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Friday, May 28, 2004



Is he doing what I think he's doing?

I think I was the only one laughing loudly inside the cinema the first time they showed the trailer for Shrek 2. It was the full trailer with the trio travelling to the kingdom of Far Far Away, the dove bumping against the wall, and others. The original cast did such a wonderful work for the first movie so expectations were high for this sequel and rightly so. Credits go to the wonderful people behind the production and the great actors for exceeding the audience's expectations for this movie.

The sequel picks up the story right after Shrek (voiced by Mike Myers) and Princess Fiona (voiced by Cameron Diaz) drove away to their honeymoon at the end of the first movie. They's shown enjoying time alone with each other at the hotel, the beach, lovey-dovey walks through the woods, and running through a field of daisies while dodging pitchforks and an angry mob. It was complete bliss until they arrive home at Shrek's house by the swamp. Inside they find Donkey (voiced by Eddie Murphy) made himself comfy with out asking permission from the owner. In the midst of telling him to scram, a royal herald arrives announcing an invitation from Princess Fiona's parents to visit them along with her new husband (which they presumed to be human). Shrek was against the idea of facing the King and Queen of the picture perfect kingdom Far Far Away but was soon prevailed upon by his darling wife and gabby best friend. Theirs was the most anticipated arrival of all and almost all of the whole kingdom had turned up to greet them so you could imagine the shock on their faces when they saw who (or what) their princess had married. King Harold (voiced by John Cleese) and Queen Mary (voiced by Julie Andrews) were aghast at the sight of their daughter's new husband but while the Queen managed to accept her daughter's choice, the King seethed and stewed right through dinner. While the King had every right to be angry about his daughter's choice to marry a troll, it also turns out that he was also being held back by a contract he made with the Fairy Godmother (voiced by Jennifer Saunders) some years back, that Princess Fiona would be rescued from her fate by and wed to her son, Prince Charming (voiced by Rupert Everett). She forced the King to uphold his end of the contract using any means possible. He sneaks off in the middle of the night to a sleazy tavern and hired Puss In Boots (voiced by Antonio Banderas) to off his son-in-law.

That he tried to do the next morning when the king invited Shrek and Donkey on the sport of hunting game. The confident dimunitive hit-cat overshot and was easily overpowered by the towering Shrek. In gratitude for sparing his life he vowed to serve Shrek until a more opportune time when he can return the favor. As they walked on, Shrek thought of paying the Fairy Godmother a visit and ask her to do something about his appearance. She, of course, rudely drives them away but not before Shrek swiped a magic potion that improves the appearance of all those who drinks from it. In a bid to find out if it works Donkey volunteered to take a swig and then Shrek. It also turns out at the same time they took the potion, someone slipped in the same potion into Princess Fiona's and they all promptly fell into a deep sleep. When all three found the changes in their appearance the day after Shrek, Donkey, and Puss rushed towards the castle to surprise Fiona. And although Fiona did find Donkey (now a white Stallion) and Puss, Prince Charming tricked her into thinking he's the much improved Shrek. Feeling betrayed by all that he saw from the castle window, he ran away to drown his sorrow in a tavern along with his two companions. When they accidentally discovered about the diabolical deal between the King, Fairy Godmother, and Prince Charming, they were implicated on a false charge and thrown to jail. But since this is a fairy tale, everything works out for our heroes in the nick of time giving the two lovers another chance to live happily ever after.

I'm a little surprised there are some people who think the movie stinks to high heavens. While, of course, this is no Pixar production, personally I still think that writers William Steig, J. David Stem, Joe Stillman, and David N. Weiss did a more smashing job this time around (and box office records don't lie). Incidentally, while there are movie goers who thought both movies sucked, there are those who thought only the first one was inedible, but absolutely gobbled up the sequel. So what are we to make out of this one? A bunch of confused moviegoers? I also like those spoofed movie references they inserted everywhere like Mr. Stay Puff from Ghostbusters (Mongo, the giant Gingerbread man), From Here to Eternity (kissing scene on the beach), The Little Mermaid (red-head mermaid on top of Shrek and thrown to the sharks), Spider-Man (Shrek is hanging upside down and Fiona wipes the mud off his face before kissing him), The Lord of the Rings (ring flips up and shoots directly at Fiona's finger), Beauty and the Beast (dancing furniture and higgedly-piggedly state of the FGM's factory), Mission Impossible (Pinocchio hanging upside-down), Wizard of Oz (FGM appearing inside a bubble), Alien (Puss pops out of Shrek's shirt), E.T. (where the line "be good" was taken), Garfield (Puss saying "I hate Mondays"), and Flashdance (Puss pulling the shower cord). These were the only ones I got out of the many.

As a postcript to this long post, I'd like to make two announcements. The first one is the news of the demise of Shrek's creator, cartoonist and author, William Steig. And second, the next two movies of Shrek is already in the works. Shrek 3 will have our protagonist on a showdown against King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, while Shrek 4 will be a prequel. This is what Dreamworks co-founder, Jeffrey Katzenberg has to say:
"...In the last chapter, we will understand how Shrek came to be in that swamp, when we meet him in the first movie. There is a reason he came to be there, but there is another chapter to the story before that"

Whether the next two installments will fit in the humongous shoes of its hugely successful predecessor, that we'll have to find out come 2006.

* Check out also the review in Hollywood Jesus for more insightful reactions to this great movie.

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