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May 2004

By Wilson Morales

Shrek 2
Distributor: Dreamworks SKG
Directors: Andrew Adamson, Kelly Asbury, & Conrad Vernon
Producers: Jeffrey Katzenberg, David Lipman, Aron Warner, & John H. Williams
Screenwriters: William Steig, J. David Stern, Joe Stillman, & David N. Weiss
Composer: Harry Gregson-Williams
Cast: Mike Meyers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Julie Andrews, Antonio Banderas, John Cleese, Rupert Everett, & Jennifer Saunders


It's hard to make a sequel when everything fell into place in the original. With the exception of Disney, whose sequels to their blockbusters animated films go straight to video, no one makes an attempt to bring one to the big screen. The story has to be fun and engaging enough for the kids and adults to enjoy again. At the same time, to bring back the entire cast, or least the main players, to do their voices again is a feat. Well, Dreamworks has done an amazing job of not only bring back the stellar cast but coming up with a plot that all will enjoy. Shrek 2 is the one of the best animated sequels to come out in theaters in a long time. It's just as good as the original.

When we last saw Shrek (Myers) in the original, all the pieces had worked for him. He got the girl, Princess Fiona (Diaz), got rid of the bad guy and lived happily ever after. How do you come back for an encore? Well, Shrek 2 picks up the story where it left off, the couple living out their lives ogres and outcasts to many, including Fiona's parents (John Cleese and Julie Andrews). When it's time to meet the in-laws, their approval isn't what he thought it would be. With Donkey as his side kick and "the voice of reason", Shrek can't bear to see Fiona upset. Meanwhile, Prince Charming is lurking around hoping to find a cure that make Fiona the beauty he imagined and was told about and make her his wife. With the help of the Fairy Godmothers (Saunders), who happens to be his mom, and some reluctant help from Fiona's father, Prince Charming is in control of his destiny. Meanwhile, Shrek gets some help on his side from a cat named Puss 'n Boots (Banderas). For Shrek, happiness is never easy as it always requires work.

What's amazing about this film is the plot is paper thin, which is a good thing for a change. Too many times does a sequel repeat itself with the same plot that it loses the charm of the original. There are several references to past that only a true film buff will recognize as the nods to films such as "From Here to Eternity", The Lord of the Rings" are noted. Even Joan Rivers plays herself in the film. There's enough humor for the kids and adults that what's not to laugh? Mike Myers and Cameron Diaz are delightful in the roles, and Eddie Murphy is hilarious as Donkey, but hands down, the welcome addition of Antonio Banderas as the Puss n' Boot, the cat with the hat and sword, was the best part in the film. In the original, Murphy's annoyance stole the film, and when this film looked like it was on cruise control, Banderas' scenes just sparked it up. The scenes were his eyes are shown as close-up is a treat. The additions of Cleese, Andrews, and Everett were joyful as well. Besides the comedy and the adventure that these characters go through, there's the music in the film that also a glow. Currently playing on the airwaves, the song by the Counting Crows is something that will have you hum while leaving the theater.