Disclaimer: This is my first movie review. Be kind.
One of my favorite types of entertainment is movies and shows that are *technically* made for kids, but feature a subtle infusion of humor meant to entertain adults. Dancing the line between the obvious humor for kids, and at the same time, entertaining adults with the underlying references can be very difficult.
The unchallenged masters of this task, of course, would be Animaniacs, which features one of my favorite lines of all time.
Teacher: Yakko, can you conjugate?
Yakko: Conjugate?! I've never even kissed a girl!
Shrek 2, while not in the same class of comedic genius as Animaniacs, was certainly a laughable film, and is tons of fun.
I'll try to summarize the plot with minimal spoilers. If you don't want spoilers, consider this your warning.
Shrek 2 picks up right where Shrek left off. Shrek and Princess Fiona are just back from their honeymoon, when they are invited to meet and be blessed by Fiona's parents. Of course, they have no clue that Shrek and Fiona are both ogres...
Shrek, after being spurned by Fiona's father to the point of being targetted by a particularly charismatic hit-cat, turns to the Fairy Godmother to fix the problems caused by his rather obvious ogreness. Hilarity ensues.
All of the voice talents deliver solid performances. Michael Myers, as the voice of Shrek, has perfected the art of telling Donkey to shut the hell up, while loudly reminding those around him that he is, indeed, an ogre. Cameron Diaz is back as Princess Fiona, while Eddie Murphy as the voice of Donkey is as intentionally annoying as ever. One disappointment is that the writers did not take more advantage of the natural insanity of John Cleese (As Fiona's father). Had I been involved in making this movie, I would have handed him a microphone and just turned him loose.
There are two characters who managed to steal the screen, however, with dazzling performances. The first is Jennifer Saunders, who you may recognize as Eddie Monsoon from Absolutely Fabulous. Her rendition of the Fairy Godmother is a blast. Kudos for the casters for getting this talent for this role.
The true screen-stealer, however, is Antonio Banderas as the rapier-wielding feline assassin, Puss-in-Boots. (Phoenetically prounounced: "Poos... IN BOOTS!") This character had me in stitches from the second he appeared on the screen. Even more kudos for Antonio Banderas for having the good humor to mock himself and one of his roles in the interest of comedy.
The CGI work in this film is amazing. I often found myself forgetting to follow the dialogue in the interests of losing myself in the insanely detailed computer graphics. There are many times in the film when I caught myself wondering if it was actually real human beings on the screen.
The gameplay is... oh wait. It's a movie. Nevermind.
The humor in the movie is rampant, and best appreciated by those with a keen sense of pop culture. The references and stabs at other films is ubiquitous, and generally well done. The fart jokes are something I could have lived without, but I suppose there has to be something to amuse the kiddies. Antonio Banderas deserves another mention here, as Puss-in-Boots is unbelievably funny. I want to see the movie again, just to watch this performance one more time.
All in all, I had a fantastic time with this movie. Beneath the somewhat crude humor at times is a notable message against not bowing down to prejudice, that true beauty comes from within, and that one's beauty will be most radiant when one is, naturally, being themself.
3.75 of five stars.
Cast (in credits order)
Mike Myers .... Shrek (voice)
Eddie Murphy .... Donkey (voice)
Cameron Diaz .... Princess Fiona (voice)
Julie Andrews .... Queen (voice)
Antonio Banderas .... Puss In Boots (voice)
John Cleese .... King (voice)
Rupert Everett .... Prince Charming (voice)
Jennifer Saunders .... Fairy Godmother (voice)
Aron Warner .... Wolf (voice)
Kelly Asbury .... Page/Elf/Nobleman/Nobleman's Son (voice)
Cody Cameron .... Pinocchio/Three Pigs (voice)
Conrad Vernon .... Gingerbread Man/Cedric/Announcer/Muffin Man/Mongo (voice)
Christopher Knights .... Blind Mouse (voice)
David P. Smith .... Herald/Man with Box (voice)
Mark Moseley .... Mirror/Dresser (voice)
Kelly Cooney .... Fast Food Clerk (voice)
Wendy Bilanski .... Bar Frog (voice)
Larry King .... Ugly Stepsister (voice)
Guillaume Aretos .... Receptionist (voice)
Chris Miller .... Humphries/Magic Mirror (voice)
Latifa Ouaou .... Doll/Jill (voice)
Alina Phelan .... Maiden #1/Generic Female #2 (voice)
Erika Thomas .... Maiden #2 (voice)
Joan Rivers .... Joan Rivers (voice)
Andrew Adamson .... Captain of the Guards (voice)
imdb.com for the cast list.
Seeing the movie.
I got paid $18.54 an hour to write this node.