Hey folks, Harry here with a big review of SHREK 2. This is going to be a huge money-machine this summer. And if it is even half as funny and strong as this, people are going to love it. Personally, that Puss In Boots character rules the Earth! Here ya go...
I’m a long time fan of your site and just excited as hell to finally be able to contribute something that the masses might be interested in hearing. Yep, that’s right! My lucky ass got to see Shrek 2 tonight. So, I’ve come here to chew bubblegum and give you a long and sparkling review … and I’m all out of bubblegum.
First off is the how: My ex-wife works for AMC which as many of you know is a big nation-wide movie theater chain. The actual inventors of the multiplex, AMC spared no expense in topping off their yearly all-company meeting with a special premiere of Shrek 2 for their Corporate Office employees and guests in Kansas City. My ex-wife and I are still “friendly” with one another so I was invited to attend along with my two kids, ages 7 and 11.
Next is the where: The event was held at the historic Midland Theater on 13th & Main in Kansas City, Missouri. It was opened in 1927 and was built at a cost of a then extravagant four million dollars, the Midland Theatre features over six million inches of gold leaf. Its five massive Czechoslovakian hand-cut crystal chandeliers, many precious antiques and art objects, and spectacular wood and plaster work are irreplaceable today. One of only 300 theatres designed by celebrated theatre architect Thomas Lamb, the Midland Theatre was Lamb's self-described “favorite theatre” and the most elegant facility of its day. The first theatre in the country to have air conditioning, it is now among only 25 of its kind still surviving. This place echoes like a canyon, but still offers a great movie experience.
Now the details: We arrived at 6:30 and checked in. We were given an ultra-cool 7” Shrek Bobble Head and a Blockbuster Card good for 52 free rentals. Once rental each week for a year baby! Tonight was going to be good! We were then promptly ushered up to the second floor balcony reception area for some good ‘ole Kansas City BBQ, catered in by Zardas (one of KC’s top 5 BBQ joints). After stuffing our faces with smoked brisket, ham and turkey complete with complimentary drinks and popcorn, we decided to go get our seats for the movie.
The main hall of the theater is truly cavernous, with ornate sculptures and backlit frescos. This is where I also got to see Return of the King the night before its general release -- truly an epic place to see an epic movie like that. But I digress … Before the movie got started some AMC bigwigs introduced some Dreamworks bigwigs and they confirmed we were some of the first outside the company to see the movie and that security guards would be patrolling the aisles once in awhile with night vision to scope any potential movie pirates. I thought he was full of it, but this in fact happened 2-3 times during the flick.
Anyway, they made a big deal about a new projection system they had delivered to the theater just for this screening. It was the latest generation of DLP and it was tight! I’ve seen several DLP films before, but this new compact projector was very impressive. They screened a 10-minute demo which contained footage from Finding Nemo, Ice Age, Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Wars Attack of the Clones, Daredevil and a few other less notables. I repeat … Extremely impressive. It definitely seemed to have more “pop” and vitality than previous DLP projected movies I’ve seen. You still had no flutter, no foreign artifacts in the image, but the colors were deeper and richer than I remembered from other films.
After the demo, we saw three trailers. One remixed version of the Shrek 2 trailer which will show in front of Van Helsing in a few weeks. Not much different, just edited slightly with a couple quick new scenes. Next up was the Terminal trailer that we’ve all seen on the net. It got a good response from the crowd. Next up was a surprise … the first screening of the trailer for Shark Tale which was a full 2 minutes in length. The aquatic versions of Will Smith, Robert DeNiro, Renee Zelwegger, Angelina Jolie, Martin Scorsese and Jack Black headline the trailer and I must say this movie looks to have a lot of promise. It looked stunning with the DLP and looks to be at least a moderate hit for Dreamworks animation. The trailer showed Will Smith’s character as a Seahorse race jockey-kind-of-fish who blows a race and ends up tied to a rock and left for the sharks to eat. As one baddie comes after him, the shark mysteriously bites the dust and quickly Will Smith’s character is confused for a brave shark killer. The trailer has some good moments of solid animation, good humor and good music.
The movie: Now that I’ve given proper set up to the movie, I’ll discuss it in general terms as I would hate to ruin a lot of the laughs by spoiling them ahead of time. The movie starts with a cute honeymoon montage that pays homage to such movies as The Fellowship of the Ring, The Little Mermaid, From Here to Eternity and some others before the opening credits even finish. Shrek and Fiona are enjoying their wedded bliss when an invitation from the King and Queen of Far Far Away beckons their daughter and new husband for an appearance to celebrate their wedding. Little do they know that Fiona has not married Prince Charming, but our lovable Ogre from the swamp. The King (under threats of reprisal from the fairy Godmother) decides to have Shrek “taken care of” by Antonio Banderas’ Puss in Boots character. Hilarity ensues and the story culminates with a last-ditch effort by Shrek to thwart the evil plans of the Fairy Godmother and her son, Prince Charming. As I did, the audience seemed to love this movie as there were many, many moments where the laughter was so loud that I could not hear several lines of the movie. The ending credits were met with a raucous round of applause
I’m not sure how many people will agree with me in the long run, but I believe this entry to be even stronger than the original. Shrek hasn’t lost his reluctant heroism, nor has he shed his big heart that he tries so hard to pretend that he doesn’t have. There are many more references to other movies and movie characters – including a quick Beverly Hills Cop / Eddie Murphy moment, Godzilla or Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, Mission Impossible, and a hilarious spoof on Cops with probably the best line in the movie concerning one Puss in Boots and a concealed bag of catnip. The kids found many of the jokes funny and the adults in the audience were treated to many jokes only they would get as well. Overall, the movie had a strong enough story to carry it through, and was mixed with just irreverent humor and sweetness to make it a huge hit with just about any audience. I predict this movie will outdraw and outperform the original and is going to give any movie released this year a run for the money for top grossing honors. It’s the kind of movie, so jam-packed with laughs, gags, references that you really need to see it twice to catch all the stuff you missed from the audience laughing too loud the first time. If any of you are worrying this movie is nothing but gags and references to other movies, you’re wrong. By no means does Shrek 2 ever cross the line or stretch plausibility or the story just to work in a gag. It all flows so well that extra credit needs to be given to the writers and animators for squeezing so much in without detracting from the story.
All in all, I can’t say anything negative about this film. I found it sweet, funny and entertaining in many ways. I’ve tried to find something critical about this film, some minor flaw to discuss, but it will take a better critic than I to discover it. The movie gave me everything I wanted in the sequel and more. I felt the animation was improved, the story improved and the humor improved. Dreamworks has a HUGE hit on their hands. I can’t wait to see it again.
You can call me MrJayhok