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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 May, 2004, 10:11 GMT 11:11 UK
Review: Shrek 2
By Ian Youngs
BBC News Online correspondent in Cannes

Shrek 2
Shrek and Princess Fiona set off to see her parents
Shrek 2, the follow-up to the hit 2001 animation, smashed box office records to become the highest-grossing animated film when it opened in the US on 19 May.

In the league of crowd-pulling Hollywood names, the only difference between Tom Cruise and Shrek is that the animated fat, green ogre does not get paid $25m (14m) per movie.

What the original Shrek - which made $455m (258m) around the world when it was released in 2001 - did well, Shrek 2 does better.

With bigger gags, better animation, a stronger story and a bit more magic, this will ensure kids and their parents stay along for the ride.

It picks up the story of the caring, sharing ogre, voiced by Mike Myers, where the first film left off - after he married the beautiful Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz), and turned her into an ogre too.

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With their donkey sidekick, played by Eddie Murphy, still an essential comic ingredient, they go to get the blessing of the princess' parents, the king and queen of Far, Far Away.

It is the start of a journey that combines a good old fashioned good-versus-evil, love-conquers-all fairytale with lots of jokes, many poking fun at modern culture.

Magic and spoofs

The kingdom of Far, Far Away is Hollywood with stretch horse-drawn carriages instead of stretch limos, and the happy couple's arrival is covered like an Oscars red carpet telecast.

Puss in Boots
Puss in Boots is voiced by Antonio Banderas

But the king and queen - voiced by the distinctive John Cleese and Julie Andrews - are less than pleased to see their daughter has married an ogre, rather than the intended Prince Charming, and become one herself.

This introduces another new character, Absolutely Fabulous star Jennifer Saunders' Fairy Godmother, Prince Charming's mother and the holder of a magical grip over the kingdom.

And Antonio Banderas lends his voice to a modern Puss in Boots, a fearless feline hitman who spoofs Banderas' Zorro character, among others.

There is a Fawlty Towers reference or two in Cleese's lines, while the Fairy Godmother also comes over all Edina every so often.

Heart and humour

The film is peppered with these jokes for those in the know, as well as fun-poking in the direction of traditional fairytale characters that are enlisted to help Shrek in his epic quest.

But the best and funniest character is still Donkey - a cross between an annoying child and a stubbornly faithful friend who just cannot be silenced or shaken off.

Eddie Murphy's excitable voice makes the character complete and, although his face does not appear, he gives a great comic performance again.

This film refines further the formula film studios have been following since animation came back into fashion with the advance of computer technology several years ago.

It is a very modern fairytale with heart and humour intended to appeal to the moms and dads as well as their kids.

Shrek 2 is released in the UK on 2 July.

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What did you think of Shrek 2? Did you enjoy it more than the original movie? Or is the film one sequel too far?

I have just been to see Shrek 2 with my daughter and we can endorse the other positive comments here. To those who are critical of the plot I suggest that you go and watch something more serious. Many films are intended to be simply entertaining and don't need a complex plot to make them work.
John Cooper, Warrington, UK

Thought I was going to wet myself with laughter! It was totally fantastic! Shrek's a stud, and so is Donkey, my "noble steed" and Puss in Boots... WOW. Those eyes could melt a heart of someone who doesn't have one! Top notch quality film. God bless the producers and the actors for Shrek 2. Roll on Shrek 3!! P.S. Producers, if you read this, can I be in Shrek 3? :-D
Dee Mapp, London, England

Thought it was fantastic, really funny and entertaining. The first one was good, but the second one was better. I cannot wait to see it again.
Sabrina, Edinburgh

Great movie, graphics are far better this time around and comic timing of donkey and puss is spot on. It's just a shame that the plot was a little thin on the ground, and where did all the adult innuendoes go??? They were far less risque, which for me was part of the appeal of the original.
Nelson, Oxford, UK

I am sorry to spoil the fun, but I must have seen a different film. The one I saw had the flimsiest of plots, predictable jokes and an ending sequence that was unimaginative and pathetic. Trash. I went to see this film, having read the review above, confident that its build-up wasn't just hype. I left cursing Ian Youngs' review.
Ray Byrne, Alnwick, UK

Excellent, definitely the best film I have seen all year. Funny on many levels, for adults as well as kids. I would recomend people to sit through the credits as there is another bit at the end that just raises a few questions and a good laugh.
Anthony, London

We went to seee this as a family - mum, dad & the most critical 3 1/2 year old you can imagine. He loved Shrek when he saw it first as a 2 year old and we had enjoyed it when watching it with him. Now he's older and apparently more sophisticated, but we were ALL blown away by Shrek2. We identified with all the humour on the many differing levels as well as the sophistication involved. If there is to be a Shrek3, 4 and beyond, then more power to DreamWorks, because they've tapped into a winning formula.
Tim, Belgium

Sheer animated comic genius, I was in stitches from the opening scenes to way past the end credits. I'm dying to see it again just to pick out all the bits I missed in the background.
NIk Bartlett, Chippenham, UK

There are so many in-jokes and offhand references packed into each scene you need to see it a few times to get them all!
Barry Wellington-Bovis, Hornchurch, Essex

I don't think my boyfriend and I were the only grown ups to attend the previews without the company of a child, fabulous film for the big kids too!
Kate, Bognor Regis, UK

Brilliant, loved the whole movie, i didnt think it would appeal to me being animated but it's so funny i couldnt help but scream with laughter, i think all the cinema were! Excellent! A must-see.
Rosemary, Southampton

After having been genuinely amused and impressed by the original movie I was extremely disappointed by Shrek 2. The entire storyline could have been created within a weekend, something which any amount of high-tech animated effects would have trouble disguising. It is in short a blatant demonstration of treating the consumer like sheep which of course we are, dutifully waiting expectedly for the next installment of a classic production. Rarely however can a masterpiece be recreated and Shrek 2 is a prime example of this fact.
Malcolm Williams, Birmingham, England

I loved it from the beginning to the end.The smaller characters such as the overconfident Gingerbread man as well as Pinnochio and all the other smaller fairytale characters were a treat. Make sure everyone watch the end credits for the closing scenes as most people in my local cinema left early!! So much to write about,but better to watch!
Awais, London, UK

Loved the spoofs on "Alien", "Mission Impossible" and "Flashdance" amongst many others. Will have to see it again so I can watch the half I missed while laughing too loudly.
Ursula, Wales

I think I missed most of the film from laughing so much. Definately the best sequel to any film I've ever seen. Very clever with so many innuendoes. Can't wait to see it again.
Lauren, UK

With excellent humour on all levels it is a must-see for young and old.
Richard Harrison, Tewkesbury,UK

I loved the first film, and the second is even better. Certainly our donkey friend must get the best supporting actor nod.
Richard S. Earnshaw, Kelowna,BC, Canada

Pure magic - the fairy godmother role is fabulous darling! But at times too fast. Great fun for the whole family. Can not wait to see it again!
Simon Marcelli, London, UK

I loved it! Puss was so cute. Donkey's just an annoying little thing but really funny. I think that Princess Fiona looks better when she is a human. Shrek is ugly but so nice. I also think that Fiona's father needs to chill out. He takes things to seriously. My favourite part in the movie was.....THE WHOLE THING! It was the best movie I watched this year. Shrek 2 just rocks!!
Harvir, Vancouver, Canada

Great movie. The best part was a spoof of the show 'Cops' where Puss is apprehended and claims the substance in the little baggie is just catnip!
James, USA

Gold! Pure Gold! I believe this is one of the few sequels that managed to top the first movie. Do YOU still know the muffin man?...
Gautham, Murray, USA

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