The Special Destiny-Land Review of Shrek II
I think this reviewer has a point...I just saw Shrek 2 tonight. (Because Spider-Man 2 was sold out.) I probably shouldn't be obsessing over critical assessments -- that's taking Shrek 2 too seriously. It's just that I thought the first one was more funny and original.
Shrek 2's central conceit is "medieval Flintstones." You know, where the Flintstones would have a prehistoric Las Vegas and make it Rock Vegas, Shrek 2 has a Barney's of New York store called "Barney's of Old York." That kind of thing, over and over.
I did like the last 20 minutes, though. Riding the giant gingerbread man "Mongo" to the rescue. ("No! Not the gumdrop button!!!") For me the movie freshened up when all those funny side-characters appeared. (Pinnochio lied about wearing the thong, etc.) In fact, Pinnochio getting zapped with the wand and accidentally becoming a real boy was probably the funniest moment in the movie...
But maybe I liked that part because they were (finally) saving the day -- whereas the "marital strife" sub-plot was bumming me out. The Fairy God-mother bothered me, and so did the whole "meddling parents" sub-plot. (I really hate it when plots revolve around people putting up with impossible relatives.) I inexplicably loved Disney's Tarzan in 1999 - probably because it actually delivered an effective love story between a smart Jane and a dum-but-earnest Tarzan.
Also, it seems like Shrek 2 flirted with plot points it shouldn't have. Wasn't the whole message of Shrek 1 that the female ogre DIDN'T HAVE TO LOOK like a beautiful princess (and neither did Shrek.) But now, her parents disapprove of him because he's an ogre. And this somehow remains as an issue. Shrek himself has his doubts - WOULD she be happier with that good-looking guy. What the...
If I were going to work this movie to a critical death, I'd note that there were alot of Los Angeles jokes in the movie. (One reviewer noted that this medieval castle-burg had an "Angelyne" billboard -- an L.A in-joke that no one will get. Even if she did run for governor...) And I can pull together other corporate reference points. Another reviewer noted Dreamworks'jabs at Disney were particularly vicious. (The Little Mermaid gets munched, and the hyper-active "Fairy Godmother" song doesn't stand on its own as anything but a reference to other Disney movies....) Later copy-cat Dreamworks is releasing their own fish movie - with Will Smith as the voice of one of the fish. (Take that, Pixar!)
And - there's that evil Hollywood message that you shouldn't marry ugly people, and should be ashamed of being unattractive. Thank you, Dreamworks.