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Fiona and Shrek, ever since true love’s kiss,
Are living the good life in marital bliss,
But soon they’re invited to Far Far Away
To meet with her parents, in spite of Shrek’s nay.
The journey is long and the company grates,
And when they arrive, the whole welcome deflates.
The king is disgusted by Shrek’s ogre ways,
And Shrek gives an equally ornery gaze.
A Fairy Godmother then visits Fiona
And isn’t much thrilled with her ogre persona.
The Godmother planned all along for her son
Prince Charming to wed her, till Shrek jumped the gun.
She urges the King, who is under her thumb,
To get rid of Shrek, so her own prince can come.
The King hesitantly obeys and recruits
A famed mercenary known as Puss in Boots.
The cat doesn’t win but befriends the main pair
And guides them to Godmother’s potion-filled lair.
One potion that guarantees beauty and joy
Transforms the two ogres to a real girl and boy.
The Godmother sees this as her perfect chance
For Charming to woo the princess at a dance,
But Shrek, with the help of his fairy tale friends,
Attacks the King’s castle before the night ends.
Redeeming himself, the King sticks up for Shrek
And thwarts the corrupt fairy pain-in-the-neck.
Both parents and son-in-law now get along,
And Donkey and Puss sing a toe-tapping song.

Shrek 2 ranks on my list as DreamWorks Animation’s best CGI film, as well as their most successful.  It also holds a special place in my heart thanks to my mom.  I was only 10 when my mom picked me up from school one day, but instead of driving home, I suddenly realized we were entering the parking lot of our local movie theater to see what else but Shrek 2.  The unexpected surprise (and enjoyable film) became one of those indelible childhood memories, even if she herself barely remembers it.

The film itself was a joy to watch, bringing back all the lovable players from the first film and introducing new classic characters.  It builds on the original story and doesn’t repeat itself.  Nearly every joke hits its target, and there are so many details and parodies that repeated viewings are definitely rewarded.  At the very beginning during the Oscar-nominated song “Accidentally in Love,” there are references to From Here to Eternity, Spider-Man, and The Fellowship of the Ring, and countless others follow, including spoofs of Alien, E.T., Beverly Hills Cop, Frankenstein, The Mask of Zorro, Mission: Impossible, Hawaii 5-0, and even the O. J. Simpson chase footage.  The Zorro resonances are especially ingenious since Antonio Banderas plays his feline counterpart Puss in Boots with enough gusto to give Donkey a run for his money as best animal sidekick.  (I’m a sucker for those big dark eyes.)  Yet, in addition to all these parodies, the film retains its own brand of humor:  Donkey’s annoying are-we-there-yets, the clever exchanges that both Shrek & Fiona and King Harold & Queen Lillian share before their rendezvous, the glimpses of the villains’ pub and the red carpet night.  As with the first film, a soundtrack of contemporary songs complements several thrilling action scenes; Jennifer Saunders’s rendition of “Holding Out for a Hero” as Shrek storms the castle is easily the best sequence of the whole film and my favorite version of the song.

Shrek 2 was a high point for DreamWorks that was quickly lowered by the likes of Madagascar and Shrek the Third.  The third Shrek film was an uninspired, unfunny mess focusing on all the wrong things and was only partially redeemed by the decent Shrek Forever After.  Perhaps it would have been better if Shrek and the gang had been left singing “Livin’ La Vida Loca.”  As far as satirical comedies with a romantic heart of gold go, DreamWorks has yet to do better.

Best line: (Fiona, unsure what Shrek’s new form looks like, questioning Puss) “Shrek?”  (Puss, eyeing her) “For you, baby, I could be.”

Artistry: 8
Characters/Actors: 10
Entertainment: 10
Visual Effects: 9
Originality: 9
Watchability: 10
Other (I like other films more): -5
TOTAL: 51 out of 60

Next: #107 – Captain America: The First Avenger

© 2014 S. G. Liput

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