192. Shrek 2

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Movie: Shrek 2

Release Date: May 19, 2004

Director: Andrew Adamson, Kelly Asbury, Conrad Vernon.

Starring: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Julie Andrews, Antonio Banderas, John Cleese, Rupert Everett, Jennifer Saunders.

Tag Lines: “In summer 2004, they’re back for more…”

“Once upon another time…”

“Not so far, far away…”

Relevance: In the summer of 2001, I was working as a store manager in a music and movie store. If anyone has been a manager for a retail company, you know that it is more than just a forty hour work week. And even when you are not there, you are somehow still working. So one’s social life is not the greatest. On top of that, I was co-parenting a four year old and most of my spare time revolved around him. ‘Shrek’ was released at the beginning of that summer and my plan was to take him to see it in the theater. Unfortunately, we never made it, most likely due to my job, but it was a movie that we both couldn’t wait to see when it was released as a rental.

Once we finally saw ‘Shrek’ later that Fall, it quickly became one of our favorite movies to watch over and over again. I must have rented it at least four or five times, with four or five viewings each of those times. Anyone with a toddler knows that you do not just watch a movie once. You watch it many, many times. Some of those movies are torturous for parents, thankfully this one was not. It had humor for both kids and adults and a really great story to boot. That holiday season, the DVD of ‘Shrek’ was gifted to my son by his grandmother (my mom) and it again was watched over and over again. Somehow, I didn’t mind.

A side story: Mary J. Blige, a favorite artist and singer of mine, released a song called “Family Affair” around the same time ‘Shrek’ was released on VHS and DVD. My son and I used to listen to that song all the time while driving in the car. One of the lyrics goes: “So grab somebody and get your ass on the dance floor.” One time as the song played on the radio, my son asked me, “Dad, what’s ass mean?” The first thing that popped in my head, I am sure influenced by the many viewings of ‘Shrek,’ was donkey. There was a moment of silence. My son then asked, “Get your donkey on the dance floor?” All I could really do was laugh.

It was no surprise that there was a sequel to ‘Shrek’ considering how well the first one was received by both critics and at the box office. This made both of us very, very happy. My son was then seven years old and we vowed to make sure we saw this one in the theaters. But for some reason, we didn’t. I wish I had a good story or reason of why we never made it to the theater to see it, but if there was one, I don’t remember. So, like the first film, we had to wait until it was released as a rental.

So in the Fall of 2004, we rented ‘Shrek 2.’ Just like the first movie, ‘Shrek 2’ was praised by critics and did extremely well in the box office. In fact, it was the highest grossing film of 2004 worldwide. With that said, I was skeptical that the sequel was any better than the original. I. Was. Wrong. We loved the movie. It seemed they took everything that worked in the first film and enhanced it tenfold. There was a better story, better message, funny new characters and the laughs were non-stop. Like its predecessor, that holiday season, the DVD of ‘Shrek 2’ was gifted to my son by his grandmother and it again was watched over and over again. And again, I didn’t mind at all.

It’s so rare for a sequel to be better than the original, but the filmmakers did their due diligence. Generally speaking, I am not a huge fan of sequels, although there are ten that show up on my list of most influential movies of all time. ‘Shrek 2’ is the second one to pop up. The first was ironically another Eddie Murphy movie. (see 273. Beverly Hills Cop II) Although it is very difficult to pick out the best character or moment in the film as a “favorite,” I would have to say that Donkey, voiced by Mr. Murphy, would be the crowned winner of that contest. He totally outdid his performance in the original as well as his voice work in ‘Mulan’ (see 279. Mulan), which was another favorite of both my son and me.

‘Shrek 2’ was another rare family movie that was written for both children and adults alike. It was clever, funny, enjoyable to watch and irreverent enough toward Disney to make me smile. The voice cast was impeccable and its message about being true to oneself is one that never falls on deaf ears. We have owned the DVD since 2004 and may have watched it two-thousand, four times. Maybe more. It has been viewed a lot over the years, and I still don’t mind.

Today’s Thoughts: My son saw that I had pulled out the ‘Shrek 2’ DVD and placed it on the mantel. He knew it was part of my “blog project” and that I would be watching it soon. His comment was, “Finally a movie I like. I’ll watch that one with you.” Unfortunately, he was not here today when it was time to watch it as he was at his girlfriend’s. A priority for a seven year old is ‘Shrek 2.’ A priority for a twenty-three year old is a girlfriend. Regardless, I watched the movie alone.

It still remains a funny, clever computer animated tale and although I have seen it numerous times, it still makes me smile and laugh out loud. It’s just so darn funny. The original cast, including Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz and Eddie Murphy are all fantastic yet again as their lovable characters. The additions to ‘Shrek 2’ were just as delightful. Julie Andrews, John Cleese, Jennifer Saunders and Antonio Banderas added so much more humor and color to the already colorful world of ‘Shrek.’

‘Shrek 2’ is a delight for the whole family, no matter how young or how old. It will cheer you up, make you smile and give you a few laughs that everyone so desperately needs. The original ‘Shrek’ is definitely a favorite of mine. The other two sequels that followed are fine, although theydo lack a bit in the originality column. But there is something about ‘Shrek 2’ that makes me want to watch it always and forever, over and over. Something I will never mind at all.

Awards: Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year (nomination), Academy Award for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song, “Accidentally in Love,” Adam Duritz, Charles Gillingham, Jim Bogios, David Immerglück, Matthew Malley, David Bryson, Dan Vickrey (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Original Song – Motion Picture, “Accidentally in Love,” Adam Duritz, Charles Gillingham, Jim Bogios, David Immerglück, Matthew Malley, David Bryson, Dan Vickrey (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Feature Film (nomination), BAFTA Award for Kids’ Vote (winner), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Animated Featurte (nomination), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Song, “Accidentally in Love,” Adam Duritz, Charles Gillingham, Jim Bogios, David Immerglück, Matthew Malley, David Bryson, Dan Vickrey (nomination).

Ways to Watch: Amazon Prime, Vudu, YouTube, Google Play, DVD Availability.

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