Reviewed by: Brett Willis
Kids and Family
Comedy, Action Adventure, Kids Family, Fantasy, Animation
1 hr. 45 min.
Year of Release:
May 18, 2004
Reviews of other films in this series
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What should be the attitude of the church toward homosexuals and homosexuality? Answer
Fun for kids
This follow-up to the quirky breakaway hit “Shrek” is pretty much what we’d expect a big-budget sequel to be. Financially safe, low-risk. The familiar characters and themes are reprised, and a few new characters and twists are added.
A “Prince Charming” invades the Dragon’s castle, intending to rescue Princess Fiona. But he finds that she’s already been rescued by Shrek. Fiona’s parents, the King and Queen of “Far, Far Away,” set up a wedding gala for her, on the assumption that she DID marry Prince Charming.
Meanwhile, Shrek and Fiona are smooching and enjoying their honeymoon. In one of many sight gags based on other movies, they lie down and kiss as the surf washes over them, reminiscent of “From Here to Eternity.” But when the wave recedes, who’s on top of Shrek but… a mermaid. Has Fiona undergone another transformation? Nope, she was temporarily displaced. But she steps in, picks up the “hussy” mermaid and tosses her back into the ocean.
Our central characters seem like a perfect, happy Ogre couple, except that Fiona intends to accept her parents’ invitation while Shrek has a bad feeling about it and wants nothing to do with it. Ah, yes, in-law problems. And Shrek’s instincts are right on the money. There’s a lot more here than meets the eye. Fiona’s father, her Fairy Godmother, and her Prince Charming are all hiding something from her.
The story and characters are engaging, the voices are right on, and the graphics throughout are as stunning as a CGI sequence in a live action film.
LANGUAGE AND IMAGERY: The practice of spoofing films and media figures, popularized in the first installment, continues. There were too many satirical references to keep track of. But among them were a mock chest-bursting scene (“Alien”); a giant Gingerbread Man monster, very like the giant Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man monster in “Ghostbusters;” a dance routine and “watering” scene stolen from “Flashdance;” a Puss-N-Boots character who steals the “I hate Mondays” line from the comic strip cat Garfield; and even a reference to the “White Bronco” O.J. Simpson police chase.
The one-liners, too, come thick and fast at times. Almost as rapid-fire as in “Rocky and Bullwinkle.” Some segments are so crammed with humor that the average viewer can’t possibly “catch” everything. Perhaps that’s intended as an inducement to see the film a second time, or to buy the video or DVD later. Some of the language and humor is inappropriate for children. One of the magic potions in the Fairy Godmother’s stockpile is “Toadstool Softener” (or is it “Toad Stool Softener”?). There are some strong insults, some bodily function references and gags, a few vague sexual references and some crotch-kicking sight gags.
VIOLENCE: As in the first film, one evil character is killed. “Prince Charming” is a semi-evil character; he takes some blows and doesn’t manage to steal the Princess away from Shrek, but he’s allowed to live. Another semi-evil character (who at one point plots to have Shrek killed) undergoes a supernatural transformation, in addition to having an epiphany and change of heart about his evil deeds. The cartoon violence is the same style as, but probably less in quantity than, the original.
SEXUAL CONTENT AND NUDITY: Shrek and Fiona are shown “necking” as newlyweds. Some female characters show a bit of cleavage or act sensual. There’s a sequence where Shrek is turned into a human, and three milkmaids try to get their hands on him and voice some strongly-worded innuendoes.
Pinocchio is presented as secretly wearing women’s panties and is seen doing a Michael Jackson-style crotch-grab dance move.
The core theme of these films, that Ogres should be, but aren’t being, fully accepted for who they are, is, of course, a thinly-disguised sermon on racial tolerance.
OTHER CONTENT: There’s, of course, the “magick” theme. The transformations of Shrek, Fiona and other characters from human to nonhuman are accomplished by spells and potions. There’s also a potion that, once taken, will make Fiona fall in love with the first man she kisses. In the world of fairy-tales, magick is morally neutral; it’s only the person wielding the magick powers that’s good or bad. But the Bible clearly condemns the use of sorcery, witchcraft and “curious arts” as being an unauthorized substitute to seeking God for help with one’s problems and questions.
There’s some implied drinking of alcoholic beverages. And in a mock drug reference, Puss-N-Boots is busted for possessing an envelope of catnip while protesting “It’s not mine.”
POSITIVE CONTENT: There are practical lessons about how when you marry someone, you actually “marry” that person’s entire family. Shrek and Fiona try very hard to get along with her parents. But if push comes to shove, their marriage itself is more important than the extended family, which is as it should be. At one point, Shrek does consider “bowing out” of the marriage, in the mistaken notion that that would be better for Fiona. But ultimately, Skrek and Fiona both put everything on the line to SAVE their marriage, accept each other for exactly what they are, and expect others to either do the same or buzz off. And some characters acknowledge that their unkind actions toward others were wrong.
The ending? It’s what you’d expect. The ending of the first film was Politically Correct but “satisfying.” So, after a lot of trials, Shrek and Fiona are finally restored to pretty much their same state as at the end of the first film. True love wins out, you know. And, if the sequel bucks are there, it has to keep winning out over and over again.
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: Mild
Producer’s synopsis: “The natural order of fairy tales is interrupted in the sequel to the Academy Award®-winning blockbuster ‘Shrek.’ ‘Shrek 2’ sends Shrek, Donkey and Princess Fiona on a whirlwind of new adventures with more fairy-tale favorites to lampoon along the way.