Shrek 2

Shrek 2

****

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The sequel has landed.

When Woody and Buzz came back for seconds in 1999, joy was unconfined. Will the return of a green ogre, a fat princess and a talkative donkey have a similar response? Almost certainly.

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Shrekies can relax. The writing is as sharp, the gags as acerbic, the stick equally slappy. The popularity of Eddie Murphy's Donkey has been noted and if the storyline lacks the fabled heroics of the original, there are consolations in John Cleese's devious King and Jennifer Saunders's ambitious Fairy Godmother.

Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) has married ogre Shrek (Mike Myers) and gone to live in the swamp, miles and days away from Mummy and Daddy. When the call comes to attend a ball at the palace to celebrate their union, Shrek is reluctant. He knows that grand public events tend to turn him into a laughing stock, or, in this case, a shocking stock - how could the once beautiful Fiona possibly demean herself with a monster from the green lagoon? A nation mourns, Shrek thinks, at the thought of Fiona and he in bedlock. And he is not surprised. He knows he's hideous.

Meanwhile, back at court, the Fairy Godmother, who runs a lucrative business, dispensing spells, balms and potions, is determined to promote her son, Prince Charming (Rupert Everett), as the obvious and sole contender for Fiona's hand. Shrek will have to be - how you say? - eliminated.

The King finds Shrek worse than an embarrassment and more of a carbuncle. Fiona's squat ogress fashion statement is bad enough, but having a son-in-law who resembles a walking bogey takes disability into the arena of the grotesque. He hires a hitcat, by the name of Puss In Boots (Antonio Banderas), to take the ogre out, but Puss, Shrek, Donkey and Fiona become pals and, suddenly, the sword is in the other claw.

Here is a sequel that does not disappoint. More of a palace intrigue, with magical side effects, than a great adventure, it concentrates on Donkey's stand-up style and the ever-fluctuating status of Fiona's marital consistency.

Myers has succeeded in creating a sympathetic character out of a slow-witted, self-conscious, bad looking, cod Scots giant with the use of vocal inflections alone. It is a considerable achievement and a far tougher assignment than Murphy playing Murphy in donkey drag.

Three cheers for the writers. Without their wit and invention, this could conceivably have become Wreck Too.

Reviewed on: 01 Jul 2004
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Shrek and Princess Fiona travel to the Kingdom of Far, Far Away, where everyone seems determined to break up their relationship.
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Read more Shrek 2 reviews:

David Haviland *****
Jennie Kermode ***1/2

Director: Andrew Adamson, Kelly Asbury, Conrad Vernon

Writer: J. David Stem, Joe Stillman, David N. Weiss, characters by William Steig

Starring: voices of Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas, John Cleese, Jennifer Saunders, Rupert Everett, Julie Andrews, Kate Thornton, Jonathan Ross

Year: 2004

Runtime: 90 minutes

BBFC: U - Universal

Country: US

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Shrek
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