After battling a fire-breathing dragon and the evil Lord Farquaad to win the hand of Princess Fiona, Shrek now faces his greatest challenge: the in-laws. Shrek and Princess Fiona return from their honeymoon to find an invitation to visit Fiona’s parents, the King and Queen of the Kingdom of Far, Far Away. With Donkey along for the ride, the newlyweds set off. All of the citizens of Far, Far Away turn out to greet their returning Princess, and her parents happily anticipate the homecoming of their daughter and her new Prince. But no one could have prepared them for the sight of their new son-in-law, not to mention how much their little girl had changed. Little did Shrek and Fiona know that their marriage had foiled all of her father’s plans for her future–and his own. Now the King must enlist the help of a powerful Fairy Godmother, the handsome Prince Charming and that famed ogre killer ‘Puss In Boots’ to put right his version of “happily ever after.”
Although Shrek is the film that started off this animated children’s franchise, its follow-up, Shrek 2, takes everything we loved about the first and doubles down on it. There’s twice as many jokes here (almost all of them landing excellently except for a few cringe-worthy poop and puke jokes along the way), twice as much heart, and there’s twice as much fun to be had here in general.
If you thought that the animation in the first film was something incredible, the second film will blow you away. Virtually every single frame of Shrek 2 looks absolutely seamless and really raised the bar for the animation genre. Right down to the individual pixels, the movie was truly ahead of its time and surely paved the way for many up-and-coming animation artists.
But aside from all of that, the pacing here is masterful. It may be weird to call anything about a Shrek movie masterful, but I feel as though many elements of this sequel deserve to be labeled as masterful. Although its total running time clocks in at a mere ninety-two minutes (with ten of these minutes being nothing but the ending credits), Shrek 2 flows incredibly well. There isn’t that one scene that stands out as being unimportant or boring. Each scene gets zanier and zanier and the plot gets more and more interesting.
It’s not the most investing plot of all time. It’s kind of hard to make a film about two love-stricken ogres be deeply engrossing, but in terms of being a massively amusing family adventure, this film certainly does the trick. The stakes here feel significantly higher than they did in its predecessor. Certain magical potions are introduced in the second act that alters the appearance of different characters and the fate of these characters’ appearances lies in Shrek’s hands.
Rewatching this animated sequel brought back so much nostalgia from my childhood because I vividly remember watching it constantly. For some reason, I also remember the “Funky Town” scene being a lot longer than it actually is, but it’s still an absolute blast to watch nonetheless. Plus, Shrek 2 gave us a special feature on the DVD titled “Far Far Away Idol” that showcases various characters from the Shrek films as they audition for this universe’s version of American Idol. To make things even better, Simon Cowell makes a special voice cameo as himself. So, in other words, what more could you want?
Shrek 2 is an excellent example of a sequel improving upon what audiences loved about the original. It’s funnier, has even better animation than the first, and is overall a zany adventure for the whole family.
Overall Grade: A
MPAA Rating: PG for some crude humor, a brief substance reference, and some suggestive content
Distributed by: DreamWorks Pictures
Release Date: May 19, 2004
Running Time: 92 minutes