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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Shrek 2 has some crude potty humor and some moments of mild peril and tension. The king hires a hit man to get rid of Shrek -- luckily it's a small cat. Shrek and friends steal potions from the scheming fairy godmother. The only casualties are an enchanted character and a couple of fish.
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What's the story?
In SHREK 2, Shrek (voiced by Mike Myers) and Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) are blissfully married and honeymooning in a gingerbread house, Hansel's Honeymoon Hideaway. When they get back to the swamp, Donkey (Eddie Murphy) is waiting to welcome them home, but trouble begins when Shrek finally meets Fiona's parents, King Harold (John Cleese) and Queen Lillian (Julie Andrews), who were expecting a human princess married to Prince Charming, not two big green ogres. The queen sees how happy Fiona is and tries to adjust, but the king, pushed by Fairy Godmother (Jennifer Saunders) does everything he can to get rid of Shrek, even hiring a hit man, or, more properly a hit cat -- none other than the swashbuckling Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas). But the bigger obstacle to the couple's living happily ever after is Shrek himself, who worries that Fiona would be better off married to a handsome prince. So he sets out in search of a magical solution. And before we get to the happily-ever-after ending, there will be encounters with Pinocchio, the three pigs, Sleeping Beauty, and the Gingerbread Man, and a bunch of new characters, including a growly voiced wicked stepsister (Larry King) and a very vain Prince Charming, who tosses his hair in slow motion (Rupert Everett).
Is it any good?
All you need to know is Shrek's second adventure is pure enjoyment, with stunningly brilliant technology and hilarious performances. And it has a script that is filled with wit, wisdom, heart, and so-funny-you'll-have-to-see-it-twice comedy, with nonstop humor ranging from subtle and sophisticated satire to unabashedly un-subtle slapstick and potty jokes. Shrek 2 manages to make fun of just about everything, including its fairy tale sources, and yet be so resonant of the true themes of fairy tales that it is genuinely touching.
The technology is astonishing for its time. The surfaces and textures are eye-poppingly vivid, almost more real than real. The movie has breathtakingly beautiful backgrounds, exquisite detail, and characters so magnificently yet subtly expressive you expect to see them interviewed by James Lipton on Bravo. The voice talent is spectacular and perfectly integrated with the expressions and gestures of the animated characters. It's going to be hard to think of the dashing and brilliantly funny Banderas as anything but a cat from now on. There is a lot to look at, but there is even more to feel, with characters so tender and charming that you will cheer for a happily-ever-after-ending -- and cheer even louder at the announcement of Shrek the Third.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about struggles to get along in Shrek 2. Why does the king really disapprove of Shrek? How are he and Shrek the same? Why does Shrek try so hard to change for his new family?
Fiona's childhood room has images of handsome princes and princess all over it. Why does this intimidate Shrek? For the girls: do you have tiaras and princess toys in your room?
What do you think of Fiona's decision to marry someone like Shrek instead of someone from her childhood dreams? Why do you think she'll be happier with Shrek than with Prince Charming?
- In theaters: May 26, 2004
- On DVD or streaming: November 5, 2004
- Cast: Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, Mike Myers
- Directors: Andrew Adamson, Kelly Asbury
- Studio: DreamWorks
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Adventures, Book Characters, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs
- Character Strengths: Integrity
- Run time: 100 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: some crude humor, a brief substance reference and some suggestive content
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