“Shrek 2” is everything that the first “Shrek” is, only better in so many ways.
DreamWorks Pictures has tried to set itself apart from animated-film supergiant Disney since its 1998 film “Antz” while simultaneously attempting to replicate its key aspects. This is evidenced by the startling similarities between “Antz” and “A Bug’s Life,” the latter being published by Disney on the same year.
DreamWorks obliterated everyone’s expectations when it released “Shrek” in 2001, but how often can you say the sequel was at least on par, or in this case superior to its predecessor?
Not very often. That is why “Shrek 2” deserves so much praise.
But this all begs the question: What exactly about “Shrek 2” is so much better than the first movie?
Puss in Boots, Prince Charming and the Fairy Godmother
Picture it: Antonio Banderas voicing an orange cat wearing two black boots and a feathered hat. There’s a word for that, and it’s called “genius.”
Thanks to Banderas’ sly, witty and passionate portrayal of the folktale feline, I can’t imagine anyone in the world trying to pull such a strange and mythic character off.
Rupert Everett does a great job pulling off the snobbish, pompous and entitled Prince Charming. Think about it: Prince Charming has been recycled so much in English conversation that it’s often used as an insult. Prince Charming in “Shrek 2” is literally a walking joke, and it takes talent to voice something so cynical.
Fairy Godmother’s character wouldn’t be who she is if it wasn’t for Jennifer Saunders (and fantastic writing). She flies off the handle, and her mood is near unpredictable. What’s more, she’s egotistical and manipulative, and Saunders’ portrayal is stern, controlled and yet gentle when need be.
Keep in mind, there are so many more characters that we either didn’t see in the original (the ugly stepsister) or got additional screen time in this film when they didn’t in the original (Gingy, Pinocchio, the three little pigs and the blind mice for instance). This movie is jam-packed full of fairytale parodies who are unique and hilarious in their own original ways.
The soundtrack is smashing
Jennifer Saunders’ cover of “Holding Out for a Hero” breathes life to me. It takes a song that is great on its own and gives it an energetic twist. Honestly, besides the lyrics and overall melody, they could probably pass as different songs.
Have you ever felt the need to get up from your couch, grab any inanimate object that resembles a portable microphone and sing your heart out along with a song meant for children? You haven’t? Well I have, and I’m not ashamed of it because it’s because of this masterpiece of a song cover.
Besides “Holding Out for a Hero,” “Funkytown” is the perfect way to introduce the audience to Far Far Away—a town that is closely parodying sensational Hollywood. The technological song bleeds innovation and success, which is a perfect calling card for Hollywood—or its fairytale counterpart Far Far Away.
I also literally have “I Need Some Sleep” downloaded onto my phone. It has been there since middle school, and it will stay there (perhaps forever).
Far Far Away Idol
Let’s face it; I’m running out of space to give kudos to such a phenomenal sequel to a pop culture icon. Let me talk about this fun game that was included in the film before I unfortunately have to cut this conversation about “Shrek 2.”
Does anyone remember playing Far Far Away Idol — a mini-game in the bonus features for the film?
We get to hear more from the characters and decide who is the next Far Far Away Idol. If our answers aren’t good enough, Simon Cowell literally throws the results away, declares himself the true idol and gives a breathtaking performance.
No, that really happened. It wasn’t a fever dream.
In conclusion, “Shrek 2” is everything “Shrek” was. It was funny, original, successfully parodic and plain-old entertaining. After the first movie’s popularity and money making, however, it had more time to give the fans what they wanted—something a step above the predecessor in originality and parody, and it blew everyone’s expectations with its new and hilarious characters and fantastic soundtrack.
Logan Raschke can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]