There is an unspoken law of films of “Sequel of diminishing returns.” Ergo, sequels take the original idea and make it worse. However, ‘Shrek 2’ shows no sign, thankfully, of slowing down. The humour is less sly in this one, and the emotional and moral impact is more pronounced than before, but there are still plenty of in-jokes and general silliness with the skills of Eddie Murphy’s 100-words-a-second donkey and Mike Meyer’s more deadpan Scots ogre to keep even the most cynical of viewers entertained.
Shrek and Fiona have enjoyed a wonderful honeymoon (we see the highlights in the credits sequence), and are now back to begin their married life in the swamp. however, Fiona’s parents, despite having locked her in a tower from girlhood because of her night-time curse, have not forgotten that they have a daughter, and send for her and her ‘prince charming’ to formally bless the union and meet th4 man who rescued their daughter and lifted the curse. Shrek is understandably wary of the two ogres going to see the King and Queen, but Fiona insists, so the due and Donkey travel to Far Far Away (a kingdom that closely resembles Hollywood in its preoccupation with beauty), the initial meeting is not good, and Shrek is feeling very much out of his depth. After a very funny fight with the King over dinner, and Fiona’s tearful response, Shrek is surprised when the King comes to apologise in the early hours of the morning, suggesting a dawn hunt to bond the two more closely. Shrek agrees, but the King has other plans, which involve a rather sexy Puss in stylish footwear. But as Shrek discovers, all is not as obvious as it seems, with a scheming Fairy Godmother in the background and a secret deal that is leaning heavily on the King, who’s not such a bad sort once you see the real person underneath….
Following on the main theme of the original; to find contentment and happiness as oneself, no matter what you look like, ‘Shrek 2’ introduces a wider range of characters, opening out this alternative fairy-tale world into a broad landscape of magic potions, elves, wands and sword-swinging cats. Playing on Hollywood’s preoccupation with looks above all else, ‘Shrek 2’ makes several jabs at the beauty industry and asks what do you really need to live happily ever after?
A highly recommended evening’s entertainment with a warm heart and a barrel of laughs; “For you, baby, I could be!”
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