Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Shrek 2 Review

Shrek 2 is hilarious. No wait- its laugh-till-you-cry and your-stomach-hurts-cause-your-laughing-so-hard hilarious. It could have been so easy to phone it in on what was going to be a blockbuster no matter what critics said. Thankfully the people at Dreamworks Animation put more thought and work into this film than we're likely to see in any other big movie this summer.

Shrek 2 is Great Entertainment. Yes there are fart jokes. And they work. The lowbrow humor is a then candy shell. Something to grab your attention and fill time. But Shrek 2 also has a brain. A brain that's filled with snarky pop culture references, clever sight gags, wit, and a realistic cynical attitude about all that perfect happily ever after bullshit. Shrek never wastes time. Every single second is used to its full. The screen is jam packed with the kind of detail that only CGI can give. When it comes on DVD you'll want to go through and hit pause just so you can find all the gags. The dialog works the same way. No setting up jokes for five minutes, no pointless conversations. Everything is rapid-fire. You'll have hardly finished laughing when the next joke jumps out at you from nowhere and catches you off guard.

The voice acting is great all around. Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, and Cameron Diaz, and the rest of the original cast are back. Eddie Murphy, once again, is hysterical as Donkey. But its Antonio Banderas as Puss in Boots - possibly the cutest cat EVER - and Jennifer Saunders as Fairy Godmother who absolutely steal the show.

Shrek is the postmodern fairy tail; a fantasy with a twist that makes it contemperary and very localized, but its core message of inner beauty and sacrifice for love, can last well beyond the life of its humor. Which is the down side to movies like shrek that play off pop culture. Ten years from now, much of its humor will be lost on audiences who aren't inundated with the ins and outs of Gen-X culture.

But you can watch it and laugh your ass off regardless of what some fifteen year old thinks about it ten years from now. If he's never seen cops, his loss. Fucking kids.