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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