My Opinion right after watching movie
My opinion after watching this movie is that it is around or on par with Shrek. Though there are a lot of things that are familiar, it does not feel like a complete rehash. It does its job as a sequel well with developing characters to give a new side to them, introduce new ones that will fit right in, and continue the story and the world it takes place in. Some elements like the plot are weaker than the first film while others like the animation is a lot better. It is an enjoyable film and the pop-culture jokes aren’t as distracting and annoying compared to the first film.
Development for Shrek 2 started before 2001’s Shrek was even released, and the cast were given huge pay checks in July of 2001 to voice in a sequel. The screenwriters of Shrek Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio wanted this film to be a sequel, but they were taken off the project after major arguments with the producers, since they wanted to go a different direction with the movie. Their replacement Andrew Adamson called the film a mixture of Shrek and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. The Fairy Godmother was going to be a part of the first film with a minor part, but she was somehow taken out and used in this one instead. Jennifer Saunders who is the Fairy Godmother and John Cleese who is King Harold recorded most of their lines together, which is unusual for an animated film. Her and Rupert Everet (Prince Charming) auditioned for Gaston and Ursula in the Disney Renaissance. They had to create a bunch of new substances for the character Puss in Boots since they have to animate a bunch of hair, and so they could update the characters since the company had improved in CGI since Shrek.
So the story starts with a book opening. It is explaining Fiona (Cameron Diaz)’s birth, her curse, how she ended up in the tower, and how her parents arranged the help of the Fairy Godmother to have her saved by Prince Charming so her curse will be broken, but when Charming (Rupert Everett) shows up at the tower, he comes across this.
So the gender confused fox tells him Fiona is on her honeymoon, and then the song “Accidentally In Love” starts to play. It’s a decent song, and it is showing them enjoying their honeymoon, while throwing a few F U Disney’s our way.
The two return to their swamp to find Donkey (Eddie Murphy) there, who messed up their house. They want him to not be a cock blocker, but he refuses saying that him and Dragon are having issues since she’s acting differently. When he finally does leave, he is interrupted as a bunch of announcers sent by Fiona’s parents invite them to the palace, so they can throw a ball in celebration for her marriage. Shrek (Mike Myers) refuses to go and after a minor disagreement, he is forced to go anyways.
After a long parody of “Are We There Yet” from Donkey (which are actually kind of funny) that angers the ogre couple, they finally reach her kingdom Far Far Away, which is like Hollywood and Las Vegas mixed with a fairy-take kingdom.
They reach the couple and we are introduced to Fiona’s parents King Harold (John Cleese) and Queen Lillian (Julie Andrews). When Shrek and Fiona get out of the carriage, the entire kingdom is silent and Donkey soon abandons them. Both couples are extremely nervous and appalled to an extent when they greet one another. I must ask the royal couple a question.
The dinner is even worse. The King is glaring at Shrek who embarrasses himself because he has no mannerisms. The Queen tries to make light of the situation and asks Fiona about her house. She tries to make it seem like they live in a lavish house and he is a property owner when a returned Donkey baits them out. King Harold is even more appalled and ends up in a huge argument with Shrek whose wives are trying to calm them down. They soon take it out on the food that Donkey tries to eat, and Fiona ends up storming out and into her old room.
Fiona is in her room which is full of stuff about Prince Charming and her happily ever after, and goes to her balcony where she drops a tear. This tear signals the magnificent fairy godmother (Jennifer Saunders) who performs the Fairy Godmother song, which is about how she can give Fiona anything she wants. She yells at her to stop and says she does not need all of what Fairy Godmother can give her. Shrek soon barges in the room and the godmother realizes that Shrek is Fiona’s husband. She is appalled, and confused about this since her plan went awry.
Shrek decides that they are leaving, but Fiona and Donkey don’t want to. The two soon end up in an argument about him not even trying to get along with her parents and he yells at her saying he is an ogre and no one is going to change him. She tells him that she has sacrificed for him, and hinting he hasn’t done much for her.
We go to her parent’s room and they are having a similar conversation. Lillian is lecturing him about starting the argument and how they fell in love is pretty similar (he was a frog), and that she does not want to lose Fiona again so they need to accept her husband. He is still not over the fact that Shrek is a monster. He goes on the balcony where the fairy godmother forces him to get in her fly carriage and her and her son Charming yells at him about Fiona not being there when Charming showed up and her marrying Shrek. He realizes that their plan did not work, and she says he ruined her appetite right before she orders a bunch of fast food.
King Harold sneaks into a pub called The Poison Apple and orders for Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) to assassinate Shrek, all of this done when Queen Lillian thinking he is stretching his leg on the balcony. Shrek wakes up after having an uncomfortable sleep, and looks around her room which is about her being rescued and being whisked off, so it is very fairy-tale fied. He picks up her diary and reads how her father never let her out after sunset and how she’s going to marry Prince Charming, making his insecurity grow even more.
King Harold comes a knocking on the door and Shrek opens it. Harold asks him if they can go on a hunting trip early in the morning, and he agrees only to make Fiona happy. The next morning, Shrek and Donkey are in the forest walking to meet up with King Harold (wouldn’t they just wait at the castle). Since it is a set-up, they bump into Puss in Boots who tries to kill Shrek, which fails on every level. He tells them that he was paid by the king and he feels bad so he wants to stay with them to make amends, and he does this to convince Shrek.
The trio now decide to go to Fairy Godmother’s factory corporation for help and she tries to get rid of them through the receptionist, but they barge in any way as she was making her lustful potion for Fiona to take. She tells them in a dramatic way that Ogres don’t get a happily ever after unlike humans.
They pretend to leave, but they hijack a janitor costume and go into a potion room. Shrek tells Donkey to keep watch, which makes him more jealous of Puss in Boots. As Donkey rambles on trying to get attention, Puss in Boots gets the Happily Ever After potion, which makes people beautiful so they can be with their love. They get found out, and they escape the factory.
He reads the bottle and it says when one drinks it, it will do the same to their true love. Donkey test it so Puss would not, but it did nothing. Shrek thinks it does nothing for donkeys and drinks it, which leads to a flatulence joke.
After Shrek, Donkey, and Puss stays in an outhouse for the night, Fiona is still worried as she has not seen her husband all day, and decides she is going to look for him and leave. Her parents are more than sad and try to convince her, but she passes out on the floor as she is about to leave.
So Shrek wakes up to find three horny farm girls all over him, and he realizes that he is a human, and Donkey is a stallion. Puss wants to drink the bottle, but reads the instructions, which says that he must kiss his true love by midnight.
The three wander through Far Far away and people are not staring at them weirdly, and he sends the guards to tell Fiona that her human husband wants to see him. She wakes up to looking like her old self and screams.
Fairy Godmother locks Shrek in his room as Charming impersonates the human Shrek which she does not take much into liking (hence Fiona has never met Charming and does not know what he looks like). Godmother tells Shrek to let Fiona go if he loves her, which she does when he looks at her and Charming.
The trio go to a bar all sad and such, and overhear Harold (who dragged Charming and Godmother to the bar) talking about Fiona not warming up to Charming and how he wants out of the deal. Godmother tells him she can make Fiona fall in love with Charming (thus a spell she was making) and he will be the first person she’ll kiss after she took the potion. Donkey baits them out, and the Fairy Godmother have them arrested.
After a parody of an awards show when fairy tales walk the red carpet to Shrek and Fiona’s ball, the minor characters see Shrek, Donkey, and Puss running away from mad men and get arrested, so they decide to rescue them. They go to the muffin man to make a huge gingerbread man.
The song “I Need a Hero” is sung by the Fairy Godmother to get the “couple” in the mood to kiss and as Charming tries to kiss her, she avoids it as long as she can. Shrek and the other make it to the castle with the sacrifice of large Mr.Gingerbread Man, and he stops the kiss from happening.
Practically everyone plays “Get the Wand” until Godmother yells at her son to kiss Fiona and he does, receiving a head butt from her. Godmother finally gets the wand and tries to kill Shrek, but Harold intervenes and it hits his armor, killing the brilliant godmother, and turning him into the from in “The Frog Prince”. He reveals himself and is sorry for giving Shrek a hard time.
Everything is good with everyone and Fiona tells Shrek that she wants to be an ogre, so they wait past midnight to kiss, and they have a party, and everyone is dancing to “Linin’ la Vida Loca” sung by Donkey and Puss.
After the credits, Donkey is singing about being by himself and Puss asks him to go to some club with him, but then his wife and 6 dronkeys show up and they work their issues. He realizes she was acting weird because she was pregnant.
Like I have already mentioned, the animation got a lot better and cleaner since Shrek. I could not find what software they used, but you can tell they improved. The characters are much cleaner in movement and design. The backgrounds are also a lot more detailed and you can tell they have finally mastered CGI after the animation from Antz and Shrek.
The soundtrack out-beat the ones from Shrek and The Prince of Egypt. It managed to snag a #8 spot in the Billboard 200, and was the top soundtrack of the year. It features a bunch of pop songs; some cover and others the actual version. Even though I am just warming up with the pop songs as another way to sell the film, the songs are appropriately used. I guess this was a finger to Disney as well in that selling pop is the way to go.
Reception at Release
Shrek 2 is the highest-grossing film of 2004, and took the spot of the highest grossing animated film from Finding Nemo and held it for 6 years until Toy Story 3 broke it. When it opened on May 19th 2004, it opened at #1 with $108,037,878 from Friday-Sunday, and stayed at #1 for its second week. It closed on November 25th making $441,226,247 domestically and $478,612,511 overseas, making a record-breaking amount of $919,838,758, and is currently the 26th highest grossing film of all time. When it comes to the critics, it did as well as it’s predecessor and they liked it for the same reasons; its adult humor, satire to fairy-tales, good characters and a nice story, and they said it is as good or even better than Shrek was. It did well when it came to awards. It won 5 People’s Choice Awards, 2 Teen’s Choice Awards, and was nominated fr many Academy Awards and Annies, including Best Animated Feature, but lost to Pixar’s The Incredibles. DreamWorks were more than thrilled because they got the amount of money they wanted since they opened.
It’s reception today is brilliant. It is a DreamWorks classic (it is a franchise, so of course it is), and it is known for being the last good movie in the Shrek franchise (not including Puss in Boots). This film showed them that franchises are the way to go (more often crappy ones than good ones), and that CGI is da bomb. This is one of the earliest films except Shrek that gets recognition from the company and is known across the general audience. It’s currently the highest grossing film in the canon.
Story = 7.5/10
Characters = 8/10
Music = 8.5/10
Animation = 9.5/10