More lavish animation, more unforgettable characters, more great songs, more sharply intelligent wit and comedy - all that and more goes into this sequel to the wildly successful Shrek. The look and feel of this film really are incredible and amazingly realistic, especially in terms of all the human characters. Unlike most films built upon a unique, breathtaking visual style, though, Shrek 2 relies upon a strong and compelling plot for its greatest success. Even though the first film introduced us to Shrek-oriented parodies of fairy tales, motion pictures, music, and pop culture in general, the script still works its magic by consistently surprising and delighting the audience. It's a worthy successor to a blockbuster of a film - although I still liked the first film better. Aye, I laughed pretty much from beginning to end during Shrek 2, but the film lacked some of the truly gut-busting comic antics of the original.
Do I really need to rehash the plot here? Shrek's and Fiona's newfound happiness together is put to the test when Shrek's royal in-laws, the king and queen of Far Far Away, invite their daughter and her new husband home for a marriage celebration. The folks expect Prince Charming, of course, and are less than prepared for the ogre factor. Prince Charming is none too happy, either, and his mother the glamorous Fairy Godmother (you just can't trust a fairy godmother anymore these days) sets out to right the wrong caused by Shrek's unexpected rescue of Fiona. The king is a willing accomplice, even going so far as to contract a hit on Shrek with the renowned feline assassin Puss in Boots. In order to keep Fiona, Shrek makes the ultimate sacrifice, turning himself into a handsome man, but the Fairy Godmother thwarts him at every turn. Even with the help of his friends from back home in the swamp, it looks like the honeymoon - and marriage itself - is over.
Everyone seems to be wild about Antonio Banderas as Puss in Boots, and he does make a great addition to the Shrek universe. The heart of Shrek, however, still remains in the able voices of Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, and Eddie Murphy. It's pretty simple, really - if you enjoyed Shrek, you will certainly enjoy Shrek 2. The extras on the DVD add even more delight to the Shrek 2 experience. The Far Far Away Idol contest is a brilliant addition. You get not one but two filmmaker commentaries (but, sadly, no commentaries with any of the actors), and several looks at the making of the film are also worthy of your time. The rest of the special features are a little less impressive than they look, however - several of them basically just take you to selected scenes from the film itself. Still, there's plenty here to occupy your time and magnify the entertainment value of an ingenious film all but guaranteeing a good time for one and all.