Flashback Review: Shrek 2

Shrek 2 was officially released in 2004. (same year The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie came out) It received universal acclaim from critics, families and movie goers alike. Plus, it became the high grossing film of 2004 beating my favorite film of the year, “The Incredibles” & “Spider-Man 2.” Two sequels were released in 2007 and 2010. A spin-off film centering on Puss in Buss with Antonio Banderas reprising his role as the titular character. Shrek 2 was nominated at The Oscars for “Best Animated Feature.” However, my favorite film of 2004 The Incredibles, ultimately took home the prize. Anyway, Antonio Banderas will reprise his role as Puss in Boots in follow up called, “The Last Wish.” It’ll be released this Christmas. Before Puss makes his return, I wanna share my thoughts on the best (if not the best) DreamWorks animated film to my favorite movie series by the company.

It doesn’t matter if SPOILERS are listed. We’ve all seen the Shrek films countless times and brought up as memes online.

Beautiful & Ugly Aspects

Beautiful: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy & Cameron Diaz reprise their roles. They all did an excellent job for their respective voiceover performances.

Newcomers to the series such as Antonio Banderas, John Cleese, Julie Andrews, Rupert Everett & Jennifer Saunders all did a decent job for their respective voiceover performances.

The late Larry King provides the voice of The Ugly Stepsister.

Animation still holds up for a film released in 2004.

Chemistry between the main leads serve as the main highlight. As the story progresses, Character Development fleshes nearly every single one.

Humor retains the first film’s visual gags, fart jokes, pop culture references, using contemporary music and poking fun at Disney. My favorite joke is when Shrek, Donkey & Puss are arrested in a parody of “Cops” and the O.J. Simpson white Branco chase. As a kid, I never understood the O.J. Simpson chase. Now that I’m older, I realize everybody in the theater laughed so hard. I have to give it Bonus Points.

The sequel is filled with many pop culture references.

Pop Culture References

  • Mongo is named after a bumbling henchman from “Blazing Saddles.”
  • Mongo roars like “Godzilla.” Coincidently, “Godzilla Final Wars” was out in 2004.
  • Shrek & Fiona’s upside-down kiss spoofs Spider-Man’s infamous kiss scene. The sequel also came out in 2004.
  • A trumpet player plays the theme song from “Hawaii Five-O.” One Year Later, “Madagascar” used the actual theme with Marty surfing.
  • Fiona catches a ring with her finger, mirrors Frodo catching the One Ring from “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.”
  • During a prison break, Pinocchio spoofs the iconic cable drop scene from “Mission Impossible.” Back in 2004, Tom Cruise played against type as Vincent. The Main Antagonist from “Collateral.”
  • A flood of potions transforms two of Fairy Godmother’s employees into Cogsworth & Lumiere from “Beauty and the Beast.”
  • Godmother sings “I Need a Hero.” Used in “Footloose” Detective Pikachu” & “Saints Row: The Third.”
  • Fiona has a poster of Justin Timberlake. Three Years Later, Justin voiced King Arthur.
  • Lillian says… “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.” A reference to “Seinfeld.” Anyway, Jerry Seinfeld later starred in “Bee Movie” filled with too many bee puns.
  • Harold entering The Poison Apple filled with scum and villainy, pays homage to Mos Eisley from “A New Hope.”
  • Puss is an obvious parody of Antonio’s iteration of “The Mask of Zorro.”
  • At a bar, Puss says… “I hate Mondays.” Garfield’s catchphrase. Heck, even the lackluster live-action film with Bill Murray came out.
  • Before crashing, Donkey sings “The Sun’ll Come Out Tomorrow from “Annie.” Ten Years Later, Cameron played Miss Hannigan in a remake with Jamie Foxx.
  • Puss bursts through Shrek’s shirt spoofing the chestburster scene from “Alien.” As a kid, that joke went over my head. By the way, the critical flop “Alien VS. Predator” was released in 2004.
  • Remember that dinner scene with Shrek, Donkey, Fiona, Harold & Lillian calling each other’s names, this is a reference to the SpongeBob episode “Imitation Krabs” with Plankton & Mr. Krabs calling each other’s names. Then, SpongeBob utters out his name. What a co-inky-dink! His first animated was released in 2004.
  • Everybody partakes in a dance party Donkey & Puss sing “Livin’ La Vida Loca.” DreamWorks Animation is known to end a movie with a dance party. My friend, Iain and I agree this is the best movie to end 2004.

Prince Charming seeks revenge towards Shrek who stole Fiona. 2004 was a trend for revenge films. Here’s a full list as proof.

2004 Revenge Films

  • Spider-Man 2
  • Troy
  • The Incredibles
  • Shark Tale
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azakaban
  • The Bourne Supremacy
  • The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
  • Mean Girls
  • Man on Fire
  • The Punisher
  • Kill Bill Vol. 2
  • Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed
  • Thunderbirds

The moral of this story is altering your appearance doesn’t mean you can win back your loved one. All you have to do is be yourself.

A Plot Twist reveals Harold is The Frog Prince. A better twist than M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Village.”

The sequel contains memorable songs such as Counting Crows’ “Accidentally in Love,” Tom Waits’ “Little Drop of Poison,” Eels’ “I Need Some Sleep” and my personal favorite Nick Cave’s “People Ain’t No Good.”

During the dance party, a montage of the characters contains a freeze-frame for each one. Prisoner of Azkaban & Seed of Chucky’s use of freeze-frames pale in comparison to Shrek 2 & “Shark Tale.” You heard me, I like the latter DreamWorks movie.

A Post-Credits Scene shows Dragon reuniting with Donkey surprising him with kids who are half-donkey and half-dragon.

If you own a DVD/Blu-Ray copy, go to the special features a try out “Far Far Away Idol.” Simon Cowell appears as himself in a parody of “American Idol” with the characters competing.

Ugly: I couldn’t find nothing wrong. I’m giving the Cast & Crew an Extra Point for making a flawless sequel as possible.

The Final Verdict: A, FOR APEX!

Shrek 2 is arguably the best installment of the series. It’s my favorite DreamWorks Animated film. If you want to introduce your kids to the Shrek series, I highly recommend every single installment.

One thought on “Flashback Review: Shrek 2

  1. Great review. I find it interesting that you liked “The Incredibles” more than “Shrek 2.” I also did not know about a lot of the pop culture references, although I did know a few (i.e. when Puss says, “I hate Mondays.”)
    I also never noticed Fiona having a poster of Justin Timberlake in her room, who voiced Artie in the 3rd film. Despite the negative reactions and opinions “Shrek the Third” received, I actually loved it a lot.
    I also enjoyed this one as well as the first “Shrek” film. All 3 of them made me laugh.


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