ninth symphony films - movie reviews

SHREK 2 (2004)

DIRECTOR  -  a. Adamson, k. asbury

RATED  -  pg

GENRE  -  animated

LENGTH  -  93 minutes

RELEASED  -  19 may 2004

DISTRIBUTOR  -  dreamworks

OFFICIAL SITE  -  shrek 2

shrek 2 - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from shrek 2 at

buy the dvd from shrek 2 at

after the honeymoon, ogre shrek and his bride, fiona, are invited to the human in-laws to celebrate.

when shrek and fiona arrive in far far away, they pass a movie theater playing lethal arrow 4.


picture from shrek 2

picture from shrek 2

picture from shrek 2

picture from shrek 2


three out of four possible stars

There's a little less crass, a little more heart, and a lot more laughs in Shrek 2, the sequel to the 2001 blockbuster finding it's way through the potential quagmire of sequal-itis with few impediments. While the first Shrek film had the tendency to grate on one's nerves every time a character was involved in some sort of fart joke (which was approximately every five point three seconds), Shrek 2 does a much better job of catering to a wide audience. Without creating a film replete with adult level jokes that would could easily be considered too graphic for the younger set, the screenwriters of Shrek 2 pay much more attention to character to create a swiftly trotting story that possesses very few slow spots.

The headlines beginning news articles concerning Shrek 2 should be required to read: Antonio Banderas steals the show as Puss In Boots, because whatever Banderas's theatrical mis-steps over the past few years (Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, anybody?), he has an absolutely fantastic talent for voice-over. If Puss In Boots is in a scene, you're guaranteed a laugh. Banderas's approach to the character is spontaneous and entertaining and is a continuous surprise throughout the film. And with the various co-starring actors sporting more jokes that hit than miss, the entire cast seems to be a group that works well together more often than not.

The one noticeable thing in this film concerning comedy is that some of the jokes actually don't always work. In fact, there are quite a few swiftly sinking comedic duds in this film that might surprise you. Usually it's a joke that's so obvious you just knew it would be in the film and it doesn't make the film any better that the joke's actually in it. Jokes that are spontaneous and mildly forced litter the film in places. Surely the inclusion of the oft-played Ricky Martin song, Livin' La Vida Loca was a poor choice for the musical accompaniment dance finale of the film, given that the song had long fallen off the musical charts even before the first Shrek film came out.

Like the inclusion of "Macarena" in the first Shrek (admittedly not the fault of the animators as it was a popular song at the time the film began its creation), the musical choices in Shrek are probably the most annoying aspect of the film. The film is fortunate for its hokey jokes, endearing characters, and fantastic animation, because the songs seemed to have been picked by a donkey. At least the animators had the sense to allow Eddie Murphy (who plays Donkey, the second most entertaining character in the film) to sing Livin' La Vida Loca.

Possibly the most impressive aspect of Shrek 2 is the animation itself. Though the cinematography is not always as fluid as it should be (the animators seem to have taken liberty to jerk the camera into strange angles to create some sort of "new" way of presenting animated feature), the textures of many of the objects in the film seem more real than animated. The skin of the characters, for example, is not simply realistic in texture, but it is also quite malleable. When the characters breathe or speak, their skin moves with the reality of an actual person (or ogre, as it may be).

Possibly the only problem regarding the realistic movement and portrayal of bipedal creatures is the when anyone in the movie is required to walk. With the fluidity of the animation comes too much grace from the characters. Despite the five o'clock shadow that Shrek seems to sport and the drops of sweat that various characters squeeze out of their very realistic pores, nobody ever seems to trip or require any effort to walk. The animators at DreamWorks have certainly conquered the difficult task of making their creations appear real, but for Shrek 3 (already in the works), the animators should concentrate on making the animals and characters move more realistically.

Part of the charm of the first film came from the suitable casting choices made and the skillful ability of each of the actors in the voice over arena. With the Eddie Murphy, Mike Myers (as the title ogre, Shrek), and Cameron Diaz (as Princess Fiona) all returning to their roles and the addition of the superb Antonio Banderas, Julie Andrews (as Fiona's mother, The Queen), and Jennifer Saunders (of "Absolutely Fabulous" fame, playing the Fairy Godmother), and John Cleese (playing The King), there is a virtual crowd of talented voices in the film.

Shrek 2 is a worthy and entertaining sequel to an imperfect film and manages to trump its successor on most fronts. With the addition of more advanced animating techniques, new and well-cast characters, and a larger emphasis on the heart of the story (rather than how crass the jokes can be made), this film is an enchanting and usually comedic affair that should entertain audiences both young and old. Though not a perfect film, the feature can still boast many rather incredible feats (the animation truly is stunning) and is a beautiful experience when seen on the big screen. A bright and swiftly paced affair, Shrek 2 is a bubbly experience that should entertain all ages and temperaments.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

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