Shrek 2 (PG)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner28/06/2004

Four out of Five Stars

Enjoyable sequel that reigns in the satirical bite of the original but still delivers plenty of laughs, largely thanks to Antonio Banderas' hilarious performance as Puss-In-Boots.

If you loved Shrek, the chances are you won't be disappointed by the sequel, which reunites the three main players and maintains the same pace of rapid-fire gags interspersed with references to films and pop culture.

Admittedly, it tones down the gleeful swipes at Disney (though there are still some subtle digs) and a lot of the references will a) go flying over the heads of the younger audience members and b) be horribly dated in five years time, but there's still a lot to enjoy, particularly in the terrific comic double-act of Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and Puss-In-Boots (Antonio Banderas).

The sequel kicks off more or less where the first film left off. Big Green Ogre Shrek (Mike Myers) and his Big Green Ogre Wife, Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) return from their honeymoon and decide to visit Fiona's parents (John Cleese and Julie Andrews) in the Kingdom of Far, Far Away, a not-so-thinly veiled parody of Hollywood. However, they are less than pleased to discover Fiona's 'new look', particularly as Fiona's marriage has thwarted a plan concocted by both the King and the ambitious, powerful Fairy Godmother (Jennifer Saunders) for Fiona to marry Prince Charming (Rupert Everett).

While the Fairy Godmother puts her own plan into motion, the King hires the famed ogre killer Puss-In-Boots (Antonio Banderas) to kill Shrek. Things don't quite go according to plan, however and, after the hilarious attack scene, Puss quickly makes friends with Shrek, despite Donkey's insistence that "the position of annoying, talking animal has already been filled".

It seems hard to believe that anyone could upstage Eddie Murphy's Donkey, but that's exactly what Banderas does - his Puss is a brilliant caricature of his own Zorro character, a whirling ball of machismo and orange fur. Donkey grabs most of the obvious one-liners, but the joy of Banderas' performance is that you never know what he is going to say or do next and it's frequently outrageous, particularly in what is perhaps the film's most subversive moment, when it looks as if Puss swings both ways.

As with the first film, the animation is an absolute delight, rendering the story-book world in bright colours and making significant leaps in the amount of detail in terms of hair and texture.

The entire cast are terrific and the film makes inspired use of its supporting cast of nursery characters ("Quick, Pinocchio! Tell a lie!"), though the UK recasting of Jonathan Ross and Kate Thornton in place of Larry King and Joan Rivers was probably a bad idea. Perhaps most importantly, however, the film doesn't backtrack on the unconventional self-acceptance message that distinguished the first film.

In short, there's a lot to enjoy here, from hilarious sight gags and snappy one-liners to an engrossing game of Spot The Movie Reference (with Spider-Man, Alien and From Here To Eternity among the highlights). There's also a delightful mid-credits gag, though any parents wishing to avoid any awkward Donkey/Dragon questions would be advised to leave beforehand. Recommended.

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Shrek 2 (PG)
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Content updated: 11/12/2017 00:30

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