily as good as the first. I'm still laughing. 5 stars
5/21/04 Nick Comes up a little short compared to the original, which says alot given the genius of Shrek 4 stars
5/21/04 Kerry V. Where were the laughs we had in the first one? This one was a waste of time! 1 stars
5/20/04 Ajax Not as fresh as the first one, but still huge fun. 4 stars
5/20/04 Wolf 2.5 *'s. Has some good laughs, but you can TOTALLY tell they only did this for the money. 3 stars
5/20/04 Jeff S Puss in Boots made this movie. Funniest animated character ever. 4 stars
5/20/04 Blakers a great film 5 stars
5/20/04 Superdave better than the first 5 stars
5/20/04 Christina Pray for mercy from Puss-In-Boots!!!!! 5 stars
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  19-May-2004 (PG)
  DVD: 05-Nov-2004



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