Shrek has become a shill, peddling everything from breakfast cereal to M&M’s. But is the ready-made blockbuster to the original really all that or just more of the same?
No sooner than arriving home fresh from their honeymoon, Shrek (Mike Myers) and his wife Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) receive a summons from Fiona’s parents, the King (John Cleese) and Queen (Julie Andrews) of the land of Far Far Away. Although the always-suspicious Shrek begs Fiona to decline the offer, he relents and travels with Donkey (Eddie Murphy) to meet the folks and try to stay out of trouble. Unfortunately, Fiona’s Fairy Godmother (Jennifer Saunders) and her son Prince Charming (Rupert Everett) have other ideas, including arranging an assassin named Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) to remove the ogre from the picture.
The production is incredible, but the plot is paper thin. In fact, the story is essentially a rehash of all the same should-I-or-shouldn’t-I woes and doubts that diluted the first film, but this time it is clearly obvious that the plot is merely a framework to inject a relentless barrage of anachronism into the movie, a spoof of itself and anything it can get its hands on. True, it’s funny, but it’s equally forgettable as the story loads on the tall tales. Like all the product endorsements, Shrek and friends seem to be spectators in the film while all manner of amusing things happen all around them instead of to them.
It’s over the top, like a living cartoon (make that a computer generated cartoon). It’s cinematic junk food, but there’s no denying many parts are funny but also equally sad. Instead of taking the characters further and continuing the story, Shrek himself has been reduced to exactly what DreamWorks seems to have intended all along: a greenback machine. What was the point of humanizing an ogre and all his soul searching from the original when the background keeps taking center stage?
Shrek may have found his true love, but the sequel has cost him his soul.
(a two skull recommendation out of four)