2004-06-11 / Columnists

MovieScope By Robert Snyder

MovieScope By Robert Snyder


‘Shrek 2’ – Ogre Not Over

"Shrek 2" is making big bucks at the box office, breaking the all-time Memorial Day weekend record with $92.2 million and earning $104 million on its opening the three days. To say that the novelty of the first film is played out is economically irrelevant.
As Donkey (Eddie Murphy) says ad infinitum on the way to the Kingdom of Far Far Away, "Are we there yet?" Obviously not. The world’s most lovable ogre is still going strong. Other than a classic contribution from assassin cat Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas), the sequel does not have much innovation to offer.

However, the gags are great and will keep the kids laughing.

Ogre Shrek (Mike Myers) and Ogress Fiona (Cameron Diaz) are in the process of being happily ever after in their swamp hut, when their presence is commanded by her parents, King Harold (John Cleese) and Queen Lillian (Julie Andrews), in Far Far Away, a Brothers Grimm version of Hollywood. Because Fiona is no ogre in reality, her parents are shocked to see that she opted for an actual ogre in marriage, rather than pretty Prince Charming (Rupert Everett). The son of greedy Fairy Godmother (Jennifer Saunders), Charming was supposed to kiss Fiona, cast the ogre spell away and acquire the kingdom. But, now, the princess has found true love, so she’s stuck on Shrek.

The king concocts a plan to hire the hit-man cat and do in his monstrous son-in-law. However, Puss becomes a pal of his victim, although Donkey objects that, "There’s room for only one in the annoying talking animal sidekick."

Directed and co-written by Andrew Adamson, the sequel stretches the ugly-is-beautiful theme by having Shrek, Donkey and Fiona become gorgeous, thanks to a magic potion. Complications arise when Charming poses as the new-improved Shrek and angles for the all-important kiss from the Fiona. All is saved when Shrek commandeers a giant gingerbread man who storms the castle like the huge Pillsbury Doughboy of "Ghostbusters." Nothing innovative here, but kids won’t care (mine loved it).

"Shrek 2" is laced with ancient pop songs, none of which have the appeal of the "I’m a Believer" climax of the first film. In fact, Fairy Godmother does a "I Need a Hero" show stopper that’s brassy and embarrassing.

Still, it’s salvaged by Murphy-Banderas’ wild rendition of "Livin’ La Vida Loca." While "Shrek 2" is fun for the little ones, much of the charisma of its predecessor may be found lacking for the older folks. As if that matters …money-wise.


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