Rated PG for some crude humor, a brief substance reference and some suggestive content. 1 hour, 32 minutes.
Publication date: May. 19, 2004
Review by Susan Tavernetti
It took a small coach filled with screenwriters Andrew Adamson, Joe Stillman, J. David Stem and David N. Weiss to deliver the smart script that finds newlyweds Shrek (voiced by Mike Myers) and Fiona (Cameron Diaz) summoned to the Kingdom of Far Far Away. Princess Fiona's parents (John Cleese and Julie Andrews) are throwing a royal ball in their honor. But the loving couple finds it's-not-easy-being-green ogres in an image-conscious, Beverly Hills-like realm. Fiona's controlling father becomes a true drama king upon setting eyes on his new son-in-law and exclaiming, "Our daughter has married a monster!"
The energetic narrative races from "Once upon a time" to "Happily ever after" with plot complications courtesy of a conniving Fairy Godmother (Jennifer Saunders). She wants the princess to marry Charming (Rupert Everett), her wannabe prince of a son. Although fast-moving and funny, the story's biggest strength lies in cartoon characters more three-dimensional than the flesh-and-blood ones in current Hollywood releases. Shrek and Fiona's love relationship deepens to such an extent that their quiet moments are truly touching. Feline swashbuckler Puss In Boots (Antonio Banderas) debuts as another "annoying talking animal" -- the perfect third amigo for Shrek and his wisecracking sidekick, Donkey (Eddie Murphy). Dynamic computer animation (directed by Andrew Adamson, Kelly Asbury and Conrad Vernon) partners with the voice talent to lend color and extraordinary emotion to each role.
Sight and sound gags poke fun at countless cultural icons and storybook staples, ranging from Justin Timberlake and Joan Rivers to ugly step-sisters and Sleeping Beauty. But pointed barbs also get tossed at the bad apples who commit acts of police brutality and corporate exploitation. At the heart of this animated masterpiece is a wonderful message about beauty and success being skin deep. "Love me for who I am" makes a strong statement that counters our culture's superficial nip-and-tuck sensibilities.
"Shrek 2" casts a magical spell while turning traditional myths upside down. Fairytales like this can come true . . . for me and for you.