Shrek’s new quest: Endure the in-lawsAnd they lived happily ever after.
Most fairy tales end with the preceding lines. But as we all know, life doesn’t end with a kiss and wedding bells. “Shrek 2” takes a look at what happens after the story ends.
But who really cares? The tidy closure of “Shrek,” a surpising twist on the classic frog-to-prince or, in this case, princess-to-ogre tale, left room to doubt that there would be a “Shrek 2.” But with the talent of the staff at DreamWorks and the guidance of the directors, Andrew Adamson, Kelly Asbury and Conrad Vernon, “Shrek 2” is mischievious and well-animated fun.
More fun than the actual plot are the references to pop culture, from the forging of the ring in “Lord of the Rings” to a queen who looks like Julie Andrews reprising her role from “The Princess Diaries” (voiced by none other than Andrews), a jab at the red carpet during the Oscars (with commentary by Joan Rivers) and a dangerous escapade a la “Mission: Impossible.” The movie also tries to be contemporary in the way that “A Knight’s Tale” was, using tunes like “Livin’ La Vida Loca.”
The story begins with the proper Prince Charming (Rupert Everett) making his way to the tower where Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) is locked up and guarded by a dragon. But when he gallantly arrives, he finds that “is locked up” is now “was locked up,” and that the princess has already been rescued.
Meanwhile, back at the Shrek residence, a swamp, the princess’s parents have graciously invited the newlyweds to the kingdom of Far, Far Away for a wedding feast. After much arguing, Shrek (Mike Myers), Princess Fiona and their sidekick Donkey (Eddie Murphy) decide to take the long journey on an onion carriage.
Little do the parents realize that their daughter is now permanently an ogre, and that their new son-in-law is not Prince Charming, but a green beast. And when the Fairy Godmother (Jennifer Saunders) finds out, she is none too happy at having her plans thwarted; she wanted her son, Prince Charming, to become king.
The plot is a stretch, but the movie doesn’t rest on its storyline. The character who carries this film is Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas parodying his role in “Zorro”). At times a dangerous feline killer for hire, at times so wide-eyed cute that the theater audience lets out an “awww,” Puss is the perfect contrast to Donkey.
Hired by King Harold (John Cleese) to kill Shrek, Puss instead becomes his buddy. This has Donkey admonishing, “I’m sorry, the position of annoying talking animal has already been taken.” Other characters from the first movie have cameo appearances, from Pinocchio to the Three Blind Mice to the Gingerbread Man.
The serious, and inconsistently crafted, theme of “Shrek” ― being accepted for who you are ― is lost in “Shrek 2.” (It was inconsistent because the first movie simultaneously made fun of short people; therefore, to be short is bad, but to be an ogre is good?) In other words, this deconstruction of a fairy tale is to be superficially appreciated. It takes pleasure in being narcissistic and intelligent, and takes the audience on a romping journey while it does. And in case you were worried, there’s a happy ending.
Animation / English
by Joe Yong-hee