Directed by: Andrew Adamson, Kelly Asbury, Conrad Vernon
Written by:J. David Stern, Joe Stillman, David N. Weiss
Starring: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz,  Julie Andrews, Antonio Banderas, John Cleese, Rupert Everett, Jennifer Saunders
Released: June 17, 2004
Grade: B-

Shrek was a smash hit and Shrek 2 is proving an even bigger smash hit.  But I’ll stand out from the laughing crowd and proclaim at the sequel does not come close to matching the originality and hilarity of the original.

When we last left the story, Shrek (Myers) defeated a fire breathing dragon, rescued Princess Fiona (Diaz) looked to be living happily ever after.  To open Shrek 2, we are treated to a boring musical montage of the happy couple living it up on their honeymoon.  On their return, they are given an invitation.  The King (Cleese) and Queen (Andrews) have asked Princess Fiona to bring her new husband to the palace so the whole Kingdom of Far Far Away can rejoice.

Unfortunately for the King and Queen, they expected Princess Fiona to marry the adoring Prince Charming (Everett) which would also break the spell and turn her back into a beautiful lady.  Now, they find her married to an ogre and looking much like one herself.  Their fury is matched by the Fairy Godmother (Saunders) who is the mother to the now upset Prince Charming.  She demands that the King do something to “take care of” this hideous ogre so that the Prince can claim his rightful place alongside Fiona.

Once again, nothing is left to the unknown which much of the trailer giving away the above plot development and a few more which I won’t spoil.  How can one be excited when knowing what’s going to happen next?  Can’t trailer-makers leave a little more to the imagination?  I’ve had this gripe about so many recent films/trailers but I’ll keep yammering on until someone listens.

Once quality I remember about Shrek was how the different layers of humour allowed both kids and adults to be equally entertained.  Shrek 2 is aimed at a younger audience with little for adults to be enthused about.  I chuckled two or three times but did find other audience members laughing much more.  It could just be me.

The quality of animation is incredible and it’s one of the most realistic animations I’ve seen.  Well chosen were new cast members John Cleese, Julie Andrews and Antonio Banderas (as a feisty feline).  It’d be one of the biggest Hollywood casts of the year and kind of shame you don’t see them for real on the big screen.  I’m not sure why but every major actor wants a big animated release credit on their resume.  Can’t be the best money but maybe it’s something to show their kids (as opposed to their usual films which are littered with sex, language and violence).

The rumour going around is that there’s a Shrek 3 and a Shrek 4 in the works.  I’d suspect this to be true considering how much money the first two films have reaped worldwide.  Dreamworks now has my $10 from Shrek 2 and whilst I can’t take it back, I’ll think twice before shelling over more to see future instalments.